Food chains including Wendy’s and Dunkin’s offer college scholarships of up to $100,000, and you don’t have to work there

The price of college has risen over the past two decades, and the average cost of higher education is now $35,000 per student per year.

As students struggle to manage the rising costs of tuition, housing, and supplies, some unexpected benefactors are helping.

Many of the country’s largest fast-food chains are paying out millions in scholarships to college students.

You do not need to work in any of these networks to qualify for all of their scholarship programs.

Here are the biggest fast food scholarship programs, how you can apply, and deadlines to consider.


McDonald’s offers 30 scholarships each year to high school seniors with a GPA of at least 2.8 and Hispanic parents through the National HACER® Scholarship.

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Selected students can receive up to $100,000 to use for college expenses.

McDonald’s also has a program for current undergraduate students who attend HBCUs.

The company has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to give 33 students up to $15,000 a year.

McDonald’s is not currently accepting applications, but it will open its scholarship to students in the fall.

Taco Bell

Through the Vive Más Scholarship, Taco Bell is awarding $7 million to current and aspiring college students this year.

The organization asked applicants to submit a short video describing what they hope to achieve and how they plan to make a difference in their community.

Otherwise, any student between the ages of 16 and 26 can apply for the Vive Más Scholarship.

Scholarships awarded range from $5,000 to $25,000.

Taco Bell is not currently accepting applications, but this year’s application period ran from November through January.


Although not a national program, Dunkin’ offers up to 20 scholarships worth $5,000 to students in and around Philadelphia.

Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or better and live in the eligible county of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware.

If you are eligible, you can still apply until April 20.

This year’s winners will be announced in June.


In 1992, Wendy’s partnered with the Heisman Trophy Trust to create a scholarship fund for high school student athletes.

High school students with a 3.0 GPA and participating in at least one sport can apply for tuition assistance of up to $10,000.

Wendy’s also has awards of $2000 and $1,000, which pay 100 students each year in total.

You can register for updates in the 2022-23 application window.

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For more college tuition waiver, check out upcoming deadlines for applying for nationwide assistance.

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