is striving to help the next generation of homebuyers with the debut of its Local Pride Scholarship, which gives college-bound students the opportunity to win a first-place $2,500 prize, second-place $1,000 prize or third-place $500 prize for their 300- to 500-word essays on what they love about their hometown and neighborhood. chief marketing officer Nate Johnson says the purpose of the scholarship, beyond the immediate financial benefit, is to help millennials build a solid foundation for homeownership by investing in their education.

The average cost of undergraduate tuition has grown by 160 percent, and according to data, the median income of a college graduate is $50,000 — 64 percent higher than a young adult with a high school diploma ($30,500). With home prices steadily rising by at least 6 percent year-over-year, Johnson says it’s important to give these students the best chance at making an income that will allow them to achieve their future homebuying goals.

“The ability to afford a down payment and monthly mortgage payment is a steep financial hill to climb in today’s competitive housing marketing,” said Johnson in a press release.

The scholarship is open to students 18 and older who are planning to attend an accredited college, university or graduate school in the United States during the upcoming academic year. will be accepting applications from now until June 30, 2018. The three winners will be announced in July.

Beyond Local Pride, Johnson says will be supporting students in other ways, such as the upcoming launch of an eight-week internship with the site’s engineering, marketing and product teams. They’re also partnering with BuzzFeed to show The Try Guys star Ned Fulmer’s homebuying experience with his wife Ariel and his dog Bean.

Ned and Ariel star in BuzzFeed’s ‘Couple gets trapped with no internet for 90 hours’ video

The three-part series, which will be available online April 15, follows the Fulmers as they tour four homes, make an offer on their dream home and begin considering improvements that will make the home their own.

Throughout each episode, will share pertinent housing facts and give viewers the opportunity to quiz their homebuying knowledge.

“Through this promotion we’re able to offer home buying tips to a large audience of millennials and gen-Zers through some hilarious content,” Johnson told Inman. isn’t the only real estate company supporting students — NRT, a subsidiary of Realogy, is now taking submissions for its “Share Your Moving Story” scholarship, which asks applicants to write a 1,000-word essay explaining how moving to a new community, state or country impacted them.

Last year’s NRT scholarship winners

The scholarship is only open to high school juniors slated to graduate in 2019. Ten students will be chosen to win $2,000 each. NRT had 300 applicants last year, and they’re expecting at least 500 this year, said Monty Smith, president of company generated business for NRT.

“We encourage all who are applying to college this year or next to share their moving stories and we look forward to celebrating the winners,” he added.

The deadline to apply is April 16.

Email Marian McPherson

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