Billions of Dollars in Free Money for College Available to Next Fall’s Students
The Sallie Mae Fund Offers Helpful Tips and $2 Million
in Awards During Scholarship Application Season
The Sallie Mae Fund announced that its scholarship application season is now open and invites students attending college in the fall to apply for more than $2 million in scholarships it will award for the 2008-2009 school year. Applications, eligibility and deadline information are now available at www.salliemaefund.org.
The Institute for Higher Education Policy estimates that there are billions of dollars in college scholarships available each year. Awards can range from a few hundred dollars to a full ride for all four years, and best of all, they do not need to be repaid.
Kathleen deLaski, president of The Sallie Mae Fund, explains that these awards are not limited to the class valedictorian or star athletes. “Scholarships are awarded based on a number of factors — from your career goals to where your parents work to exceptional writing skills displayed in an essay contest,” she said. “Searching for scholarships may take a little time and energy, but remember — it’s free money.”
The Sallie Mae Fund offers students tips for tapping into this free money for college:
• Apply for as many awards as you qualify for. Even small awards can be helpful in covering the cost of books.
• Pay close attention to deadlines. Missing a deadline is a sure way to become disqualified.
• Look for scholarships offered by a variety of sources, including companies, unions, foundations, community organizations, churches and more.
• Tell family, friends, teachers and others in your community that you are looking for scholarships. They may know something you do not.
• Understand the conditions of an award — such as maintaining a specific GPA or participating on an athletic team.
• Tap into free scholarship directories and searches offered by reputable educational organizations. Three such tools are available at www.salliemaefund.org, which provides a free, searchable database of scholarships, as well as scholarship directories, especially for Latino and African-American students.
• Watch for scholarship scams. You should never have to pay for scholarship advice or information.
• If you receive a scholarship, be sure to write a thank-you note to the organization. You may want to reapply for the scholarship in the future so it is important to make a good impression.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, by 2016, colleges are expected to see a 45 percent growth in the number of Hispanic students enrolling and a 29 percent growth in the number of African-American students, many of whom will have greater financial need. To help meet this challenge, The Sallie Mae Fund provides scholarships through a number of its own programs that address a common barrier to higher education access: financial need. With deadlines ranging from Feb. 2 to May 31, these scholarships include:
• “American Dream” Scholarship Program: The American Dream program was developed in partnership with the United Negro College Fund and offers scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to African-American students with demonstrated financial need. (Deadline: April 15)
• “First in My Family” Scholarship Program: This program, developed in partnership with the Hispanic College Fund, offers scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to Hispanic-American students who are the first in their family to attend college and have financial need. (Deadline: April 15)
• “Unmet Need” Scholarship Program: Open to families with a combined income of less than $30,000, Unmet Need scholarships provide a “last-dollar” resource when no other funds are available. (Deadline: May 31)
• Community College Transfer Scholarship Program: Offered in collaboration with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, this program provides last-dollar scholarships to Latino students transferring from a community college to an accredited higher education institution. (Deadline: Feb. 15)
• The Sallie Mae 911 Education Fund: Created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, this program provides scholarship dollars to children of those who were killed or permanently disabled in the attacks. (Deadline: ongoing)
• “Writers of Passage” Scholarship: In partnership with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, this essay competition awards four students from a Historically Black College or University, or a predominantly black college, a $5,000 college scholarship and their schools receive an additional $20,000 grant from The Sallie Mae Fund. (Deadline: Feb. 2)
Recently, The Sallie Mae Fund announced three new resources to help students research scholarships available from dozens of organizations:
• A free, comprehensive database of scholarships available at www.salliemaefund.org.
• Latino College Dollars, a directory of scholarships for Hispanic students, developed in partnership with the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California, available at www.latinocollegedollars.org.
• Black College Dollars, a directory of scholarships for African-American students, developed in partnership with BET Networks and the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, available at www.blackcollegedollars.org.
For the 2007-2008 academic year, The Sallie Mae Fund awarded $2.5 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 deserving students enrolled in colleges across the country. A record number of completed applications, more than 14,000, was submitted by college-bound students. For a complete listing of 2007-2008 scholarship recipients and the schools they attend and to access 2008-2009 scholarship application materials, visit www.salliemaefund.org.
The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, achieves its mission—to increase access to a postsecondary education for America’s students—by supporting programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education, preparing families for their investment, and bridging the gap when no one else can. For more information, visit www.salliemaefund.org.