Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Sallie Mae Fund Awards $2 Million in College Scholarships to 800 Students Nationwide This School Year

(BUSINESS WIRE)--In recognition of National Scholarship Month, The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, today awarded $2 million in scholarships to help approximately 800 students pursue a college education this school year. These awards are part of The Sallie Mae Fund’s efforts to increase access to higher education for lower-income and minority students by addressing a common barrier: financial need. Since 2001, The Sallie Mae Fund has awarded more than $14 million in scholarships to 5,700 students enrolled at 1,000 colleges in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“In uncertain economic times such as these, it is more important than ever for deserving students to have access to resources that can fund their higher education dreams,” said Erin Korsvall, vice president, The Sallie Mae Fund. “The Sallie Mae Fund commends these students for what they have accomplished, and is pleased to provide a stepping stone for them to further shine in college.”

In 2008, more than 24,000 completed applications, a record number, were submitted to The Fund by college-bound students across the country. By 2015, there will be an additional 5 million college-age individuals in the United States. Approximately 80 percent of this growth is projected to come from minority populations with greater financial need.

“Coming from a low-income family, I never thought it would be possible for me to go to college,” said Brianda Perez of San Juan, Texas, now a sophomore at University of Texas – Austin. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for helping me come one step closer to achieving my goals and aspirations.” Perez is a recipient of The Fund’s First in My Family scholarship, working toward a degree in mechanical engineering.

Some recipients aim to set an example for their siblings, such as Jonathan Tyes, who is using his American Dream scholarship to help fund his education at Morehouse College in Georgia. “It is very important to me that I become a physician, not only for myself, but also for my eight younger siblings,” he said. “It is imperative that I show them that it is possible to escape drugs, poverty and ignorance through education.”

Unmet Need scholarship winner Ryan Fuller, a student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, hopes to pursue a career in the research of alternative means of energy after graduation. “Receiving The Sallie Mae Fund Unmet Need scholarship can help relieve the financial stress on my family and me so I can focus instead on reaching my goals,” he said.

To help students cover financial need and access higher education, The Sallie Mae Fund’s 2008-2009 scholarship programs included:

* “Unmet Need” Scholarship Program: Open to families with a combined income of less than $30,000, Unmet Need scholarships provided a “last-dollar” resource when no other funds were available. This year, The Fund awarded more than $600,000 to help 176 students bridge the financial need gap.
* “American Dream” Scholarship Program: The American Dream program was developed in partnership with the United Negro College Fund and offered scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to African-American students with demonstrated financial need. This year, 176 African-American students received roughly $500,000 in scholarships through this program.
* “First in My Family” Scholarship Program: The Fund developed the First in My Family program in partnership with the Hispanic College Fund in 2001. This year, 169 Hispanic-American students who were the first in their family to attend college received scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000, totaling $500,000.
* The Sallie Mae 911 Education Fund: Created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, this fund annually provides scholarship dollars to children of those who were killed or permanently disabled in the attacks. This year, The Fund provided $2,500 scholarships to 36 students, for a total of $90,000.
* Community College Transfer Scholarship Program: Offered in collaboration with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, this program provided last-dollar scholarships to Latino students transferring from a community college to an accredited higher education institution. This year, the program awarded $2,500 scholarships to 34 students, for a total of $85,000.
* “Writers of Passage” Scholarship Program: In partnership with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, this essay competition awarded four students from a Historically Black College or University, or a predominantly black college, with a $5,000 college scholarship. The winners’ universities each also received a $20,000 grant from The Fund to help improve student outreach and retention.
* “Next Level” Scholarship Program: In partnership with Black Entertainment Television (BET), this national essay competition asked African-American high school juniors and seniors to compose a 500-word statement on the obstacles they had to overcome to realize their dream of a college education. A panel of judges selected four winners from among more than 4,300 applicants to receive a total of $25,000 in awards.
* “Generation Next” Scholarship Program: In partnership with ESSENCE magazine, five African-American women won this national essay competition and each was awarded a $5,000 college scholarship. Additionally, these women attended the first-annual ESSENCE Young Women Leadership Conference and were featured in the October issue of ESSENCE magazine.

In addition, The Fund awarded scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,000 to future college students at its free Paying for College workshops and Bus Tour stops. More than 170 students received a total of $100,000 through this year’s program.

The Sallie Mae Fund offers scholarship resources on its Web site, www.salliemaefund.org, including a free scholarship search featuring 2.9 million awards worth more than $16 billion. In addition, The Fund offers two free scholarship directories specifically for African-American and Latino students. For these resources, a complete listing of 2008-2009 scholarship recipients and the schools they are attending, or for 2009-2010 scholarship information, please visit www.salliemaefund.org.

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