Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nearly 32,000 People Informed about Higher Education Options This Year with The Sallie Mae Fund’s Paying for College Workshops

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Sallie Mae Fund has recently completed its 133rd “Paying for College” workshop of the year, providing nearly 32,000 people with college-going information. The free workshops are designed to educate families, particularly Latino, African-American, and low-income students and parents, about their options for attending, saving and paying for higher education. More than $61,500 in scholarships was awarded to attendees of Paying for College events in 2008.

"Most parents of college bound kids are feeling financial jitters in this shaky economy,” said Representative Sam Johnson of Texas, who partnered with The Fund for a workshop in his district. “Many parents and kids may be wondering - and perhaps fearing - how will they pay for everything in these lean economic times. For some, getting into a good school isn't the hard part - paying for it is. The Paying for College seminars helped a lot of folks learn more about their financial options."

The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, supports programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education. Each Paying for College workshop features important information on scholarships, grants and other aid, as well as the opportunity for parents and students to have their questions answered by financial aid experts. The program is rooted in research, which found that lack of information about financial aid for college was a key factor preventing many promising students from seeking higher education. Nearly three out of four young adults would have been more likely to attend college if they had been aware of their financial aid options. Since 2004, The Sallie Mae Fund has delivered more than 1,600 free financial aid workshops in English and Spanish for more than 155,000 students and parents of underserved communities.

“Especially in today’s economic climate, it is vital to help families understand all of the options available to them to help pay for college,” said Erin Korsvall, vice president of The Sallie Mae Fund. “Bridging the information gap puts students one step closer to achieving their dreams of a higher education.”

The likelihood that a ninth grader in the United States will enroll in college four years later is less than 40 percent, with students from low-income and minority families even less likely to do so. The Sallie Mae Fund’s Paying for College workshops are designed to increase those numbers. The presentation’s message of attainability is being heard: 84 percent of families who participated in a Paying for College workshop said they believed they would be able to pay for college, as opposed to 29 percent prior to attending the event.

“Money has always been and will always be a major issue in life,” said one student who won early acceptance into the University of Texas at Austin. “But, thanks to the generous contributions of organizations such as The Sallie Mae Fund, there will be more and more low-income students going further in life.”

In each community, The Fund collaborated with school districts, high schools, and community groups to reach families most in need of financial aid information. Nationally, the effort has been made possible with the partnership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, National Association for College Admission Counseling, National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, MTV Tr3s, and Project GRAD USA. A number of Congressional offices also participated, including Reps. Artur Davis (D-AL.), David Dreier (R-CA), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Gene Green (D-TX), Sam Johnson (R-TX), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Chris Shays (R-CT).

Through each Paying for College workshop, The Sallie Mae Fund is responding to studies indicating that minorities are lagging behind in higher education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Hispanics have among the lowest educational achievement levels of all minority groups. If current trends continue, of every 100 Hispanic children entering kindergarten, 63 will graduate from high school and only 11 will obtain a bachelor's degree by the age of 29. African-Americans also graduate from college at lower than average rates. If current trends continue, of every 100 kindergarteners who are African-American, 87 will graduate from high school, but only 18 will achieve a bachelor's degree by age 29.

Graduating from college pays lifelong dividends: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, college graduates on average earn over $1 million more during their lifetimes than high school dropouts.

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1 comment:

Angelina said...

I got a grant from the federal government for $12,000 in financial aid, see how you can get one also at