The Sallie Mae Fund offers scholarships

The Sallie Mae Fund will once again provide $2.5 million in college scholarships to roughly 1,000 deserving students pursuing higher education this fall. Applications, eligibility and deadline information are now available at

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 interests to where your parents work to exceptional writing skills displayed in an essay contest. Searching for scholarships may take a little time and energy, but remember, it’s free money. Even if you spend five hours applying for scholarships and receive only one $500 scholarship, that’s still the same as earning $100 an hour. Money is available, but you have to take the first step and apply.”

The 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.
  • Watch for scholarship scams. You should never have to pay for scholarship advice or information.
  • If you get 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.

“It may seem out of your reach, but once you take that first step and apply, you quickly see how worthwhile it all is,” said 2006 Sallie Mae Fund scholarship winner and Spelman College junior Leanna Pearson.

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. To help meet these needs, The Sallie Mae Fund provides scholarships through a number of its own programs that address a common barrier to higher education access: financial need. Scholarships with upcoming deadlines this spring include:

  • “First in My Family” Scholarship Program: This program, developed in partnership with the Hispanic College Fund, offers scholarships to Hispanic-American students who are the first in their families to attend college, and have financial need.
  • “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.
  • “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.
  • The Sallie Mae 911 Education Fund: Created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, this fund provides scholarship dollars to children of those who were killed or permanently disabled in the attacks. This fund also provides grants, which enable spouses of those who were killed or deemed permanently disabled in the attacks to pay off their Sallie Mae education loans.
  • The Imagine America Promise Scholarship Program: This program extends a renewal scholarship to existing career college students who received the Imagine America scholarship to continue pursuit of their postsecondary career education.

“Even though they don’t know you, they believe in you,” said Oklahoma scholarship winner Thelma Ramirez about The Sallie Mae Fund. “I used to clean chalkboards for books in hopes of one day going to college. Now I am a pre-law major at a prestigious Ivy League college.”

Additionally, The Sallie Mae Fund, in partnership with the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development’s Tomas Rivera Policy Institute; the Walt Disney Company; and Southern California Edison recently introduced a valuable free resource for students – the Latino College Dollars Scholarship Directory. This up-to-date scholarship guide features hundreds of scholarships available to California Latino students, and is available without registration at

In 2006, The Fund awarded $2.6 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 deserving students enrolled in colleges across the country. More than 14,000 completed applications were submitted by college-bound students from across the country, a significant jump from the previous year and a record for The Sallie Mae Fund’s scholarship programs. For a complete listing of 2006 scholarship recipients and the schools they attend, or for 2007-2008 scholarship information, visit

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

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I just graduated from High school this May; my dream is to become a barbar. But my family can’t afford to send me. Niether of my parents have good credit for a loan. My question is how do I go about getting a free grant to attend barbar college this fall. I’m searching all the Sallie Mae links..