Billions of Dollars in Free Money for College Available to Next Fall’s Freshman Class (PRNewswire)

The Sallie Mae Fund Offers Helpful Tips and $2.5 Million in Awards During
Scholarship Application Season

RESTON, Va., March 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 on
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
-- 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

-- 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 family 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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