Seven Colleges Receive $50,000 Each to Implement Dreamkeepers Emergency Financial Assistance

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12 Aug 2008
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Scholarship America® announced today that seven colleges across the country will each receive a $50,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation through Scholarship America’s Dreamkeepers Emergency Financial Assistance program. The program addresses the high dropout rates of community college and university students when faced with unexpected crises, such as medical expenses, job loss or other emergencies. Scholarship America’s Dreamkeepers program is funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.

Contra Costa College (San Pablo, Calif.), Prince George Community College (Largo, Md.), Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills, Ill.), Miami-Dade College (Miami, Fla.), Lorain County Community College (Elyria, Ohio), Westmoreland County Community College (Youngwood, Pa.) and University of Maryland (College Park, Md.) will each receive $50,000 to support students in need.

“Thousands of students every year are faced with the decision of either staying in college or dropping out to take care of something unforeseen,” said Donald Lassere, senior vice president of programs, Scholarship America. “It’s really been our goal with the Dreamkeepers program to alleviate some of the pressure around the decision by providing financial support to those students.”

"Wal-Mart is making a significant commitment to educational access," said Wal-Mart Foundation president, Margaret McKenna. "We believe that our support will help many determined students overcome obstacles to completing their education."

A team of Scholarship America representatives will provide on-site support and training to help each college determine applicant guidelines, as well as how to create awareness and develop best practices to raise additional funds for the program.

The seven colleges were chosen because they enroll large numbers of low-income students and students of color – groups with high rates of attrition that have traditionally been underserved by the education system.

“Our program has delivered drastic results that have provided positive life-changing outcomes nationwide,” said Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, president and CEO of Scholarship America. “We’re really fortunate to work with companies such as Wal-Mart, who see the need and are willing to lend a hand. We hope to continue the momentum with future program expansion.”

Developed in 2005 with support from Lumina Foundation for Education, the Dreamkeepers program provides students with emergency funding to allow them to remain in school and obtain a post-secondary education. Earlier this year, the Wal-Mart Foundation provided $500,000 to expand the program to additional community colleges and universities across the country.

Scholarship America currently administers the program at 11 community colleges throughout the country. In its first two years, the program provided nearly $595,393 to 1,566 students – easing student worries about housing, food, utilities, tuition, books, transportation, child care and medical needs.

Janine Fugate, Scholarship America

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About Scholarship America
Scholarship America is a national education service organization that mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. We have three core programs that help us achieve our mission: Dollars for Scholars, Scholarship Management Services, and Dreamkeepers. Scholarship America has distributed more than $2.5 billion in scholarship assistance to more than 1.7 million students since 1958.

About the Wal-Mart Foundation
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Wal-Mart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its
philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Wal-Mart Foundation supports initiatives focused on enhancing opportunities in education, job skills training, sustainability and health. In 2007, Wal-Mart,
Sam’s Club and the Wal-Mart Foundation gave $296 million to communities across the United States. To learn more, visit

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Dream Award Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.

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