News Releases

Bill to Provide Emergency Aid to California Community College Students Passes First Committee


The California State Assembly Higher Education Committee voted to pass Assemblymember David Chiu’s Assembly Bill 2822, which would help ensure that California community college students pursue their educational goals despite unforeseen financial emergencies by providing small emergency grants from the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP). Scholarship America supports the effort to provide emergency aid.

“AB 2822 will help relieve some of the stress students face in the midst of an unexpected financial emergency and keep them on the path to be successful,” said Assemblymember Chiu.

2016 Joe Lieberman Connecticut Scholarship Fund Open for Student Applications through April 1


Scholarship America announced today that the Joe Lieberman Connecticut Scholarship Fund, to assist outstanding high school seniors from Connecticut who plan to continue their education in college or vocational school programs, is now open for its fourth year of student applications.

Each recipient is awarded a $1,500 scholarship, renewable for up to three additional years or until a bachelor’s degree is earned. To date, 15 students have received renewable awards, with the first class of Lieberman Scholars now in their junior year of college.

Wells Fargo Supports Veterans With $2 Million to Scholarship America


Wells Fargo & Company has committed $2 million over the next four years to Scholarship America to develop and implement the Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship Program and the Wells Fargo Veterans Emergency Grant Program. The needs-based scholarships and grants will help veterans and spouses of disabled veterans obtain education or training necessary to successfully integrate back into civilian life.

“American veterans are important to the strength of our country and our company, which is why we want to make sure they are able to contribute their talents to our workforce,” said Jerry Quinn, Wells Fargo Military & Veteran Program Manager. “Our work with Scholarship America will help fill some of the financial gaps our veterans and their families face with scholarships and emergency aid that will help set them on a course to success.”

Michelin Donates $100,000 to Scholarship America On Behalf of Katie Couric, #SharingSafety Campaign


A campaign by Michelin North America and Katie Couric, Yahoo global news anchor and New York Times bestselling author of The Best Advice I Ever Got, engaged millions on the topic of safe driving during National Teen Driver Safety Week. As part of the #SharingSafety campaign, Couric shared her safe-driving story and advice in a video that has attracted 1.18 million views in just under two months. The campaign also engaged millions of people via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and prompted many to share their best advice on safe driving.

On behalf of Couric’s involvement in the #SharingSafety campaign, Michelin is making a $100,000 donation to Scholarship America.

“The best advice I received about safe driving came from my parents and my driver’s education teacher – advice that I have put to use many times,” comments Couric. “If you know a young driver, share your best advice on safe driving. It could save a life.”

New Report Outlines Best Practices for
Emergency Grant Programs Aimed at Improving
College Graduation and Persistence Rates


In a new report commissioned by Scholarship America, researchers at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab used data from surveys and interviews conducted with emergency grant aid program administrators around the country to gauge how they might be best implemented to assist colleges in keeping students enrolled and on track toward postsecondary attainment.

The report -- Investing in Student Completion: Overcoming Financial Barriers to Retention Through Small-Dollar Grants and Emergency Aid Programs -- found at least 100 emergency grant aid programs in operation across the country, some with support from larger organizations, including Scholarship America’s Dreamkeepers program, which provides students with both financial assistance to get them through their emergency, as well as access to additional resources and student services.

Scholarship America Earns 4-Star Rating From Charity Navigator


Scholarship America is proud to announce it has earned a 4-star rating -- the highest possible -- from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the 13th time that Scholarship America has earned this top distinction since Charity Navigator began rating nonprofit organizations in 2002. Charity Navigator’s objective, data-driven analysis awards only the most responsible organizations a 4-star rating, based on governance and ethical practices, fiscal health and transparency.

Scholarship America Now Accepting Applications for 2016 Dream Award Season


Scholarship America, Inc., the nation’s largest nonprofit scholarship and education support organization, is pleased to announce that it will be accepting applications for the 2016 Scholarship America Dream Award beginning today, Thursday, Oct. 15, through Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015.

Now in its third year, the Dream Award is Scholarship America’s unique renewable scholarship program for financially needy students who have overcome barriers and have successfully started their college education. Awards are made to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year or higher of education beyond high school; the scholarships are both renewable and increase in amount each year. Last year, Scholarship America awarded nearly $110,000 to 12 students, with scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 based on the individual student’s financial need.

Scholarship America Names Robert C. Ballard as President & CEO

Former USA Funds executive to take the helm of national nonprofit as focus on college affordability takes the national spotlight


Scholarship America® is proud to announce the hiring of its new President & CEO, Robert C. (Bob) Ballard, effective September 21, 2015. Mr. Ballard has more than 30 years of higher education financing experience, most recently having served as Senior Vice President of Philanthropy at USA Funds where he directed all philanthropic programs and grant-making activities, totaling more than $21.4 million in 2014 to promote access and success in higher education. His experience also includes leadership positions at Sallie Mae, Citibank and EDULINX Canada Corporation, all of which focused on supporting financing for college students. He is extensively involved in national and local charitable organizations, including having served as Board Chair for Indiana Dollars for Scholars® and as a member of Scholarship America’s own Board of Trustees since 2012.

Mr. Ballard joins Scholarship America just following the launch of its first public policy platform and as a new strategic planning process is underway which will define the organization's goals and direction for the next several years. "Bob's broad and deep knowledge of education finance, decades of experience in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and his personal passion for the mission of Scholarship America, make him the perfect leader to help today's students complete their degrees with manageable debt levels," said Mike Ryan, Board Chair, Scholarship America.

Families of Freedom Fund Tops $115.9 Million in Total Scholarship Awards to 9/11 Family Members Since 2001


Scholarship America is pleased to announce that its Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund®—the largest private scholarship fund for 9/11 families—has surpassed $115.9 million in total scholarship awards to 2,825 students since September 11, 2001. That figure includes $12,539,530 in needs-based scholarships to support 760 students during the 2014-15 academic year.

The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund® is a program of Scholarship America®, the nation's largest non-profit, private sector scholarship and educational support organization. The Fund provides private scholarships for children, spouses and domestic partners of people who were killed on September 11, 2001, or permanently disabled during the rescue operation. The Fund is transforming the lives and supporting the educational dreams of families of airplane crews and passengers, World Trade Center and Pentagon workers and visitors, and those who were killed or permanently disabled in the attacks.

"The underlying principle of the Fund is that cultivating educational opportunities and success for the families of 9/11 is the most enduring tribute we can make to those whom we lost. It's a triumph that more than 2,800 students have now been given a real chance to pursue their education dreams after their families were deeply affected by very painful tragedies," said Rhianna Quinn Roddy, Executive Director, Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. "We are extremely grateful to our donors for their generous support of the Fund as we continue to help more and more family members to achieve success in life."

President Obama Names Scholarship America's Lauren Segal To College Promise Advisory Board

The College Promise Advisory Board is an independent advisory commission, convened to further efforts to make two years of community college free.


In an address today at Macomb Junior College in Warren, Michigan, President Obama announced the independent creation of the College Promise Advisory Board.

Scholarship America President & CEO Lauren Segal will serve on the Board, which brings together luminaries and leaders to highlight successes, share best practices and models, and further the effort to make two years of community college free for responsible students around the country.

The College Promise Advisory Board is led by Chair Dr. Jill Biden, and Vice-Chair former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer, and directed by former Under Secretary of Education, Martha Kanter. (See the full list of Board Members at This influential, diverse, broad–based and growing network will work to educate the public, elected officials, community and state stakeholders and the media on the benefits of the College Promise, emphasizing high-quality community college education.

Scholarship America Launches First Public Policy Agenda

National nonprofit seeks to expand public-private partnerships, ensure a student-centered financial aid system and create more institutional transparency and accountability


Scholarship America, Inc., the nation’s largest nonprofit scholarship and education support organization, is proud to announce our first public policy agenda.

With nearly 60 years of experience in providing and shaping impactful educational supports to students, and as the voice of the private sector in postsecondary education, Scholarship America is now working to further engage the private sector to support programs and policies that advance equity in postsecondary education. This public policy agenda is the culmination of two years of research and dialogue on issues such as financial aid award displacement, college costs, student debt, tax benefits, public-private partnerships, and college access, persistence and completion.

Building on that work, the public policy agenda includes three main priorities. Read the full press release and download the Public Policy Agenda for more information.

Scholarship America Honored Katie Couric, Donald Graham and GM Foundation at Inaugural "From Dreams to Degrees" Event on May 19

The event, presented by Voya Financial, celebrated college students and those who make their success a reality


Scholarship America hosted their inaugural From Dreams to Degrees Education Dinner on May 19, 2015 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Proceeds from the event will go toward the Scholarship America Dream Award, a completion-based scholarship program for students who are entering their second year or higher of education beyond high school.

More than 300 individuals attended the event, which honored Katie Couric, journalist and author; Donald Graham, CEO of Graham Holdings Company; and the General Motors Foundation for their efforts in helping students achieve their education dreams. Rehema Ellis, NBC national education correspondent, emceed the evening’s program, which was chaired by Rodney O. Martin, Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial.

During the event, Martin surprised Scholarship America with a $25,000 gift from Voya Financial’s philanthropic arm, the Voya Foundation, to support the Scholarship America Dream Award.

2015 Scholarship America Dream Award Recipients "Represent The Best of American Perseverance"


Scholarship America, Inc., the nation’s largest nonprofit scholarship and education support organization, is thrilled to announce its 2015 class of Dream Award scholarship recipients.

"These twelve students represent the best of American perseverance and the dream to make a better life," said Lauren A. Segal, President & CEO of Scholarship America. "Receiving the Scholarship America Dream Award will allow each of these students to focus on their studies, rather than worrying about how to pay for their education."

Scholarship America Elects Former Scholarship Recipient Doug Mello to Board of Trustees


Scholarship America, the nation’s leading nonprofit scholarship and educational support organization, is pleased to announce that Doug Mello has been elected to serve as a member of Scholarship America’s Board of Trustees. Mello is the President of DJM Advisory Services, Inc., a telecommunications advisory services firm he founded in 1999, and is among one of Scholarship America’s first scholarship recipients through its flagship Dollars for Scholars program.

2015 Joe Lieberman Connecticut Scholarship Fund Open for Student Applications through April 1


Scholarship America announced today that the Joe Lieberman Connecticut Scholarship Fund, to assist outstanding high school seniors from Connecticut who plan to continue their education in college or vocational school programs, is now open for its third year of student applications. To date, ten students have each received a $1,500 scholarship award, renewable for up to three additional years or until a bachelor’s degree is earned. For 2015, up to five more Connecticut high school students will be selected for this prestigious award.

“The Joe Lieberman Connecticut Scholarship Fund is a way for me to both thank and give back to Connecticut by helping outstanding high school seniors go to college and pursue their dreams,” said Sen. Lieberman.

Scholarship America Statement on President Obama’s Community College Proposal


This month, President Barack Obama unveiled a new proposal, America’s College Promise, to make two years of community college free for qualified students. The President further advocated for his proposal to the nation in the 2015 State of the Union address.

Scholarship America applauds the President for prioritizing the issue of addressing college access and affordability and offering solutions. America’s College Promise has started a very healthy discussion and has helped to spotlight the importance of providing post-secondary educational opportunities to all Americans.

Scholarship America's Max Espinoza Joins Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Advisory Council


The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) is proud to announce that Max Espinoza of Scholarship America has joined its 2015-2016 Advisory Council. The Council represents national leadership from a variety of sectors, including government, corporate America, unions, academia, and foundations. CHCI’s Advisory Council members serve as ambassadors for the organization and give their time and expertise in service to CHCI’s mission and the betterment of the Latino community.

Scholarship America Announces Commitment to Expand College Access at White House Event


Scholarship America’s Senior Vice President, Education Programs and Policy, Max Espinoza, joined President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other education leaders today to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college. The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support the President’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

Today’s participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

As a member of this initiative, Scholarship America commits to focus on serving low-to-moderate income students and communities of greatest need. Specifically, Scholarship America will add 110 community-based scholarship chapters across the nation by 2020. Read more about Scholarship America’s commitment here.

News Archive

For older stories, visit the News Archive.

The Dream Award

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.

2014 Annual Report

In 2014, more than 125,000 students received over $236 million in scholarship support and assistance from Scholarship America – a record-breaking year for the nation's largest provider of private scholarships.


Visit our 2014 annual report to learn more about our successes, our students and our future.

Success By Degrees

Scholarship America's blog, Success By Degrees, covers items of interest to parents, volunteers, educators and anyone interested in the big issues surrounding education, financial aid and postsecondary success. You'll find policy announcements, news releases and more, every week!

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