COVID-19 Has Compounded Students’ Need for Financial Help; Scholarships Can Offer a Crucial Lifeline - Scholarship America

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COVID-19 Has Compounded Students’ Need for Financial Help; Scholarships Can Offer a Crucial Lifeline

By Scholarship America

Scholarship America® Accepting Applications for 2021 Dream Award Scholarships through Oct. 15

MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 2, 2020) –  Scholarship America, the nation’s largest nonprofit scholarship and education support organization, is accepting applications for the 2021 Scholarship America Dream Award from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15, 2020. Awards are made to students from across the nation who have completed at least their first year of college or beyond. The scholarships are renewable and increase in amount each year.

Concerns about the rising cost of college have increased due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on college students and their families. Among students responding to a national survey by Scholarship America, 64% said that the pandemic has increased their need for financial aid.

“COVID-19 has compounded the financial hardship on students and parents,” said Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America. “Nearly a third of all students responding to our national survey said they have lost a job during the pandemic that is needed to help pay for college. Scholarships can help make the difference. They help students stay in school, make it to graduation and achieve their dreams.”

Eligible students can apply here for the Dream Award. When applying for the scholarship, students will be notified about additional scholarship programs that they may be eligible for, from the more than 1,400 scholarship programs provided through Scholarship America.

In its eighth year, the Dream Award is Scholarship America’s unique renewable scholarship program. It’s open to any college student with financial need, who has overcome barriers and successfully completed at least one year toward their college education. This is inclusive of all types of students, from diverse backgrounds, seeking a 2- or 4-year degree, such as those who are first in their family to attend college, or who are parents themselves or who are choosing to attend college later in life. In the last seven years, Scholarship America has awarded over $2.3 million to 108 students, with scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 based on financial need.

Past Dream Award Recipients Comment on the Scholarship

“I rely heavily on financial aid, grants, and loans to fund my higher educational journey. My education has been the catalyst that changed my future for the better.” Breece Phipps, astronautical engineering, University of Southern California

“Because I was able to receive the Dream Award and some other scholarships, I know I want to help other students do what I did and go to college despite financial obstacles. Thank you for inspiring me to help others and for supporting me in all that I have done the past four years. I will be thankful my entire life for having received these scholarships.” Courtney Wiese, pursuing a degree in health & physical education to become a teacher in a rural school district, Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.

“When I returned home from the Army I was in terrible shape. I sought help from the VA to face my demons and struggled with an addiction to prescription medication and alcohol. I made great strides working through challenges and combatting my addiction. The Dream Award will help me further my education.” Charles Miller, organizational behavior, Northwestern University

The 2021 Scholarship America Dream Award recipients will be announced in early spring. Recipients will be celebrated on May 13, 2021, at the Dreams to Success National Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.

About the Dream Award Selection Committee

Dr. Martha Kanter, Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign and a Senior Fellow, Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at New York University, chairs Scholarship America’s Dream Award Selection Committee comprised of respected business and educational leaders along with Scholarship America’s President and CEO, Robert C. Ballard.

Fundraising to support Scholarship America’s Dream Award was spurred by an initial donation of $350,000 from journalist and author Katie Couric in 2011. More information can be found on

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About Scholarship America

Scholarship America is a non-profit organization that helps students fulfill their college dreams. Since 1958, Scholarship America has distributed $4.3 billion to more than 2.6 million students. The organization works with partners to lower barriers to a college education and give students the support needed to succeed. Learn more at