News, updates, publications and the newest posts from our blogs
October 30, 2018
Born and raised in the United States to Mexican immigrant parents, Jacqueline (Jackie) Vela has often served as a translator. Her father works in an industrial metal lab while her mother, despite suffering from chronic back pain, works at home raising their three children. As the eldest child, Jackie grew up helping with housework and caring for her younger sisters—including her youngest sibling, who has autism and does not speak.
October 22, 2018
Everyone knows what a scholarship is. It’s free, no-strings-attached money to help a student pay for their higher education. Right? Usually. But not always. In some cases, there are significant strings attached—including a few situations in which scholarship funds may be treated as taxable income. While it’s unusual, it’s also important for both students and scholarship providers to know how this can happen, and how it can be avoided.
Joe Palombo’s Families of Freedom Story: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the scholarship I received.”
October 12, 2018
I was 12 years old when I lost my dad in the September 11 attacks. He was a firefighter who died running into the Twin Towers to save others. I lost my hero that day. I knew I would never again have that moment when my dad would look at me and say “I’m so proud.” After losing him, I felt insecure about my capabilities. I struggled through school. I had no idea what I…
October 5, 2018
Discussions about financial aid and student support tend to focus on big costs, big numbers and big trends: skyrocketing tuition; trillion-dollar student loan debt; and deep cuts in state aid to higher ed. But those conversations, important as they are, don’t tell the whole story. For millions of students, the struggle to get through college comes down to questions that are far more basic. Their educational success hinges on issues that most of us take…
Congratulations to Roxanne “Rocky” Thompson: 2018 Dollars for Scholars National Volunteer of the Year
September 24, 2018
Roxanne "Rocky" Thompson has spent over 20 years volunteering her time and talents to the Swanville Dollars for Scholars chapter. The organization in the small Minnesota community of 350 has awarded over $630,000 in scholarships to local students since it was founded in 1987. Rocky’s contribution to Dollars for Scholars has been recognized with her selection as the 2018 Ralph “Cy” Seifert National Volunteer of the Year.
September 21, 2018
Scholarships are a vital piece of the financial aid puzzle. According to Sallie Mae’s most recent How America Pays for College report, nearly half of all families used scholarship aid when it came to paying for college—and scholarships and grants covered 35 percent of the total cost of higher education. That makes scholarship aid the single largest resource that families are using to pay for school. And it also means that, as scholarship providers, we need to ensure…
September 13, 2018
Growing up in a small town in Mississippi in a single-parent household, Jaquaious (Jay) Little had limited access to resources and experienced lots of change. His mother and father broke up very early on in his life. His mother later married and divorced his stepfather when he was in first grade. She completed college with a degree in education and became a preschool teacher to support their family.
September 6, 2018
Kaylee Logan learned how to keep busy at a young age. She was playing roller hockey at age three and got involved with 4-H at age ten. That led to joining FFA as a teenager, and her passion for helping others and serving her community has only continued to grow.
$152 Million Awarded in 17 Years to More Than 3,500 Students by Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund
September 6, 2018
More Funding Needed to Support All Dependents of Those Killed or Permanently Disabled in the 9/11 Attacks MINNEAPOLIS (September 5, 2018) - Scholarship America® is pleased to announce its Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund®—the largest private scholarship fund for 9/11 families—has surpassed $152 million in total scholarships awarded to more than 3,500 students since September 11, 2001. That figure includes over $12 million in needs-based scholarships to support 800 students during the 2017-18 academic year. The…
August 30, 2018
It is a long road from a rough neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia to the executive suite, but that’s Chantel Lewis-Cummings’ path. When she was just two years old, Chantel's father was killed. She moved in with her grandmother in Savannah. A few years later her grandmother's health began to decline and she lost her job. With no income, they were evicted and had to move into Chantel's great-aunt's basement. That was when Chantel's mother, who…
August 21, 2018
There’s an old piece of wisdom that “being rich means you don’t have to think about money.” The source of that quote is long lost, but it remains as true as ever—and for too many students and families, the opposite is equally true. If you’re struggling with finances, money is never far from your mind. Higher education is a way out; unfortunately, the very financial stress students are trying to escape can make it harder…
August 15, 2018
MINNEAPOLIS (August 15, 2018) – Scholarship America, the nation’s largest nonprofit scholarship and education support organization, is accepting applications for the 2019 Scholarship America Dream Award now through Monday, October 15, 2018. In its sixth year, the Dream Award is Scholarship America’s unique renewable scholarship program for students with financial need who have overcome barriers and successfully started their college education. Awards are made to students from across the nation who are entering their second year or…
August 10, 2018
The saying "nothing is impossible" characterizes Denis Cruz and his philosophy on life. Born in Honduras, Denis spent his childhood in a small village with his mother. The entire village lived in poverty, but Denis's family was among the poorest of the poor. In order to provide for her family, Denis's mother took a job in Spain, leaving him to live with his grandmother. At age 14, Denis moved into a house with his cousins…
August 2, 2018
Navigating how to pay for college may seem like an overwhelming task – especially if you are a first-generation college student. You may feel like you have been dropped into in a maze of loans, scholarships and grants where a wrong turn could end in a huge loan bill at the end of your studies. As a first-generation college student, you will likely have to navigate your own path, but you don’t have to go…
July 27, 2018
Our circumstances—where we’re born, our family’s history, our economic status—play an outsized role in shaping our identity in the world. For Rachel Muir, those circumstances weren’t the ones that usually lead to higher education. Rachel grew up in foster care and was adopted at 15 by a couple in her community whose primary source of income was delivering groceries for the local supermarket. “I was poor and no one I knew went to college,” Rachel…