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New York - September 10, 2015 - 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."
Following the September 11 attacks, former President Clinton and Senator Bob Dole raised $100 million from over 20,000 corporations, universities, philanthropists and individuals to support the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund®. The Fund has performed exceedingly well with each passing year, with plans for the large portion of funds to be distributed during the peak years of 2009-2020, when the most of children affected by the 9/11 tragedies will be going to college.
"For our family, college would have been an impossibility," said Joseph Graziano III, one of four Families of Freedom Scholarship recipients in his family that now includes a lawyer, a doctor, a New York City Fire Department EMT and a physician's assistant in training. "The generous assistance we received from Families of Freedom made it possible for me to become an attorney and for my brothers and sister to pursue their dreams as well. Now we are all focused on ways that we can give back to others because these scholarships did so much for us."
On September 11, 2001, Graziano's father, FDNY Firefighter Joseph Graziano, Jr., emerged from the World Trade Center gravely injured, moments before the North Tower came down – leaving him the only survivor of Engine 22 Ladder 13.
Scholarship America has been operating the Fund with no fees since 2001 and remains committed to helping eligible students from September 11 families realize their goals and full potential through education. Scholarship America will continue to steward the Fund until the year 2030 when the last of the September 11 children will have completed college.
"Scholarship America has the honor and privilege of awarding funds to thousands of students across the country each year, and the Families of Freedom Scholarship awards are some of the most special and fulfilling," said Lauren Segal, President & CEO of Scholarship America. "We will continue to do all we can to help the families of 9/11. Every family member whose lives were touched by that terrible tragedy deserves the opportunities a scholarship can give them, and we are committed to seeing that happen."
For information about the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund®, or to find out how to register, please explore familiesoffreedom.org or call 877-862-0136.
About Scholarship America
For nearly 60 years, Scholarship America has worked directly with students, parents, colleges, businesses and communities to empower people to fulfill their college dreams. As the nation’s largest provider of private scholarships, having distributed over $3.1 billion to more than 2 million students, Scholarship America is now working to further engage the private sector to support programs and policies that advance equity in postsecondary education and help students overcome barriers to access, persistence and attainment.
Scholarship America’s Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund provides education assistance for postsecondary study to financially needy dependents of those killed or permanently disabled as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks. More information is available at scholarshipamerica.org and by following @scholamerica.
"The Families of Freedom Scholarship sustains the memories of all those lost or suffering due to 9/11. It is so humbling that donors, who are seemingly strangers, can show such kindness and compassion. Scholarship America gives me strength and hope for a better future."
The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund benefits financially needy dependent children, spouses, and domestic partners of 9/11 victims. If you are eligible to receive assistance, you'll need to complete a one-time registration; after that, you will need to submit an application each year.
Use the "Planning Ahead" Estimated Award Calculator to stimate what the family is expected to contribute to the student's college expenses, and the amount that may be awarded to you for the upcoming academic year.