Frequently Asked Questions: General

What is the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund®?
The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is a charitable scholarship fund that was created in the weeks that followed the attacks of 9/11 to provide postsecondary education assistance to an entire generation of financially needy dependents of those killed or permanently disabled in the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. The Fund has already provided millions in support for students who were in high school and college when the tragedy struck, and will continue to provide assistance until the year 2030. (1)

Who created the Fund? Who manages it?
The Lumina Foundation for Education pledged the initial $3 million to create the Fund - $1 million went directly to the Fund and $2 million to a dollar-for-dollar matching grant to encourage contributions from individuals. The $2 million matching grant target was met on December 18, 2001. The Fund Declaration can be found here; a list of major donors can be found here. The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is managed by Scholarship America.

What is Scholarship America?
Founded in 1958, Scholarship America is the nation's premier nonprofit, private sector scholarship and educational support organization. The organization has distributed $3 billion to two million students across the nation since its inception. Charity Navigator, the nation's top evaluator of non-profit organizations, has given Scholarship America its highest rating for fiscal health and responsibility to donors. Scholarship America is headquartered in St. Peter and Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, visit scholarshipamerica.org.

(NOTE: When the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund was created, the organization was known as Citizens’ Scholarship Foundation of America. The name was shortened to Scholarship America on January 1, 2003.)

What is Lumina Foundation for Education?
The Lumina Foundation for Education is a private, charitable foundation headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana that strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access to an education beyond high school. For more information, visit www.luminafoundation.org.

What role did President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole play in establishing the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund?
President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole joined together to spearhead the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund fundraising effort. President Clinton and Senator Dole energized the campaign on Saturday, September 29, 2001, with a press conference and a public service announcement broadcast nationwide. This provoked a groundswell of goodwill from the United States and the international community – from grassroots support to fundraising events to cause-related marketing campaigns. President Clinton and Senator Dole served as co-chairs of the fundraising effort until the fundraising goal of $100 million was reached on September 4, 2002, signaling the end of the active fundraising campaign.

Is Scholarship America still actively fundraising for the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund?
No, Scholarship America stopped actively fundraising on September 4, 2002, the day the $100 million fundraising goal was reached. More monies have since been donated beyond that goal, so even a greater portion of students’ financial need can be met.

How much was raised for the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund and its subfunds?
More than $108 million was raised, with an additional $20 million in pledged commitments.

How many scholarships have been given out so far?
In January 2002, the first scholarships were awarded to eligible students. During the 2013-14 academic year, the fund has provided more than $11 million in needs-based postsecondary scholarships to 776 members of the 9/11 community. As of September 2014, the Fund and its subfunds had provided needed scholarships to 2,568 individuals, totaling $103.7 million.

What is the September 11 Scholarship Alliance?
The September 11 Scholarship Alliance was formed by leading scholarship providers and associated organizations to simplify the scholarship application process for postsecondary education for the families of 9/11 victims. The streamlined application developed by the Alliance and Scholarship America is used for application to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund and its subfunds. Although the Alliance is no longer active, many of the scholarship funds established by Alliance members and listed in the "Other September 11 Scholarship Funds" section of the website continue to distribute scholarship funds for the families of 9/11 victims. Each of these scholarship funds has its own application process.

Where can I get more information about the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund?
For more information on registration, eligibility, guidelines, and Fund management, please contact Scholarship America's Scholarship Management Services division at 877-862-0136 or info@familiesoffreedom.org. Media members, please visit the Press Room.

1. In February 2008 the Scholarship America Board of Trustees voluntarily determined that any assets remaining in the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund after 2030 shall only be used to provide postsecondary scholarship assistance to the families of those killed or disabled on September 11, 2001 and their descendants. Please click here for the full text of the Board of Trustees Resolution. (Return to article)

Keeping Dreams Alive

Maureen"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."

Register & Apply

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.

Award Calculator

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.

Get in Touch