Frequently Asked Questions: Fund Management

How many students have been helped by the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund?
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.

How much financial need does the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund meet for eligible registrants?
Due to recent and current economic circumstances, the Fund is currently covering 58 percent demonstrated financial need for eligible Fund registrants. When the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund was originally conceived, it was anticipated that the Fund would cover about 65 percent of financial need. In addition, at this time Fund registrants without financial need receive modest awards from various Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund subfunds.

Each year the assumptions upon which scholarship payouts are based—the age of Fund registrants and potential registrants, their likelihood of attending school in New York (tuition free), the estimated amount of financial need, and the anticipated returns from investments, etc.—are reviewed and updated. For more information, see the summary of actuarial information.

Why hasn’t more of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund been distributed to 9/11 families?
The Fund is being managed carefully to ensure that it meets its mission 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. As of September 2014, the Fund and its subfunds had provided needed scholarships to 2,568 individuals, totaling $103.7 million. However, there are thousands more individuals who were infants or toddlers in 2001 and are in grade school today. Through 2020, these children will seek postsecondary education opportunities at a rate of approximately 400-600 students per year. From 2018 to 2022 alone, scholarship needs for these students will total approximately $80 million.

Scholarship America manages the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund so that it will be there both for students today, and for an entire generation of dependents of the 9/11 victims through 2030.

What if there are excess funds, or funds left over in the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund?
Scholarship America firmly believes that all assets of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund will be awarded to Fund registrants by the end of 2030.

The Fund Declaration permits the Board of Trustees of Scholarship America to redirect any excess assets of the Fund or any sub-fund to support other postsecondary education scholarship programs of Scholarship America, upon the good faith determination of at least two-thirds of the Trustees that the need for scholarship assistance for Fund registrants has been met, or can with reasonable certainty be met, with less than all of the assets of the Fund or its subfunds, and any assets remaining in the Fund as of December 31, 2030, may thereafter be used by Scholarship America to support other postsecondary education scholarship programs.

However, in February 2008, the Scholarship America Board of Trustees voluntarily determined that no Fund assets will be redirected to other scholarship programs prior to 2030, and any assets remaining in the Fund after 2030 shall only be used to provide postsecondary scholarship assistance to the dependants of those killed or disabled on September 11, 2001 and their descendants. Click here to read the full text of the Board's resolution.

Is there an appeals process for families and/or individuals who feel they should have received a larger scholarship from the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund or who have been denied need-based scholarship assistance entirely?
Yes. Families can contact Scholarship America at 1-877-862-0136 to submit appeals or find out more about the process. Scholarship America is managing the Fund to support postsecondary education for an entire generation of students through 2030. Based on years of experience managing scholarship programs and a needs formula that ensures the Fund meets as much financial need as possible for each eligible Fund registrant, Scholarship America is committed to ensuring that the students with the most need get the most benefit from the Fund.

How much money does Scholarship America earn from its management of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund?
Scholarship America's overall general administration costs are typically five percent or less of the Fund’s distributions each year. This is considered quite low, as administrative costs for scholarship funds are typically 20 percent or more.

Scholarship America only charges the Fund for its exact management and administration costs, and makes no profit from its administration of the Fund. All contributions to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund support eligible students. Scholarship America is compensated for its costs from a small portion of the interest earned on the Fund.

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.

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.

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