FAQs: 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 nearly $2 billion to more than a million and a half students across the country through its Dollars for Scholars® and Scholarship Management Services® programs. 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 http://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. As of June 2010, the Fund has provided needed scholarships to 1452 individuals, totaling more than $49 million. There are currently almost 5,800 individuals registered, and more may still register with the Fund through 2030.

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.
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"[My father] would be really happy that I had the opportunity to go to college. I knew that he was there, and that, for me, made it easier. I knew that my whole family was there."
-- Erin, one of seven siblings in her family who will be able to attend college thanks to Families of Freedom

Visit our Freedom Stories section to read inspiring stories from our families.