Two Decades After 9/11, Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund Continues to Help Victims’ Children Achieve Their College Dreams

September 9, 2022

$186.3 million awarded to date with plans to serve nearly 3,000 remaining students with a call for support of the nation

Scholarship America is pleased to announce its Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund — the largest private scholarship fund for 9/11 families – has surpassed $186 million in total scholarships awarded to 3,806 students since being founded after September 11, 2001.

The creation of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund sparked incredible generosity nationwide. With President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Bob Dole serving as fund co-founders, donations arrived from more than 20,000 corporations, foundations, educational institutions, grassroots organizations, and individuals, raising more than $100 million. In 2001, the goal was to support 3,800 students who lost loved ones on 9/11 but the number of qualified scholars has expanded because the number of illnesses in Ground Zero rescue workers has increased demand significantly.

“The need to support these first responder families is not yet over,” said Executive Director Rhianna Quinn Roddy. “Over the years the number of eligible students has grown by nearly 50% due to devastating illness contracted by rescue workers as a result of exposure on 9/11. So many of these frontline rescue workers, who put their lives at risk to save others and protect our nation, are now critically ill and permanently disabled as a result of their heroic efforts.”

The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is a tribute to all who were lost or disabled on that tragic day 21 years ago. We ask for individuals across the nation to donate to the Fund to help support those students and let these families know we have not forgotten what they have sacrificed on behalf of our country. Families of Freedom has 76% education completion rate (graduation rate) compared to the national average of 50%. Our alumni scholars are helping contribute to their community in a wide variety of professions including doctors, nurses, mental health counselors, teachers, lawyers, and as first responders just like their beloved parent.

“Our goal is to ensure the remaining 3,000 students have the same opportunity to attend college as the initial group of Families of Freedom scholars,” said Mike Nylund, president and CEO of Scholarship America. “These students are persevering in their college education in the face of great personal tragedy and we are proud to stand in their corner from the time they enter college to the time they get their degree.”

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