Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund

If you’re a student or family member of a student who’s currently registered for the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund — or if you’re wondering how to register and apply — you’ve come to the right place.

Scholarship Fund Application

Haven’t Registered? Register Now.
*Clicking Apply Now will automatically redirect to the Secure Scholarship America Hub Website to complete the Families of Freedom Scholarship Application.

  • Eligibility Guidelines

    Registrants must be dependent children, spouses, or domestic partners of 9/11 victims, including airplane crew and passengers; World Trade Center and Pentagon workers and visitors; and relief workers, including firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and law enforcement personnel, who were involved in the rescue efforts.

    Parents and siblings of victims are not eligible unless they can provide documentation of financial dependence on the victim.

    All scholarship applicants must complete the registration process prior to submitting their first application.  The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is only accepting registrations for victims who passed away on the day of September 11, 2001.  Registration for the families of disabled victims is closed.

    Families of Freedom Scholarships are available for children who enroll in a program of postsecondary study by age 24. (Those children who turn 24 during their course of study must then continue their program of study uninterrupted, with the exception of summer vacations, in order to continue receiving scholarship assistance.)

    The Families of Freedom Scholarship is a need-based award. Students who show no financial need may receive a modest onetime award of up to $1,000*. They will not qualify for additional funding (unless their financial situation changes). Students are encouraged to reapply each year to see if they qualify.

    *Student eligible for the Twin Towers Award will still qualify to receive Twin Towers funding even if they do not qualify to receive the Families of Freedom Award. Twin Towers recipients must still apply for the Families of Freedom Scholarship to receive their award.

    Permanently Disabled

    Permanently disabled individuals must be deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration and have successfully completed the Families of Freedom registration process prior to September 30, 2016. The registration period has closed indefinitely for victims who were permanently disabled as a direct result of 9/11.

    Children of disabled registrants must have been born after September 11, 2001 but prior to September 30, 2008 in order to be eligible.

    Eligible Uses of Funds 

    • Scholarships may be used to attend an accredited vocational-technical school, trade school, two-year college, four-year college, or university located in the United States.
    • Funds are only available for undergraduate study.
    • Families of Freedom Scholarships are available for postsecondary study only. The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund does not provide scholarships for elementary or secondary school.
    • Families of Freedom Scholarship recipients may receive need-based scholarship awards for up to four years, or the equivalent if attendance is part-time, depending on total funding available.
    • Eligibility for scholarship assistance is always based on financial need, as calculated by our financial need formula.
    • Families of Freedom Scholarships are not provided to pay tuition or student loans retroactively.
    • Although conditions may change over time, including the percentage of financial need covered, retroactive payments will not be made from the Fund to past recipients.

    Staying Eligible

    • Grades are not considered in determining initial eligibility for Families of Freedom scholarships or the value of scholarship awards. However, a transcript of grades is required to verify enrollment and course completion for prior terms.
    • Students must apply each year for awards from the Fund in order to determine continued eligibility and award amount.
    • Eligibility for scholarship assistance is always based on financial need. Award amounts for eligible students may change yearly, based on changes in family finances, changes in tuition rates, and current actuarial projections for the Fund.
  • Estimated Award Calculator

    College costs and scholarship amounts differ from student to student, family to family. This tool can make things easier to figure out.

    Step 1: Answer the questions below to determine the Suggested Parental Contribution (SPC)

    Step 2: Print the Estimated Award Amount Worksheet (Document will open in a new tab or window.)

    Step 3: Enter SPC value calculated in Step 1 on the SPC line of the Estimated Award Amount Worksheet

    Step 4: Complete remainder of worksheet to determine estimated award amount

    Note: Do not use commas, symbols or decimal places. For example, enter 12000 not $12,000, or 12000.00 or 12K.

    Estimated Award Calculator

    Adjusted Gross Income (Form 1040)
    Total US Federal Income Tax Paid (Form 1040)
    State of Residence
    Total number of family members living in the household and primarily supported by the above income
    Total number of family members attending post-secondary school (college) at least half-time during the next school year, including applicant
    Total Cash, Checking, Savings, and Cash Value of Stocks (exclude 9/11 Federal Victim's Compensation, 9/11 Life Insurance Proceeds, Other 9/11 Related Benefits, Retirement Plan Funds, IRA, 401K)
    Marital Status of parent/guardian or self
    Total Income of Surviving Parent or Disabled Victim or Self
    Total Income of Spouse of Disabled Victim or Spouse of Independent Student
    Medical and Dental Expenses Not Paid by Insurance (exclude premiums)
    * Suggested Parent Contribution per student (SPC)

    About the Calculator
    The SPC (Suggested Parental Contribution) Calculator in conjunction with the Estimated Award Amount Worksheet are available to assist you with your planning and budgeting needs. You can use these tools to 1) estimate what the family is expected to contribute to the college expenses of the student based on your current financial circumstances and 2) estimate the amount that may be awarded to you by the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund.

    • Please note that changes to family income, school costs, additional financial aid received, number of family members attending school, or adjustments to the SPC calculations will result in changes to the SPC and/or estimated award amount. The final award amount will be determined after an official application has been submitted and reviewed by Scholarship America.
    • If applicant is a dependent child, the parent/guardian must provide this information for the application. If applicant is independent, he/she must provide the information. Adjusted Gross Income and federal income tax amounts should be from parents’/applicant’s most recently filed US tax return.• You may recalculate your SPC at any time. Select and change any numbers previously entered on this calculator, then click the Calculate SPCbutton to update the resulting calculated amount.

    For applicants outside of the United States, please call 877-862-0136 or email info@familiesoffreedom.org for a separate financial data form to complete.

  • Financial Need Formula

    Awards are based on a percentage of calculated financial need, not a percentage of the total school or college expense. Because of this, award amounts differ from student to student. The formula used to determine a student’s award amount is as follows:

    School Costs

    minus SPC (as calculated above)

    minus Other Scholarship and Grants

    Equals: Financial Need

    Award Amount = Financial Need multiplied by % of need to be allocated for the year. The percentage of need to be paid for the 2023-24 academic year is 60%. The percentage fluctuates from year to year based on an annually conducted actuarial study.

    While the standard formula considers a wide range of income and assets in determining financial need, the Fund does not consider:

    • Nontaxable income
      • 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund assets
      • Retirement funds
      • Value of the family residence
      • Student earnings

    In addition, the first $500,000 of family assets (cash, checking account, savings account, and cash value of stocks) is ignored in the financial needs calculation. However, interest income from the Victim Compensation Fund awards that families have invested is included in the need calculation, as it is often impossible to separate this investment income from the rest of the interest income that people report on their tax returns.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I submit an application?

    Click the Apply Now button on the Families of Freedom website.  It will automatically redirect you to the secure Scholarship America HUB.

    Click on First Time Here – I am a Student to create a username and password. You will then receive an email to verify your account.  Click the link in the email to verify your account and finish setting up your profile.

    Once your profile is set up you be directed to a list of potential scholarships.  Look for the Families of Freedom Scholarship (there may be more then one ie. Summer/Fall/Year) click the apply now button for the term you are applying.

    Complete the application, and upload the required documents before you Lock and Submit.

    For full instructions, click on this link: Application Instructions

    Can the same email be used for every family member?

    No. A unique email address should be set up for each student. We discourage applicants from using their EDU school address.

    Are Victim’s Compensation Fund/Life Insurance payments included in the financial need calculation when determining award amounts?

    Interest earnings reflected in the parent’s annual Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) are considered taxable income and will be used in the financial need calculation if it is reported as taxable income on the filed IRS Tax Form 1040.

    Can the Supporting Documents be emailed, or Faxed in?

    All supporting documents need to be uploaded when completing the application.  For privacy, and security purposes, we no longer accept emailed, or faxed documents.

    What information is important for me to keep?

    You should retain your registration number, username, password, and the email address you used to set up your account. We highly recommend keeping a folder containing all of your login information and copies of paperwork throughout the duration of your scholarship.

    What is the difference between applying for a Full Year vs. Semester/Quarter/Other?

    Full Year applications are accepted for full-time undergraduate students attending an entire academic year.  One application can be submitted for the entire year.

    All other terms (Semester/Quarter/Summer) are used to apply for a single quarter or semester, part-time, summer, or certifications programs. A new application, and supporting documents must be submitted for each term attended.

    Can I apply for summer enrollment?

    Yes! However, it is important to note that summer funding does count against the maximum number of semesters you are eligible to receive. Students are eligible for a total of four academic years of funding or its equivalent of eight semesters.

    How do I determine how much funding I will receive?

    To get an estimated Parent Contribution and Award Amount please use the Estimated Award Calculator on the Families of Freedom website.

    If my tuition is due prior to the check disbursement dates, what should I do?

    You are responsible for making payment to the school if tuition is due prior to check disbursement dates. Please work with the school for reimbursement of expenses paid out of pocket when you present the scholarship check to the school. Provide the school with a copy of your notification of award email as soon as you receive it.

    If I sell my house or cash out investment income will it be counted towards my income when calculating award amounts?

    Yes, all invest income (including the sale of a property) is included when calculating Families of Freedom award amounts.

  • Benefactor Subfunds

    In addition to the main Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, a number of donors have established subfunds. These are operated in conjunction with the main Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. In general, these subfunds provide awards to financially needy children and spouses of 9/11 victims in the same manner as the main Fund. However, only two of these subfunds are governed by the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund Declaration. The rest are governed by separate, independent agreements between Scholarship America and the donors which detail the specific terms and conditions of each subfund.

    “General Subfunds” are open to all Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund registrants. Others, listed as “Designated Subfunds,” are open only to specific groups of Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund registrants, such as rescue personnel or students attending certain colleges and universities.

    General Subfunds

    Benjamin Moore & Co.

    Heroes of Freedom Fund

    Biogen Legacy Fund
    Citigroup Relief Fund
    FCA Foundation

    Freddie Mac MBS Mega Scholarship Fund

    Hyogo Prefecture Friendship Fund

    International Youth Foundation (IYF)
    Nokia Education Fund
    Major League Baseball (MLB)/ Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) Freedom Scholarship Fund

    The National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation (NADCF) created the Fund

    PeopleSoft/Oracle Scholarship Fund

    PGA TOUR 9-11 Scholarship Fund
    The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation American Heroes Fund

    Scottish Rite National Disaster Relief Scholarship Fund

    Designated Subfunds

    Big Ten 9-11 Scholarship Fund

    DuPont Scholarship Fund

    Japan Relief Fund

    NCAA 9-11 Scholarships

    Twin Towers Fund Scholarship Program

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