The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, managed by Scholarship America, was established within one week of the attacks on September 11, 2001. The Fund exists to “provide education assistance for postsecondary study to financially needy dependents of those people killed or permanently disabled as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and during the rescue activities relating to those attacks.”
The Fund sparked incredible generosity nationwide. With President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Bob Dole serving as campaign co-chairs, donations arrived from more than 20,000 corporations, foundations, educational institutions, grassroots organizations, and individuals, raising more than $108 million in the initial round of fundraising.
To date, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund and its subfunds have provided $137 million to more than 3,100 recipients. The Fund will continue providing assistance to families through 2030, ensuring a brighter future for even the youngest dependents of those who were lost.
Who Is (And Is Not) Eligible
- Families of Freedom 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, that were involved in the rescue efforts.
- Families of Freedom Scholarships are available for children, including those born after September 11, 2001, 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.)
- Children must have been born prior to September 30, 2008 to be eligible.
- As of February 15, 2012, spouses and domestic partners are again eligible to apply for scholarships, as the expiration date on this program has been lifted. As with all of Families of Freedom scholarships, the spousal and domestic partner awards are based upon financial need.
- Parents and siblings of victims are not eligible for Families of Freedom Scholarships unless they can provide documentation of financial dependence on the victim.
- At this time, students who show no financial need may receive a modest award for up to four years, or the part-time equivalent, from one of various Families of Freedom subfunds. These awards may be used for education-related expenses.