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Sallie Mae Awards $250,000 in scholarships for diverse students

The grants, intended for high school seniors, will award $10,000 to 25 students.

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In celebration of National Scholarship Month, the leader in private student loans announced the 25 recipients of its Bridging the Dream Scholarship.

With the goal of supporting students from historically diverse communities to access higher education opportunities, Sally Mae has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to strengthen the scholarship program as part of a $3 million commitment made by The Sallie Mae Fund, the charitable arm of Sallie Mae.

Nic Jafarieh, executive vice president of Sallie Mae, stated:

Scholarships can be a real difference maker in opening the doors of higher education, particularly to low-income, under-resourced, and underrepresented students, who often need the most support.

Beneficiaries

These are this year's 25 national winners, who were selected from more than 1,000 applications and excel both, in and out of the classroom:

  1. Ebenezer Antw of Smyrna, Del. attending University of Delaware
  2. Tariq Cunningham of Ft. Washington, Md. attending Bowie State University
  3. Marisol Deanda of Schuyler, Neb. attending University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  4. Dora De La Cruz-Martinez of West Liberty, Iowa attending St. Ambrose University
  5. Bridgett Ellis of Hamilton, Mont. attending University of Montana Western
  6. Courtney Exantus of Clarksville, Tenn. attending Middle Tennessee State University
  7. Madison Garrett of Lindenhurst, N.Y. attending Columbia University
  8. Jahni Glover of Conyers, Ga. attending North Carolina A&T State University
  9. KamDyn Hardin of Citrus Heights, Calif. attending Jackson State University
  10. Gracie Harmann of Racine, Wis. attending University of Wisconsin Whitewater
  11. Chilynn Howard of Avon, Ind. attending Ball State University
  12. Daaimah Husein of Cincinnati, Ohio attending Tennessee State University
  13. Zion Jackson of Verona, Pa. attending University of Pittsburgh
  14. Londyn Jefferson of Chicago, Ill. attending University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  15. Zakaria Melton of Charlotte, N.C. attending North Carolina Central University
  16. Donnell Milton of Katy, TX attending Prairie View A&M University
  17. Marisol Mora of Burkburnett, TX attending Midwestern State University
  18. Khierston Nelson of Burlington, N.C. attending Savannah State University
  19. Manyi Ngu of Jacksonville, Fla. attending University of North Florida
  20. Alayah Osullivan of Brooklyn, N.Y. attending North Carolina A&T State University
  21. Xavier Partee of Whitsett, N.C. attending North Carolina A&T State University
  22. Umulkheir Sharif ali of San Diego, Calif. attending University of California San Diego
  23. Jiya Sharma of Paramus, N.J. attending Seton Hall University
  24. Joseph Thedford of Florissant, Mo. attending Jackson State University
  25. Morghan Williams of Richmond, Va. attending North Carolina A&T State University

"Our scholarship program and partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund continues to help level the playing field for those too often left out or left behind. This year’s diverse recipients are impressive and well on their way to accomplishing great things,” added Jafarieh.

Access

As valuable as scholarships are to a large number of students, many families are still unaware of their availability and what it takes to qualify.

According to a recent study by Sallie Mae and Ipsos, nearly half of families think scholarships are only offered for academic or athletic excellence, leading them to skip applying altogether.

Scholarships, however, are available for nearly every interest and free tools like the Sallie Mae Scholarship Search, home to more than 6 million scholarships worth a collective $30 billion.

Also, during National Scholarship Month, Sallie Mae is offering students the chance to win one of five $1,000 prizes when they sign up for Scholarship Search.

Reactions

“Our partnership with The Sallie Mae Fund means we can reach more students in need and those who may have thought higher education was out of reach. These scholarships can change the lives of students and ensure they have the opportunity to pursue higher education and build successful college career,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. 

“The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for High School Seniors means a lot to me now that I am in college. This scholarship has given me the opportunity to begin a new journey in life and to further achieve the goals I have set for myself,” noted scholarship recipient, Jahni Glover, who is currently a first-year student at North Carolina A&T University. 

For the official contest rules, click here.

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