How Sallie Mae Is Helping Make College More Affordable and Accessible for All
The benefit and value of a higher education has never been greater, but the reality is not all students have the same opportunities. About 78% of high school students from the highest economic class enrolled in college, compared to 28% of their low-income peers. And minority students finish their degree programs at significantly lower rates than white students.
Sallie Mae® believes all students who desire to achieve a higher education deserve the support they need to make it happen. Higher education is a great equalizer, but only when students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to access and complete it.
Advancing diversity in higher education
Sallie Mae launched a variety of initiatives to help drive equity in higher education, including a partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide minority students scholarships to not only access and begin their education journey, but also complete it. Over the course of the next three years, $3 million in scholarships will be awarded to students through The Sallie Mae Fund’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program:
Specifically in 2021:
- The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for High School Seniors will provide $250,000 in scholarships to help make the dream of higher education a reality for minority students who are finishing high school.
- The Completing the Dream Scholarship will award $650,000 in scholarships to minority students and those from underserved communities who are on track to graduate but are at-risk of not completing due to financial emergencies or unpaid school bills.
- The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students will provide $100,000 in scholarships to students from minority and disadvantaged communities who are looking to use their degrees to advance social justice.
Addressing unmet needs
In addition to scholarships, Sallie Mae is distributing $1.5 million — $500,000 a year — to nonprofit partners who remove obstacles to higher education for minorities and underserved communities.
In 2020, Sallie Mae supported:
- The Point Foundation, which helps LGBTQ students access and complete college, and offers services that counter bullying, promote confidence, and build experience through internship programs.
- Colin Kaepernick Camp, which promotes leadership and empowerment for social change in Black and brown communities.
- National Urban League, which is working to understand how the digital divide is a barrier to Black and brown students’ ability to access and complete college.
- Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, which supports campuses with high Hispanic enrollment.
Providing tools to students and families
Sallie Mae aims to help students and families access, afford, and complete college, and we provide a series of free online tools make that possible.
Sallie Mae’s scholarship search features 6 million unique scholarships worth up to $30 billion. Last year, 24,000 students received a scholarship using the search tool, covering more than $67 million in college costs.
Sallie Mae also offers a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) tool to make applying for federal aid easier and faster for students. Our college planning calculator can also help students and families get ahead on saving and paying for college.
In the coming weeks, Sallie Mae will launch a new series of free products to help students research colleges, understand graduation rates and average salaries for their desired career path, and compare average financial aid packages.
Much more work is needed to close achievement gaps and increase access to, and completion of, higher education. College should be affordable and accessible for all students, and Sallie Mae is dedicated to finding and implementing solutions.
FAFSA is a registered service mark of U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid