Families for Freedom Scholarship Fund

Website: Familes of Freedom


“The purpose of the Fund is 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.”
–From the Fund Declaration


Eligibility requirements:

  • 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.

Other conditions of note:

  • 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.
  • 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 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. Funds are available for undergraduate study.
  • Families of Freedom Scholarships are not provided to repay past student loans.
  • 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.
Student Type
  • freshman
  • sophomore
  • junior
  • senior
Citizen Type

Applications are available online at: http://www.familiesoffreedom.org/apply/ . Students must register first.


Established within one week of the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund® is unprecedented in its scope. It will ultimately provide more than $100 million in postsecondary education assistance to an entire generation of financially needy dependents of those killed or permanently disabled in the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. The Fund has already provided millions of dollars in scholarship support, and will continue to provide education assistance through the year 2030.

The Lumina Foundation, a private foundation that strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access to an education beyond high school, established the Fund with the foresight that the loss of a family provider to death or injury on 9/11 would put the educational futures of thousands of present and future students in jeopardy. The Lumina Foundation pledged the initial $3 million to create the Fund: $1 million went directly to the Fund and $2 million to a dollar-for-dollar matching grant to encourage contributions from individuals. The $2 million matching grant was met on December 18, 2001.

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. More than 16,000 of those contributors were individuals.

The first Families of Freedom scholarships were awarded in January 2002. As of September 2015, the Fund and its subfunds had provided needed scholarships to 2,825 individuals, totaling $115.9 million; there are currently more than 3,800 individuals registered for Families of Freedom scholarships through 2030.

The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is managed by Scholarship America (known as the Citizens’ Scholarship Foundation of America until January 1, 2003), the nation’s premier nonprofit, private sector scholarship and educational support organization. Scholarship America has administered the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund at cost since the inception of the Fund. Scholarship America has distributed $3 billion to two million students across the country.

Contact Information

Please contact info@familiesoffreedom.org if you have questions.