The initial fundraising goal of $100 million was intended to cover about 65% of the estimated financial need for all eligible students through 2030. However, due to greater-than-expected generosity, good investment returns and other factors, the Fund is currently covering almost all need. The percentage awarded may fluctuate depending on the actual number of eligible individuals registered, cost of higher education, investment earnings, and the amount of funds available over time, but our goal remains to cover as much need as possible and to award 100% of the funds raised by 2030.
To ensure that this happens, Scholarship America checks our estimates through the Stanton Group, an independent actuarial firm, every year. By annually calculating and estimating family needs, student ages, educational costs and eligible recipients—both registered and unregistered—we can maximize aid at any given time while also ensuring that the entire Fund reaches financially needy students by the end of 2030.
It is, in part, because of our updated estimates that the Fund's donors permitted us to distribute $1,000 annual honoraria to eligible students who did not demonstrate financial need.Looking Ahead
The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is available for victims' dependents, including children born after September 11, 2001, who enroll in college by age 24. As seen in the chart below, this means many students will not reach college age for some time—two-thirds of registered students are currently 15 and under.
Because of this "bubble"—from 2009 to 2020, nearly 400 students per year will be receiving aid, and between 2018 and 2022, we anticipate need to reach nearly $80 million—it is crucial to accurately calculate our assessments so as to serve those students just now starting elementary school. By reviewing our actuarial information each year, we can be both reactive and proactive: reactive to the immediate past and current conditions; and proactive in assuring sufficient resources will remain for the educational needs of all eligible students over the life of the fund.