Scholarships Offer Survivors Chance to Become Scholars

These sources of educational assistance can assist survivors of 9/11 and other tragedies.


Updated: 9/10/2012

As we approach the 11th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks that shocked the world on a sunny morning in 2001, we remember all who died that day and in the days that followed. And we also remember the family members who were left with only the memories of their loved ones, and the victims who sustained injuries and survived.

In honor of the thousands of people whose lives were changed so dramatically 11 years ago, we've compiled a list of scholarships for those affected by tragedies, including 9/11—because we believe that a tragic life event should not keep you from attaining your dreams. 

[Read more from The Scholarship Coach.]

We've featured this scholarship before, but if you are a dependent of someone who was killed or permanently disabled as a result of the 9/11 attacks, Scholarship America's Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is the first place you should turn to for help with paying for college.

Created along with Lumina Foundation, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund provides eligible families with education assistance through the year 2030. Visit the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund website to learn more and to meet a few of the more than 1,900 students who have received funds so far.

Similar to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, the Twin Towers Orphan Fund provides educational and welfare assistance to children who lost one or both parents during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011.

The mission of the organization is to provide long-term higher educational assistance and mental and physical healthcare assistance for children who lost parents during the attacks on the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, or onboard the four downed airliners, as well as to children of victims of future terrorist attacks.

The scholarships can be used for tuition assistance, room and board support, books and supplies at accredited two- and four-year colleges and universities and recognized trade schools.

[Learn about other scholarships for students who have lost a parent.]

In 2001, Barbara Kammerer Quayle, a teacher who was burned in an automobile accident nearly 25 years earlier, created the Phoenix Education Grant, the first national scholarship endowment for students who are burn survivors. Scholarships are based on academic ability, responses to four essay questions, reference letters, and financial need.

Students who receive the scholarship are also encouraged to pay it forward by helping other burn-injured students and contributing to the scholarship fund when they are established and able to do so. Though this year's deadline has passed, visit the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors website to learn how to apply next year.

In order to provide scholarship funds to young victims or victim survivors of violent crime, the Crime Victims United Charitable Foundation instituted the Catina Rose Memorial Scholarship, the only scholarship of its kind.

As its website states, the foundation believes that victims of crimes, who often struggle to put their lives back together and regain a sense of dignity, deserve to be encouraged and rewarded for beating the odds. The foundation does this by providing scholarships to survivors.

[See a list of colleges that claim to meet students' full need.]

According to the Campaign to End Child Homelessness, 1 in every 45 children goes to sleep without a home of his or her own each year. Homeless children face deep barriers to success at school, including deep poverty and high mobility, making attending and succeeding in school extremely challenging.

The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)'s LeTendre Education Fund provides assistance to students who have overcome the odds and not only graduated from high school, but also wish to pursue a college education.

A minimum of two $2,000 scholarships are awarded each year to students who are homeless or who have been homeless during their K-12 school attendance, and who have demonstrated average or higher-than-average achievement. This year's application is due on Sept. 10, 2012, so there's still time to apply.

Michelle Showalter joined Scholarship America in 2007 and is an alumna of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.