How to Apply for a UNCF / Sallie Mae American Dream Scholarship

Sallie Mae has arranged for a specific racial heritage scholarship that is available each year in conjunction with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).  The scholarship is built in the same manner as a Pell Grant and it is executed in the same way as Pell grants are done.  Eligibility criteria is also set up to be done like a Pell grant. This means that the primary basis of this line of grants is financial need of the student applicant.  The specific racial heritage for eligibility in this scholarship is being African-American.  As is typical of Pell-styled grants this scholarship has a limited amount of money allocated to it each year and is available for applications for only a limited amount of time each year.  The application period typically begins mid spring each academic year and is available only for a few weeks.   The student must be an American citizen or a permanent resident to be eligible.  The student must also carry a 2.5 out of a 4.0 school grade average to be eligible.  The student must be enrolled in a two-year or four-year university or college, vocational school or technical school before applying.  The applicant’s school must be accredited for undergraduate curriculums.  The student may be entering or already taking classes and committed to the next year’s curriculum. This suggests that the student has already made a commitment to that college, university or school.   The scholarship is a non-renewable one.  This means that the student must apply again the following mid-spring to enter the competition for another opportunity to obtain one of the available scholarships.  Application for the scholarship is done online so the student must have access to a computer.  The application completion and submittal process requires that the student also submit an essay along with the application.  Those students who are chosen as finalists in that year’s selection process will then be contacted and asked to now provide current and prior school transcripts and various letters of recommendation to the scholarship selection board.  The amount of each of the scholarships ranges from a minimum value of $500 to a maximum value of $5,000 each.  Those students who become recipients of a scholarship award will receive a disbursement amount some time during the early part of the summer, several weeks before the start of that year’s fall semester period.  This will allow the student plenty of time to determine where to apply the monies received.  The full disbursement amount is given to the school, college, or university to which the student committed.  That money is then applied directly to the student’s financial aid account that the school will have for that student.  Again, this is the manner in which grants and specifically Pell-styled grants manage and disburse awarded grants to the student involved.


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