“This scholarship program will help qualified Alabamians who may find it difficult to get other types of scholarship assistance,” said Treasurer Boozer. “Not every student makes a 30 or higher on their ACT, or has parents who can afford to write a check for tuition. But there are thousands of bright young minds in our state who work hard and deserve help achieving their dream of a college degree.”
Treasurer Boozer and other members of the CollegeCounts Board announced the scholarship program today at Wetumpka High School. The program is designed to offer financial assistance to Alabama students who plan to enroll in Alabama colleges and universities. It will provide one-time awards of $4,000 to qualified recipients enrolling in four-year schools and $2,000 to those enrolling in two-year schools. Eligible students may apply online beginning January 2 at www.collegecountsalabama.com.
Applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for this scholarship:
Be a high school senior or first-time college freshman
Be a U.S. citizen
Be an Alabama resident
Be enrolled or planning to enroll in an Alabama eligible educational institution
Demonstrate financial need
Have a minimum GPA of 2.75
Have an ACT score of 26 or below (applicants attending a two-year school will not be required to submit ACT scores)
Scholarships will be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment.
Payments will be made directly to the institution and will be issued in the fall and spring.
The application opens on January 2, 2013, and closes March 7, 2013.
There are two primary funding sources for the Scholarship Program: administrative fees from the CollegeCounts 529 Fund and surplus funds from the Alabama Higher Education Loan Corporation (AHELC).
Administrative fees explained: “CollegeCounts 529 Fund” is the marketing name for what is actually known as the ACES Trust Fund under Alabama law. The ACES Trust Fund is part of the ACES Program, which was established as a college savings alternative that allows contributors to open savings accounts to pay for a beneficiary’s qualified educational expenses at an eligible institution of higher education. These savings accounts can be sold directly to individuals or sold to individuals by financial advisors. The ACES Trust Fund receives a 0.10% administrative fee each year from the assets held in the advisor-sold program.
AHELC Surplus Funds explained: The Alabama Higher Education Loan Corporation (AHELC) was established to provide student loans to Alabamians. After a long period of inactivity, AHELC was revived, only to see its business model abolished by the U.S. Congress. As a result, the AHELC board of directors chose to cease operations, dissolve the nonprofit corporation, and grant the existing surplus to help fund Alabama’s CollegeCounts Scholarship Program. This decision was made in accordance with AHELC’s founding purpose of funding higher education student aid.
The CollegeCounts Board of Directors is the sponsor of the CollegeCounts Scholarship Program, and the Alabama State Treasurer’s Office is delegated the administrative responsibilities of the program. CollegeCounts is the marketing name for the Alabama College Education Savings Program created by Alabama law (Code of Alabama, as amended, §16-33C-10, et al). All promotional and marketing materials for the CollegeCounts Scholarship Program will utilize the name CollegeCounts in describing the savings program, the scholarship program and the Board.