Wednesday, September 07, 2005

USA Funds Steps Up With Disaster Relief

INDIANAPOLIS - USA Funds, the nation's leading education-loan guarantor, which also operates in Nevada, announced a commitment of $1 million to provide financial assistance to college students in sections of four states affected by recent hurricanes. USA Funds' financial support will provide assistance to low-income students attending schools in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi counties designated as federal disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following hurricanes Dennis and Katrina.

Awards of up to $35,000 may be made to eligible postsecondary institutions that apply. Financial-aid offices at institutions awarded grants will distribute the funds to eligible students affected by the disaster to supplement the students' financial-aid packages.

Assistance of up to $750 may be given to each eligible low-income student who already receives Pell Grants or other need-based aid. The assistance may be used for immediate education-related needs or for second-term education expenses -- tuition, fees, books, room and board or other education-related expenses.

"USA Funds recognizes that low-income students are especially vulnerable to dropping out of school in the wake of such disasters, so we are providing this support to help these students stay in school and complete their studies," said Carl C. Dalstrom, USA Funds president and CEO. "This program is consistent with our nonprofit mission to support preparation for, access to and success in higher education."

For additional information about the program and to apply for a grant, campus financial-aid administrators should visit http://www.disasterrelief.scholarshipamerica.org/ .

Dalstrom noted that this marks the second year that USA Funds has supported disaster relief for college students. A grant from USA Funds provided $545,000 in emergency aid to students attending 41 postsecondary institutions in areas of five states -- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi -- ravaged by four major hurricanes during 2004.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that works to enhance postsecondary-education preparedness, access and success by providing and supporting financial and other valued services. USA Funds annually guarantees education loans totaling $16.5 billion for students and parents throughout the nation and serves as the designated guarantor of federal education loans for eight states: Arizona, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada and Wyoming.

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