Upromise doubles 2009 scholarship fund to help students attain a college education

At a time when an unprecedented number of Americans are struggling to save and pay for the ever-rising cost of college tuition, Upromise, a Sallie Mae company, is doubling financial support for its annual scholarship program. This year, the Upromise Scholarship will award a total of $500,000 in college aid to 200 students. Based on merit and need, the Upromise Scholarship was created to help Upromise members pursue a college education and is made possible by many of America’s leading brands, including lead sponsors, Bank of America and Bed Bath & Beyondr, and support from Canon U.S.A., Inc.’s eStore.com, Kaplan, Rewards Network SM and Sallie Mae.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the cost of college has more than doubled since 1990, with the average tuition, room and board at a four-year private college or university costing roughly $38,400 per academic year. With today’s economic challenges and more than 18.4 million students expected to attend the nation’s colleges and universities this fall, American demand for financial scholarships will be considerable.

“In these difficult economic times, Americans need all the help they can get to save and pay for college.” said David Rochon, president, Upromise. “This year, through the generosity of Upromise partners, we are delighted to double the Upromise Scholarship Fund and support twice as many students in their higher education dreams.”

“As Upromise members, my parents have received money for college tuition when they shop for groceries, clothing and even when they fill up on gas,” said Krista Grill, a senior at Baldwin Wallace College and recipient of the 2008 Upromise Scholarship. “Those savings combined with winning the scholarship made a big difference in helping my family and I pay for college this past year.”

To apply for this year’s Upromise Scholarship, students can visit upromise.com/scholarship and apply online by Feb. 28. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

– Be a Upromise member or child of a Upromise member (joining is free at www.upromise.com)

– Have a household income of $65,000 or less

– Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent)

– Be a high school senior or graduate who plans to enroll during the 2009-2010 academic year, or a student already enrolled in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two-year or four-year college or university or vocational-technical school

– Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident residing in one of the 50 U.S states or Washington, D.C.

Complete eligibility guidelines can be found at upromise.com/scholarship.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Education is currently accepting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov, which is crucial for students to complete to be eligible for federal financial aid for college.

About Upromise launched in April 2001, today Upromise is the largest private source of college funding contributions in America, with more than 9.5 million members and more than $450 million in member rewards. Membership is free and can help families save money for college while making everyday purchases of products and services at more than 22,000 grocery and drug stores, 14,000 gas stations, 8,000 restaurants, as well as thousands of retail stores, and more than 600 online shopping sites. Upromise partners include Bank of America, ExxonMobil Corporation, Bed Bath & Beyondr, McDonald’sr, JCPenney.com, LandsEnd.com, Sears.com, and hundreds of others.

Upromise also makes it easy for families to start their own college savings strategy through tax-advantaged 529 college savings plans offered through Upromise Investments, Inc. or by using Upromise contributions to help pay down eligible student loans. Upromise is a wholly owned subsidiary of SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM), commonly known as Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading provider of saving-and-paying-for-college programs. For additional information, visit upromise.com.