Need money for college? Your union membership can help
By SHERRY HALBROOK
If your son or daughter will head off to college in 2019, be glad you are a PEF member. Some scholarships are restricted to PEF members and retirees and their families, and other scholarships and grants are only for union families.
January is the month students typically apply for student financial aid and your student should check with the schools where they apply for admission to find out when their financial aid forms must be submitted. You can find more information at www.hesc.ny.gov.
Scholarship and grant programs each have their own applications, eligibility requirements and deadlines for submission.
PEF awards 10 Joseph Scacalossi Scholarships to the children of PEF members every year. The legal wards of members and PEF retirees may also be eligible. The scholarships pay $1,000 annually for up to four years. These are competitive, merit-based scholarships, and winners are selected by the PEF Scholarship Committee. Applicants should be high school seniors or college freshmen. Preliminary applications are available through the PEF website at www.pef.org/about/scholarships. They must be completed and returned by March 15, 2019. When the preliminary application has been submitted and approved, PEF will send the applicant a final application form. It must be completed and returned before April 26.
Many PEF regions and divisions also offer scholarships to their members and families. Be sure to check with your region and division for information on whether scholarships are offered and how and when to apply.
One of the most popular scholarship programs is offered by Union Plus. Although it is sponsored by the Union Plus credit card, you don’t have to be a Union Plus cardholder to be eligible. The program is offered to union members, their spouses and dependent children. The program awarded a combined total of $150,000 in Union Plus Scholarships to 115 recipients in 2018. Since 1991, it has awarded more than $4.3M to 2,900 union families.
Scholarship amounts range from $500 to $4,000. Currently, these one-time cash awards are for study beginning in the fall of 2019. Students may re-apply each year.
Union Plus Scholarships are competitive. Applicants are evaluated on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. For more information about Union Plus Scholarships go online to https://www.unionplus.org/benefits/money/union-plus-scholarships.
The 2019 Union Plus Scholarship Application is now available. The deadline to complete the 2019 application is January 31. Just go online to www.unionplus.org/scholarship, create an account and start an application. Eligibility is through PEF’s international union affiliates. PEF is Local 4053 of both the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).