PEF members and their dependents are eligible for numerous union-sponsored scholarships. Do not miss the opportunity to make education more affordable by applying for college scholarships.  Remember to meet application deadlines to qualify.

PEF Regions and Divisions – please send information concerning scholarships offered to your constituents to the PEF Education Department for posting to this web page by emailing

PEF Scholarships

PEF’s Joseph Scacalossi Scholarship has helped students since 1988, when it was founded as a tribute to a state Department of Labor member who helped form PEF and fought for the rights of his members in Manhattan.

Every year, 10 students are each awarded $1,000 annually for four years.

The student must be a child, stepchild or ward of an active, retired or deceased PEF member.

The scholarship is open to high school seniors and college freshmen.  Applications are due annually in March of each year. The 2023 deadline has passed. Check back in November for the 2024 application, which will be due in March 2024.

The Jean DeBow Women in PEF Scholarship was created to honor the memory of our former Vice-President, Jean DeBow. There will be one scholarship award of $1,000, given annually at the PEF Convention, for an Active Female PEF Member, who is pursuing an accredited Post Secondary education in any field.

Application details and instructions are available here.

DEADLINE:  Completed applications are due at PEF headquarters by May 1 of every year.

PEF Regional and Division Scholarships

Check with your PEF Council Leader or Regional Coordinator for information on local scholarships in your area. As they become available, we will post such scholarships here.

Other Union-based Scholarships

Our affiliation with AFT and SEIU enables members and dependents to be eligible for other union-based scholarship programs. Eligibility requirements, evaluation criteria, award amounts, application instructions and deadlines vary.

The Union Plus Scholarship Program awards scholarships ranging from $500 to $4,000. The scholarship program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation, and the selection process is very competitive as more than 5,000 applications are received each year. During the past 22 years, Union Plus has distributed more than $3.5 million in scholarships to working families. Applicants are evaluated on their academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. A grade point average of 3.0 or higher is recommended.

Current and retired members of participating unions such as PEF, along with spouses and dependent children are eligible to apply. Students must be enrolled in an accredited college or university, community college, or technical or trade school. Undergraduate and graduate students also are eligible.

Online applications are recommended and available at or, mail your name, all contact information, and your international union to Union Plus Education Foundation, c/o Union Privilege, PO Box 34800, Washington, DC 20043-4800.

Other Resources

New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is an excellent source for information on financial aid programs, forms and services available.  New York State students may be eligible for a variety of State grant, scholarship and award programs to help pay for college.  For information visit:

Check with the guidance office at your child’s school for information regarding local scholarships.