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Use your benefits:
Apply for union scholarships for college

By KATE MOSTACCIO

It’s a well-known fact that college is expensive.

Nationally, about 65 percent of college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2018 had student loan debt, according to The Institute for College Access & Success annual report, and borrowers owed an average of $29,200, a 2 percent increase from the average of $28,650 in 2017.

That’s why PEF, along with some of its individual divisions and regions, offers scholarships to members and retirees, and their families, to help lighten the load.

Union members and their families can also apply for Union Plus scholarships.

PEF scholarships

The Joseph Scacalossi scholarship program is merit-based and open only to dependents of PEF members and PEF retirees. Applicants must be high school seniors or college freshmen.

Through the program, named after Scacalossi, a leader in organizing PEF and Division 245 at the state Labor Department in New York City, 10 students are awarded $1,000 annually for up to four years.

The preliminary application is due March 20, 2020. It can be accessed online here. Upon verification, a final application will be mailed to students, which is due back April 24, 2020.

Scholarships are sometimes offered by individual PEF regions and divisions. Contact your regional office or your council leader for information about divisional and/or regional scholarships and deadlines for applying.

Click here for PEF regional office contact information.

Union Plus

If you participating in any Union Plus program, you’re eligible to apply for a Union Plus scholarship.

PEF families are eligible through PEF’s parent unions, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). PEF is Local 4053 of both AFT and SEIU.

Union members, their spouses and dependent children can participate and must be accepted into an accredited college or university, community college, or recognized technical or trade school at the time the award is issued.

Since 1991, the Union Plus Scholarship Program has awarded more than $4.5 million to students from working families.

Offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation, these competitive scholarships look at applicants’ academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor, according to the website. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended and required essays can account for up to half of a student’s total score.

Applications are due by January 31, 2020.

Awards range from $500 to $4,000 for study beginning in the fall of 2020. They are one-time cash awards and students may reapply each year.

Winners will be notified by mail around May 31. See a list of last year’s winners here.


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