The Public Education Foundation (PEF) is proud to announce that it has awarded $5,042,639 million in scholarships to help 734 high school seniors and current college students pursue their dreams of continuing their education.

“Thanks to the inspiring support of companies, organizations, and individuals, more than 700 students are on the path to a brighter future,” said Rich Broome, CEO of the Public Education Foundation. “Awarding $5 million in scholarships is an incredible milestone for our organization and our community, but most importantly, it is life-changing for many of our recipients.”

Since the Scholarships Plus program was founded in 1995, PEF has awarded nearly $27 million to approximately 8,000 students. As the effects of the pandemic continue to impact students and families, these funds are more important than ever to ensure students can start on the path to future success without adding financial stress.

“Receiving this scholarship has not only given me the opportunity to take control of my college experience, but it has also given my family hope for a bright future, without financial concerns,” said Runzhi Hu, a scholarship recipient and recent graduate from Rancho High School. “With my education and career, I will be giving back to the community that helped me grow to who I am today.”

The record-breaking $5 million total marks a 64% increase in scholarship funds awarded over the previous year. Many donors increased their giving or the number of scholarships they sponsored, with major support from donors like MGM Resorts International, Penn National Gaming, Inc., the Charles and Phyllis M. Frias Charitable Trust, The Picerne Family Charitable Foundation, the Epicurean Charitable Foundation and Assistance League® of Las Vegas. Overall, 951 scholarships were awarded in this cycle to support students attending college or vocational school.

“Through our partnership with the Public Education Foundation, Penn National Gaming is able to commit over $1 million in scholarships annually to students across the nation,” said Justin Carter, Senior Vice President of Regional Operations at Penn National Gaming. “Many applicants want to be the change they want to see in the world, and we’re proud to play a role in making those dreams happen.”

For more information about the Scholarships Plus program, please visit