The Public Education Foundation (PEF) is proud to announce that it has awarded $3,066,250 in college scholarships in its most successful year to date. Through PEF’s Scholarships PLUS program and its generous donors, 822 scholarships were awarded to 621 students pursuing college or vocational school.

“Awarding $3 million in scholarships is an incredible milestone for our students and our community,” shared Rich Broome, CEO of the Public Education Foundation. “While our students faced many difficulties over the past year, they are still working to achieve their dreams of attending college or vocational school and preparing for future success. We especially appreciate our donors who made this record-breaking year possible, despite the financial challenges experienced throughout our community during the pandemic.”

As a clearinghouse for scholarships, PEF’s Scholarships PLUS has awarded over 9,400 scholarships totaling nearly $22 million since the program was founded in 1995. The program has grown consistently over the past eight years, from $768,000 in scholarships awarded in 2014 to more than $3 million awarded this year. Students who receive scholarships largely reflect the diversity of the students PEF serves, including 53% first generation college students in 2021 compared to 34% nationally.

For many students, these scholarships provided the financial support needed to attend college, especially since many of their families were economically impacted by the pandemic. PEF received over 18,000 scholarship applications, a 45% increase from the previous year, as students and families explored new ways to pay for college.

“Both of my parents were laid off from their jobs and have been relying on unemployment ever since,” said University of Nevada, Las Vegas student Yared Gebremichael. “This scholarship will give me the opportunity to pay for another year at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.”

PEF works with individual and corporate donors to support more than 300 scholarship programs that help students pursue their dreams. Major donors include Penn National Gaming, Cox, and NV Energy. Scholarships are available for almost any student, from high school seniors seeking post-secondary education to current college students needing continued assistance to pursue their degree.

“I am grateful beyond words for this investment in my future,” shared Genea-Louise Austria, a graduating senior at Desert Oasis High School. “Thank you for fueling my dream of becoming a doctor, and most importantly, thank you so much for believing in me.”