Posted Dec. 5, 2007 – BET and Sallie Mae join forces to help Black students. BET Networks and the Sallie Mae Fund have hooked up on two projects designed to spark awareness among Black students about scholarships and other college-funding opportunities.
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"On average, college graduates earn $1 million more than high school graduates in the course of a lifetime," said Debra Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks. "Increased awareness is the key to helping more African Americans realize their dream of going to college and, in turn, access that greater earning power."
On Monday, the Washington, D.C.-based network launched a special program to promote college scholarship awareness among its 87 million viewers and Web users. The "Next Level" scholarship competition will award $25,000 in Sallie Mae Fund scholarships to deserving students. Applications for the awards will be accepted on BET's Web site from now through Dec. 21. Winners will be announced in February.
For more information about the "Next Level" scholarship competition, visit www.BET.com/nextlevelscholar. In addition, a new directory will provide African-American students and their families with easier access to hundreds of college scholarships and millions in scholarship dollars.
Sponsored by The Sallie Mae Fund and BET (and produced by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education), Black College Dollars," available at www.Blackcollegedollars.org, offers a free, comprehensive listing of more than 300 scholarships designed for African-American students.
"Education is the key to alleviating poverty and to getting good competitive jobs, and educating families about the resources available for college is critical," said Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.), a former teacher and now a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor. "The Sallie Mae Fund and BET Networks are helping by providing this listing of the millions of dollars in scholarships available to young Black scholars. This is the kind of resource that can really help families make the investment in higher education."
U.S. Department of Education figures show that White Americans are nearly twice as likely as Black Americans to have earned a bachelor's degree by the age of 29. If current trends continue, of every 100 African-American kindergarteners today, only 18 will achieve a bachelor's degree by age 29, compared with 34 out of 100 White students who will.
"Our research has consistently found that one of the largest barriers keeping African-American students from reaching higher education is that they do not have access to information about how to pay for college," said Kathleen de Laski, president of The Sallie Mae Fund. "Through this directory, scholarships from The Sallie Mae Fund, financial aid workshops, and other offerings, we are helping to change the status quo for future students."