A college education delivers significant benefits but oftentimes at considerable expense. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost to attend a four-year institution is $35,331 per student per year including books, supplies and daily living expenses. That cost has more than doubled in the past 20 years and continues to increase by an estimated 6.8% every year.

Fortunately, there is assistance available. Scholarships through the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) are open to full-time promotional products industry employees and their dependent children. The deadline to apply is March 15.

Since its founding in 1989, PPEF has awarded $2,727,500 in college scholarships to 1,488 students. For the 2022-2023 school year, PPEF will be awarding 162 scholarships totaling $299,000. Thirty-two students will be receiving renewal payments for multi-year scholarships awarded previously and 130 new students will receive scholarships this year. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify.

For 2022-2023, PPEF has increased the number of need-based scholarships that will be awarded versus merit-based. Need scholarships will pay $2,250 and be determined by GPA, essay, resume and financial need scores. Merit scholarships will pay $1,250 and will be determined by GPA, essay and resume scores.

PPEF has eliminate the use of ACT/SAT scores from the evaluation process for a two-year trial period and will review the change going into the 2024 award year. Voted on by the PPEF Board of Trustees at its meeting during The PPAI Expo, PPEF chose to stop using ACT/SAT scores as many colleges and universities are not requiring the standardized tests for admissions. This movement started before COVID-19, but the number of schools not requiring them has skyrocketed since the pandemic as it was difficult for students to take the exams as testing centers were closed. According to Fair Test, The Center for Fair and Open Testing, the percentage of schools that do not require standardized tests rose from about 45% before the pandemic to nearly 80% of bachelor’s degree-granting colleges and universities now.

Applications for this year’s scholarships must be received by Tuesday, March 15 at 11:59 pm CT, and recipients will be announced in early June.

With the cost of a college education skyrocketing, let PPEF help defray that cost. See all the requirements and details at www.ppef.us.