Application Window Now Open for The Sallie Mae Fund’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for Graduate Students

The Sallie Mae Fund, in Partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund, to Provide up to $100,000 in Scholarships to Grad Students Advancing Social Justice

NEWARK, Del.--()--The Sallie Mae Fund, the charitable arm of Sallie Mae, today announced it will again offer $100,000 in scholarships to students pursuing graduate degrees as part of the Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students. In partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students helps minority students and those from historically underserved communities attend graduate school.

The application window for The Sallie Mae Fund’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students opens today and will remain open until 11:59 a.m. ET on October 1, 2022. Ten current graduate students will be selected to receive a scholarship up to $10,000 for academic year 2022-2023. Successful applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program at an accredited post-secondary institution during the 2022-2023 school year, have a cumulative grade point average at or above 3.0, and must be able to demonstrate leadership abilities.

The Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for Graduate Students will help students – particularly those from underserved and marginalized communities – create a better world through higher education,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “The Sallie Mae Fund understands how higher education can advance a more just society and we’re proud to continue this important partnership.”

Last year, The Sallie Mae Fund awarded $100,000 in Bridging the Dream Grad scholarships to ten outstanding graduate students nationwide. In total, The Fund will award 30 scholarships totaling up to $300,000 through academic year 2023-2024.

The following students received Bridging the Dream for Graduate Students scholarships in academic year 2021-2022:

Gabrielle Agnew

University of Texas

Southwestern Medical Center


Abyssinia Makeda Lissanu

Yale Law School



Vanessa Agudelo

Harvard Law



Whitley Parker

Southern University Law Center



Jennifer Louisa Carner

Christian Theological Seminary



Shelby Polce

Delaware State University



Sheena Davis

Jackson State University



Nayjuana Stephens

Cairn University



Cheyenne Nicole Hutchinson

SUNY Potsdam



Cameron Vilain

Salem State University


I am eternally grateful to Sallie Mae and Thurgood Marshall College Fund for helping to finance my journey to becoming a licensed clinical psychologist,” said Gabrielle Agnew, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at UT Southwestern Medical Center who received a Bridging the Dream scholarship last year. “With my degree, I will strive to reduce mental health stigma by providing important mental health services to underserved populations in various integrated medical settings. I will also work to increase healthcare provider proficiency in collaborating with autistic individuals to achieve optimal outcomes, as well as training the next generation of psychologists and other healthcare providers.”

As a first-generation and low-income student, I would not be able to pursue a legal education without the generosity of others,” said Vanessa Agudelo, a J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School who received a Bridging the Dream scholarship last year. “For students like me, getting accepted into the law school of your dreams is not enough. This scholarship has provided me with the financial resources to allow me to pursue my dream of becoming an education lawyer and increasing educational opportunities for vulnerable communities.”

Higher education creates countless opportunities for those able to access it – but obstacles have long stood in the way for minority students, first-generation students, and those from underserved communities,” said Nicolas Jafarieh, executive vice president, Sallie Mae. “The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students ensures more students, of all backgrounds, have the ability to attend graduate school, get an advanced degree, and create positive change.”

The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students is part of a $3 million commitment made by The Sallie Mae Fund to open doors for students from all backgrounds pursuing higher education, including undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as career training and professional certificate programs.

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Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) believes education and life-long learning, in all forms, help people achieve great things. As the leader in private student lending, we provide financing and know-how to support access to college and offer products and resources to help customers make new goals and experiences, beyond college, happen. Learn more at Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


Jonathan Starkey


Jonathan Starkey