ARLINGTON, Va., July 22 // -- Coming up with the money to pay for college is a challenge for most young people, but the task becomes even more daunting when a parent dies prematurely, especially if that person didn't have adequate life insurance coverage. With mom or dad no longer able to lend a hand, many young people often have no choice but to set aside or postpone their dream of a college education. Evidence of this problem is well documented in the thousands of submissions that the nonprofit LIFE Foundation receives each year through its LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program.
To be considered for a scholarship, young people are asked to describe, in a video or essay, the impact of losing a parent or guardian at a young age, especially how the loss affected their college-funding plans.
Beginning today, LIFE is asking for the public's assistance in selecting the 2009 Grand Prize Scholarship Recipient in the Video Entry category. By visiting www.lifehappens.org/vote, the public can view the videos of the three finalists and vote online for the student who they feel is most deserving of the top scholarship. The student who receives the most votes by August 20, 2009 will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Runners-up will receive $1,000 each.
The finalists in the video category are:
- Alexandrea Mckee, Woodinville, WA -- When she was just eight years old, Alexandrea lost her father in an auto accident. Thankfully, he had life insurance to cover his funeral expenses and ensure his wife and two children could remain in their home. His policy, however, wasn't sufficient to cover Alexandrea's college expenses. Alexandrea is determined to complete college, and is currently attending Azusa Pacific University.
- Jack Korslin, Brookfield, WI -- Jack recently graduated high school and was looking forward to attending a prestigious business school in the fall. While he was accepted to the program of his choice, he had to turn down the offer after his father died several months ago. His father was self employed and the only life insurance he owned was pledged to a bank through a business venture. As a result, Jack has had to give up his dream school in favor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a more affordable option closer to home.
- Nikki Lewis, Las Vegas, NV -- The loss of both parents within a year's time left Nikki and her sister emotionally and financially devastated. Because neither parent had life insurance, Nikki is solely responsible for paying for college and is relying heavily on scholarships to help fund her schooling. Nikki is entering her sophomore year at Arizona State University.
"Entries to the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program nearly doubled in the last year, an indication that far too many Americans are leaving their families at risk by not having adequate life insurance coverage," said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, LIFE's president and CEO. "We encourage people to visit the LIFE website to watch the stories of these deserving young people and cast their votes. Many Americans either have no life insurance or not enough, and we hope these compelling videos will motivate some of these individuals to take action. As the videos demonstrate, the risk of not taking action can be financially devastating."
This year, LIFE will award 45 scholarships ranging in value from $1,000 to $5,000. All 45 scholarship recipients, including the Grand Prize Video Entry winner, will be announced in September, in conjunction with Life Insurance Awareness Month.
For more information about the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program, visit http://www.lifehappens.org/lifelessons .
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded in 1994 in response to the public's growing need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. LIFE also seeks to remind people of the important role insurance professionals perform in helping families, businesses and individuals find the insurance products that best fit their needs. To learn more about these topics, please visit www.lifehappens.org.