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LIFE Foundation Asks Public to Select Top Scholarship Recipient in Online Vote

June 14, (Washington, D.C.) ‘ With today‘s average cost of a four-year college education at a public institution hitting above $58,000, paying for college, even under the best of circumstances, can be a major financial challenge for most American families. Most young people count on their parents to help alleviate the burden of paying for college. But what about the young people whose moms or dads die before they reach college age? The financial outlook is often bleak, as evidenced by the nearly 1,000 submissions for the third annual LIFE Lessons College Scholarship program.

The nonprofit Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) sponsors the LIFE Lessons scholarship program annually to assist young people who are having difficulty realizing their goal of a college education due to the death of a parent. The program also helps LIFE raise public awareness of the need for life insurance and encourages parents to include life insurance in their college-funding plans.

Today, LIFE is asking the public to determine this year‘s top LIFE Lessons scholarship recipient. LIFE has already awarded $1,000 scholarships to three individuals in the video entry category. Between now and July 9, the public can visit LIFE‘s Web site at to watch the top three video entries and cast a vote for the person they think is most deserving of a $4,000 bonus scholarship.

The finalists in the video category are:

  • Zachary Cyran, Amherst, OH ‘ Zachary lost his dad at age 7 to a heart attack. His dad had life insurance but only enough to cover the funeral expenses, leaving Zachary and his mom with no money to cover remaining bills or college expenses.
  • Cassey Lagan, Washington Township, NJ ‘ Cassey‘s mom passed away when she was 13 and her father committed suicide when she was 17. Her parents did not have life insurance and Cassey was left without money for a college education.
  • Marshall Manning, Duluth, GA ‘ Marshall‘s mom passed away from cancer at the end of his freshman year in college, which resulted in his leaving school to move home and help his father financially.

‘We hope that many people will visit our Web site and listen to the important messages of these three very deserving young people,‘ said David F. Woods, CLU, ChFC, president of the LIFE Foundation. ‘Their stories illustrate how important life insurance can be in keeping a personal tragedy, like losing a parent at a young age, from having lifelong financial consequences for those left behind. We‘re honored to play a small role in helping these young people realize their dream of a college education, and we hope their stories help parents better understand how important life insurance can be in making a college education a reality for their children.‘

To be considered for the scholarship, students had between March 19 and April 20 to submit either a 500-word written essay or three-minute video that described the financial and emotional impact of losing their mom or dad at a young age.

In all, LIFE will award 25 scholarships totaling $25,000, including two $5,000 Grand Prizes for the most compelling video and written essay submissions. While online voting takes place to determine the top scholarship recipient in the video entry category, a judging panel organized by LIFE is evaluating the more than 900 essay entries that were received. All 25 scholarship winners will be announced later this summer to coincide with the start of this year‘s Life Insurance Awareness Month campaign in September.

For more information about the LIFE Lessons College Scholarship program, visit

About LIFE
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded 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

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