Photo provided under a Flickr/Creative Commons agreement by velkr0.
        Scholarships from Union Plus help union families offset the ever-rising cost of a post-secondary education.

IBEW members who are looking for some help paying for college — for themselves or for someone in their immediate families — have until noon Eastern Time on Jan. 31 to apply for the scholarships available through Union Plus.

“Last year, 11 children of IBEW members received cash awards through this unique program,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “As the cost of a college education continues to skyrocket year after year, every little bit helps.”

In 1986, the AFL-CIO created Union Plus, a non-profit organization operated by the federation’s Union Privilege department, to coordinate and administer a number of benefit programs geared exclusively toward union members and their families.

Five years later, Union Plus’s scholarship fund began granting money to college students from union families. Since then, more than $4.5 million in Union Plus scholarships has been handed out to over 3,000 students from union families.

These non-recurring cash grants, ranging from $500 to $4,000, are available for current and retired union members, their spouses and their dependent children who either attend or plan to attend a college, university, community college or technical/trade school in the U.S. (Current members must have at least one year of continuous union membership by May 31 to qualify.)

Each year, the highly competitive selection process evaluates thousands of applications from students representing a wide variety of union affiliations and backgrounds. A committee of educators evaluates the applicants on such factors as their appreciation of unions and their financial need.

The committee will determine this year’s scholarship recipients by May 31 and notify winners shortly afterward, well before the fall term begins. Students may re-apply for the scholarships each year.

The Union Plus scholarship program is offered through the organization’s education foundation. The foundation is supported in part by contributions from the provider of the Union Plus Credit Card, but applicants need not be card holders to apply for scholarships.

Details about the scholarships and other Union Plus benefits, as well as a link to the online application, can be found at