College can be the best time of your life. But paying for college isn’t easy. In fact, the cost of college can make some students afraid to even try. That’s why we created the CollegeCounts Scholarship: to provide funding assistance to Alabama high school students who demonstrate a financial need and a genuine desire to make a difference in what’s next. If you’re thinking about enrolling at an Alabama college or university, don’t let funds get in the way. The CollegeCounts Scholarship might just be for you!



Applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for this scholarship:

  • Be a high school senior or first-time college freshman beginning in fall 2016
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be an Alabama resident
  • Planning to enroll in an Alabama eligible educational institution in fall 2016
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Have an ACT score of 26 or below
    (applicants attending a two-year school will not be required to submit ACT scores)


January 4, 2016 – 12:01 AM CST
April 22, 2016 – 11:59 PM CST
. . . . . . . . . .


What are the details of the award?

• Award amounts will be $4,000 for four-year college enrollees, paid $2,000 in fall semester and $2,000 in spring semester; or $2,000 for two-year college enrollees, paid $1,000 in fall semester and $1,000 in spring semester.
• Scholarships will be determined through an application process.
• The award is a one-time, non-renewable award that will be granted on a semester basis in recipient’s freshman year.
• Institutions must be accredited, nonprofit two or four-year colleges/universities in Alabama.
• Scholarships are “first dollar” and will be applied to tuition, fees and books required for course load.

What is the application deadline?

The online application opens at 12:01 AM CST on January 4, 2016 and will close at 11:59 PM CST on April 22, 2016. Mark your calendar!

How do I know if my application is complete?

While going through the application process, you will create your own account that will allow you to monitor the status of your application through completion.

What are my responsibilities if I am chosen as a recipient?

• You must enroll as a full-time undergraduate in the fall of the year in which the scholarships are awarded.
• You must continue in school the entire academic year without interruption to receive the full award, unless approved by scholarship sponsor.
• All students receiving a scholarship from the program must utilize their scholarship during the first and second semester in the same academic year from the date their scholarship is awarded.

How and when will I receive notification?

• Winner and non-winner notifications are sent by email about two months after the deadline.
• Check your junk mail folder. Sometimes the notification ends up in there.

How and when are awards issued?

• Payment of awards will be mailed to your accepted institution after the drop/add period of each semester once the institution invoices CollegeCounts.
• Payments will be made payable to the institution only and issued in the fall and spring of your freshman year.

How are scholarship recipients determined?

The CollegeCounts Board of Directors has established a selection process based upon criteria that can be objectively measured, which includes, in priority order, financial need, ACT score (for four-year school applicants), high school GPA, work/activities, service and honors/awards.

Am I required to have a CollegeCounts 529 savings account to apply for this scholarship?

No, you are not.

I am a home-schooled student. Can I apply?

You sure can.

Who is the sponsor of the CollegeCounts Scholarship Program?

The CollegeCounts Board of Directors is the sponsor of the CollegeCounts Scholarship Program, and the Alabama State Treasurer is delegated the administrative responsibilities of the program. CollegeCounts is the marketing name for the Alabama College Education Savings Program created by Alabama law (Code of Alabama, as amended, §16-33C-10, et.al.). All promotional and marketing materials for the CollegeCounts Scholarship Program will utilize the name CollegeCounts in describing the savings program, the scholarship program, and the board.

What is the source of the scholarship money?

There are two primary funding sources for Alabama’s CollegeCounts 529 Scholarship Program.

Administrative Fees
“CollegeCounts 529 Fund” is the marketing name for what is actually known as the ACES Trust Fund under Alabama law. The ACES Trust Fund is part of the ACES Program, which was established as a college savings alternative that allows contributors to open savings accounts to pay for a beneficiary’s qualified educational expenses at an eligible institution of higher education. These savings accounts can be sold directly to individuals or sold to individuals by financial advisors. The ACES Trust Fund receives a 0.10% administrative fee each year from the assets held in the advisor-sold program.

AHELC Surplus Funds
The Alabama Higher Education Loan Corporation (AHELC) was established to provide student loans to Alabamians. After a long period of inactivity, AHELC was revived, only to see its business model abolished by the U.S. Congress. As a result, the AHELC board of directors chose to cease operations, dissolve the nonprofit corporation, and grant the existing surplus to help fund Alabama’s CollegeCounts Scholarship Program. This decision was made in accordance with AHELC’s founding purpose of funding higher education student aid.