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History and Mission

About the Imagine America Foundation

The Imagine America Foundation (IAF), formerly the Career College Foundation, was established in 1982 as the research, scholarship and training provider for the nation's career colleges. We do more than offer scholarships for trade schools and career colleges. We work with high schools and career colleges to increase student retention. Most important, we constantly reflect on how we can improve our services and create resources that help students in all phases of their career path. The career college sector has gone through many changes over the course of our long history.

But one thing that will remain constant is our focus on career training. Job qualifications are at the heart of every learning outcome in our industry. We are successful because we work together with employers to understand their needs. When we apply the skills they are looking for to affordable, efficient programs, then students who want to get ahead actually have a chance.

As we continue to adapt to the workforce's ever-changing needs, our commitment to provide career college scholarships for adult learners, military veterans and high school students will not change.

IAF's mission is to:

  1. Establish scholarship award and grant programs.
  2. Demonstrate the value of specialized career education and improve public understanding of the role of career colleges and schools.
  3. Prepare reports and other up-to-date information on various aspects of career education for the use of schools, educators, researchers, government officials and the public.
  4. Conduct technical studies and surveys, either directly or by grant, dealing with the technical, legal, administrative and economic aspects of career education.
  5. Present instructional opportunities for career school staff training and development.
  6. Recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to the field of career education.

IAF sponsors these scholarships for career colleges and trade schools:

The Foundation, through its supporters, also sponsors the LDRSHIP Award, Adult Excellence Award and Imagine America Promise Award Programs. These extra awards were created to shine a light on highly motivated students and the successes they've achieved through career-focused training.

Career college and university students have received more than $130 million in scholarships and awards through the Imagine America Foundation! In addition to the Imagine America Scholarship and Award Programs, IAF also coordinates special award programs such as the Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors achievements of career educators in the postsecondary sector.

Supporting education research and public awareness

IAF sponsors research that elevates the public’s understanding of the vital role of career colleges and their students nationwide. Through financial support from the 21st Century Workforce Fund, the Imagine America Foundation has initiated research in the form of our annual "FactBook: A Profile of Career Colleges and Universities."

Thank you for reviewing this information about our mission to help students improve their lives through our career college and trade school scholarships. If you're a student or parent, take a moment to review the Road Maps to Success that can be found using the tabs at the top of this page. High school counselors and college advisers can also find quick resources to work with us at the top of this page.

If you're a student who's still deciding if it's the right time to enroll in a career training program, we're here for you. We work with more than 400 career college partners across the United States. They currently help students pursue jobs in a wide variety of fields:

  • Health care and medical
  • Mechanical sciences (automotive, aviation, electrical, etc.)
  • Welding
  • Business and arts
  • Renewable energy
  • And more!

Now that you know more about the Imagine America Foundation, we encourage you to become a member and submit your application for one of our career college scholarships today. It could be one of the best decisions you'll ever make!

Apply for scholarships using our mobile app!

The IAF app delivers tools and resources perfect for students of all ages — as well as high school counselors, career college administrators, and college and university administrators. Matching your school with scholarship opportunities, applying to your school and even checking your application status have never been easier.