Attention High School Students: Only One Month Left to Enter Sallie Mae’s ‘Make College Happen Challenge’

Describe Creatively How You Plan to Pay for College by Dec. 31 for a Chance to Win Your Share of $40,000

Monday, December 5, 2016 11:57 am EST



Public Company Information:

"We are proud to work with Sallie Mae on this exciting annual event"

NEWARK, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sallie Mae — the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company — is asking high school students how they plan to pay for college, and the students with the most creative responses could win part of $40,000 the company is awarding in its second annual “Make College Happen Challenge,” the contest that rewards students for planning deliberately and thinking creatively.

Students who want to participate in the Challenge are welcome to use videos, photos, essays, songs, poems, or other creative formats to describe their paying-for-college plans. No form of creative expression is off limits, but the challenge closes on Dec. 31, so now is the time to finalize and submit entries.

“The research is clear: students who create a plan to pay for college borrow less than those who don’t,” said Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. “This contest challenges students to explore their paying-for-college options and have some fun in the process. Last year’s entries ranged from rap songs to graphic novels, and we can’t wait to see what the creative minds out there come up with this year.”

Ready to accept the challenge? Here’s what you need to know.

  • Prizes. A total of $40,000 will be awarded in 10 prizes: a first-place prize of $15,000, a second-place prize of $10,000, a third-place prize of $8,000, and seven semifinalist prizes of $1,000 each.
  • Eligibility. U.S. high school students between the ages of 14 and 18 are eligible to enter.
  • How to enter. Register at
  • Deadline. All entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. (EST) on Dec. 31, 2016.
  • How winners will be chosen. Entries will be judged on their creativity, how well the plan is explained, and the potential of the plan. Judges will select 10 semifinalists at the end of January 2017. The 10 semifinalists’ entries will be posted online at in February 2017, and members of the public will have one week to vote for their favorites. A combination of the online voting results and the judges’ scores will determine the first-, second-, and third-place winners, who will be announced in March 2017.
  • Looking for inspiration? Watch the video of last year’s winners and their entries.

Sallie Mae conducts the “Make College Happen Challenge” in partnership with By Kids For Kids, a leader in education that inspires innovation in youth.

“We are proud to work with Sallie Mae on this exciting annual event,” said Norman Goldstein, CEO and founder, By Kids For Kids. “Motivating young people to make the dream of higher education a reality is an integral part of the By Kids For Kids mission.”

Sallie Mae offers a number of free planning-for-college tools, including the College Planning Calculator and Scholarship Search by Sallie Mae. The company recommends students and families follow its 1-2-3 approach to paying for college: first, maximize money that does not need to be repaid, such as scholarships and grants; second, explore federal student loans; and, third, consider a responsible private education loan.

The “Make College Happen Challenge” is free to enter. Only one entry per person is permitted. For more information, visit Find complete contest rules at No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

About By Kids For Kids

By Kids For Kids (BKFK) is an agency that empowers youth invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship. BKFK provides a unique platform for kids and teens to develop and showcase their ideas, inventions, and entrepreneurship. The company provides free educational resources, including curricula and challenges that promote social change, product innovation, and entrepreneurial endeavors. Learn more:

About Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) is the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance, including private education loans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search, college financial planning tools, and online retail banking. Learn more at Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


Sallie Mae
Rick Castellano
By Kids For Kids
Judy Klym