NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A private fund has awarded $80 million in college scholarships to children, spouses and domestic partners of Sept. 11 victims since the attacks 11 years ago.

Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund announced Monday that it has distributed $80,200,763 to 2,117 students.

The figure includes $12.7 million in needs-based scholarships for the current academic year.

“So many of these people tragically lost loved ones but they lost the income that was associated with that very important individual in their lives,” Executive Director Rhianna Quinn Roddy said. “So these scholarships are very meaningful.”

Tim Miller, a recipient of the fund, said it allowed him to complete his undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University and is now helping him to become a podiatrist.

Miller’s late father was a Port Authority police officer who suffered from cancer after working on the rescue effort at ground zero.

“Not only did I lose my role model, but the loss of his support of our family forced me to contemplate changing my life plans,” Miller said. “I cannot express how much the Fund has changed my life for the better.”

Former nurse Eileen Cirri  returned to school after the death of her husband on 9/11 and earned a law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law with help from the fund.

Her three daughters also funded their education with the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund.

“This charity specifically addressed higher education, meaning my three daughters and I are employed now, self-sufficient and independent,” Cirri said.

The fund is managed by Scholarship America. The nonprofit educational support group says it will continue to steward the fund until the year 2030.

For information about the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, or to find out how to register click here or call 877-862-0136.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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