How Can I Help the Foundation?

Graduating students often ask, “How can I help the foundation?” Please consider doing the following:

Read This First

The Fadel Educational Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit educational foundation supporting education for non-incarcerated Muslim U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The awards are distributed on a need/merit basis for post-secondary education.

The annual awards program will in sha Allah distribute approximately $40,000 in total in grants ranging from $1,000 to $3,500 to new applicants. Renewal recipients typically receive, in total, between $50,000-$65,000 in grants each year, with each recipient’s grant equal to the amount he or she received as a new applicant. Each recipient has a lifetime limit on the total grants the foundation will grant. You can read the amounts of the foundation’s annual grants on our blog.

The foundation also earmarks approximately $10,000 annually for distribution through Hartford Seminary’s Islamic Chaplaincy Program for prison chaplains.

Use the pages in the menu bar at the top to access any available application forms, instructions for award recipients and a Frequently Asked Questions document about all facets of the application and disbursement process.

Use these social networking services to have FEF news delivered to your PC or mobile device:

E-mail Distribution List for Supporters of the Foundation

We encourage all who deal with the foundation to submit a review at

If you want to receive updates on how you can support the foundation, subscribe to our e-mail list for foundation’s supporters. If you prefer to receive SMS message on your mobile phone, register here or text @fefsupport to the number 81010 or (941) 900-3843.

The foundation does accept donations. Send a message if you want to do so.

Updated July 3, 2021.

Why don’t you want me to send material requiring a signature?

When you send to a PO Box a package require recipient signature, the Post Office places in the PO Box a small piece of paper which must be presented to a clerk who then retrieves the package. Because the foundation receives a lot of mail, it is easy to lose this small piece of paper by not noticing it in between the other envelopes in the box. Furthermore, it forces the secretary to stand in line during business hours to retrieve your package. Also, if nobody checks the PO Box for a period of time, the package may be returned to you. Finally, the Foundation accepts application materials by postmark date, not receipt date. So you’re just wasting your money sending things by Express Mail and Priority Mail and FedEx and Certified Mail, etc.

If you do need to send something through a delivery service, contact FEF first for instructions.

I’m ABD. May I still receive a grant?

If you are ABD, you must have your advisor write a letter confirming that you are making progress towards completion of your dissertation. The letter should set a date for completion.

If you receive an award, and then later you request a renewal, your advisor must write a similar letter to support your renewal request. If the expected completion date changes, the advisor must explain why in writing.

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Is this person OK for my recommendation letter?

University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire has some good tips about recommendation letters.

I received this question:

I have only completed one semester of college work. My professors do not know me that well. Is it okay to get a recommendation from a high school teacher who [has] known me for the past 4 years?

Applicants have to figure out things for themselves. The review committee is not going to know who did not write your letter of recommendation. They will only look at the letter of recommendation the foundation receives.  So just get the best one you can get.

If the letter of recommendation only talks about things you did 10 years ago, then the reviewers will probably wonder what you’ve done the last 10 years. But one year is not a huge length of time.

Finally, if you think that a gap in time is a problem, send in two letters of recommendation. Send in both the stronger one from the more distant past and the weaker, more recent one.

Don’t go overboard with this. For traditional age students, i.e. 18-24, transcripts are a much more important indication of your academic ability than recommendation letters.

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I don’t have ___________? Is that OK?

Fill in this blank with any document we request in the application. The Secretary does not forward the application for review unless there is a complete application form, an official transcript, a FAFSA (or its equivalent) and a recommendation letter. If the document you are missing is something other than what I’ve mentioned, than your application still gets reviewed.  Depending on how impressive your other documents are, the missing document may not matter. If you are publishing in peer-reviewed journals, nobody’s going to care if you can’t find a copy of your SAT score. If you’re just out of high-school, than the copy of your SAT score report is more important.

So don’t ask the Secretary this question.

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May I Submit an Unofficial Transcript to Save Money?

New and renewal applicants are required to submit official transcripts.

Penn State University’s website has a description of official transcripts:

An official transcript is the University’s certified statement of your academic record. The official paper transcript is printed on security sensitive paper and contains the University seal and signature of the University Registrar. The official electronic transcript is a PDF secured by a digital certificate which is displayed at the top of the transcript along with a blue ribbon.

We also accept authenticated, signed Adobe PDF documents for renewal applicants and awardees asking for the second disbursement. Some universities allow secure electronic transmission, so ask your registrar about that. Some universities allow you to provide proxies access to your financial and academic records, so that would substitute for an official transcript as well. We also accept documents from secure services like Interfolio.

Remember, as is clearly stated on the application:

For each institution which awarded you a degree, submit your most complete official transcript. Submit your latest official transcript which shows your current progress towards the educational goals you listed above. Only submit your high school transcript if you have not completed significant college work.

For 90% of applicants, you will only need to submit 1 or 2 official transcripts. If you are nearing the end of your PhD or professional school and you have 2 previous degrees, you probably need to be using a service like Interfolio as you apply for other grants and then jobs.

If one of your institutions is charging too much money for a transcript, then you should discuss with that institution a remedy such as those I’ve mentioned above. Or organize a student strike. Or something. But it’s not FEF’s responsibility.

FEF also requires official transcripts for award winners to get the 2nd half of their disbursement. If you don’t want to pay for an official transcript showing your grades in the Fall semester, have the Financial Aid office explain to you and the FEF Secretary how to verify that you passed your classes in the Fall semester without an official transcript being sent.

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May I Send Application Materials by E-Mail?

New applicants must submit all material under a single cover by US Postal Service. Renewal applicants and awardees requesting a second disbursement may send materials by e-mail, especially transcripts.

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Caution on Expediting Transcripts and Other Documents

When you ask your institution to expedite sending a transcript, be careful that it does not send it to FEF in manner requiring a signature. #1, this forces me to stand in line at the Post Office to retrieve the mail. #2, if for some reason I don’t pick up mail for 10-12 days, then the Post Office may return the item.

In general, you never need to send things overnight or 2-day or priority. Please use 1st class mail. If I need you to send something overnight, I’ll provide you with a different address.

This is of particular concern to people who are attending institutions in other countries. Many US universities now have branch campuses abroad. See if you can get the US main branch of the university to handle sending your transcript to FEF. If you have to send it from overseas, do not send it to our post office box. Many international delivery services will not deliver to PO Boxes. Contact the Secretary for an alternate address.

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