Buick, along with the General Motors Foundation, has selected 1,100 recipients for its 2011 Buick Achievers Scholarship Program. 1000 scholarships worth $2000 each were awarded to students across America, while an additional 100 students received scholarships worth $25,000. The scholarships are renewable for up to 4 years while the students pursue a bachelor's degree at universities and colleges throughout the United States. The total prize funding could reach over $18 million in the next 4 years.

Buick hopes the scholarships will be able to transform the recipient's lives. The students were chosen based on their major, financial need, and excellence in the classroom and community. Because tuition rates and fees have increased an average of 7.9% in public colleges and universities, many potential students are unable to afford a costly bachelor's degree. Over half of the recipients will be the first in their families to attend a 4-year university, with a high number coming from military families.

General Motors hopes the scholarships will not only be an investment in the students, but in their own company as well. The scholarships are available to students pursuing degrees in engineering, as well as finance, math, and graphic design. The students chosen for the awards all indicated an interest in a major that would be beneficial to the automotive and manufacturing industries. By reinvesting in the community, Buick and the General Motors Foundation hope to create a future workforce that is highly educated, providing a mutual benefit to the students and car companies alike.

"One of the aims of the Buick Achievers Scholarship program is to strongly encourage today's brightest young minds to pursue fields of study that will prepare them for careers in manufacturing industries," said Bob Ferguson, GM Foundation chairman and GM vice president, Global Public Policy. "By doing so, we will help improve our nation's global competitiveness in fields that are driving economic growth in the 21st century."

This philanthropic gesture is another part of General Motors' attempt to rebrand itself as a responsible American company. Following GM's bailout loan in 2009, the corporation reorganized and discontinued several brands including Hummer and Saturn. Today, GM's new model sales have increased dramatically; the company has repaid much of its federal loan, and has created hundreds of jobs by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in new manufacturing plants in Detroit and Kansas. The scholarship program is the latest attempt by GM to reorganize a brand that is capable of competing against international European and Asian manufacturers, as well as domestic manufacturers.

Those interested in participating in the 2012 Buick Achievers Scholarship Program must submit an application by Spring 2012. Students can register for scholarship news and notifications at www.buickachievers.com.

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Cliff Turner has been an automotive enthusiast ever since high school, where he developed a passion for cars while working for the local Saturn/Hummer dealership. When he isn't writing, he is busy earning his Juris Doctorate at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.

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