Sallie Mae - the nation's saving, planning, and paying for college company - today surprised the Culley family of Alton, Virginia, with $90,000 for college on the season 11 premiere of The Rachael Ray Show. The money will be deposited into a Upromise GoalSaver account - Sallie Mae's free, no-fee, goal-based savings account - to help the Culley family save for college for their nine children.

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The Culley Family of Alton, Virginia, on The Rachael Ray Show, about to be surprised with $90,000 fo ...

The Culley Family of Alton, Virginia, on The Rachael Ray Show, about to be surprised with $90,000 for college from Sallie Mae and Upromise. (Photo: Business Wire)

The Culleys gained national attention when Stephanie Culley fulfilled a promise she made to a friend with breast cancer. After her friend passed away, Stephanie and her husband, Donnie, who already had three children of their own, made good on that promise by taking custody of the friend's six children. Practically overnight, the Culley family tripled in size; now there are nine children ranging in age from 2 to 16. Inspired by the family's selfless act, Sallie Mae teamed up with Rachael Ray to help the Culleys save for college.

"We've been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and generosity," said Stephanie Culley. "A college education is so important and this $90,000 from Sallie Mae will give each one of our kids the opportunity to attend college. We can't thank Sallie Mae and Rachael Ray enough for this wonderful and unexpected gift."

"As a parent, a friend, or anyone who has been affected by cancer, you instantly connect with the Culley family and their story," said Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. "Their truly selfless and inspiring decision to bring these six children into their family is just amazing, and we are humbled to honor their mother's wish for their futures by contributing to their college savings funds. We hope this down payment for college will help the Culleys make the dream of higher education a reality for each of their children."

To help the Culley family get a jump-start on saving for college, Sallie Mae will deposit $90,000 — $10,000 for each of their nine children — into a Upromise GoalSaver account. Upromise GoalSaver is Sallie Mae's free, no-fee, FDIC-insured online savings account that makes it easy for families to save for college and other goals all in one place. Families simply set a goal, save toward it via automatic or individual deposit, and track their progress. Upromise GoalSaver also rewards account holders with a competitive interest rate, available annual cash back bonuses, and cash-back rewards through Upromise by Sallie Mae.

"Sallie Mae's Upromise GoalSaver accounts make saving for college so simple," said Rachael Ray. "We cannot thank them enough!"

Sallie Mae recommends the 1-2-3 approach to saving for college: first, open a savings account; second, set a goal and regularly contribute money; and third, explore tax-advantaged options.

To see the Culleys get the surprise of a lifetime, visit For more information on saving, planning, and paying for college visit

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.

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