Scholarship Opportunities for Students with Health Conditions

Many of today’s students have to deal with health conditions of one kind or another. Recent studies have shown that 10 to 15 percent of American children today are stricken with chronic illnesses, including asthma, epilepsy, and diabetes. Many students also suffer from different serous illnesses that are disabling or worse, life-threatening. These health conditions can be devastating restrictions to the education of the afflicted. When one has to deal with the stresses of combating the effects of a debilitating sickness like epilepsy everyday of his or her life, it is understandably difficult for that person to even think of how to pay for a semester’s tuition, let alone actually raise the money for it. In a country where more than one in three full-time students work to pay for the often prohibitive costs of higher education, being afflicted with a health condition can make going to college seem like an impossible dream.

Fortunately for those of who are suffering from these illnesses, there are available scholarship programs for those afflicted with different health conditions that can help pay for the costs of enrolling in college and make the goal of attaining a good post-secondary education that much reachable. These scholarships are often targeted at those afflicted with a particular type or class of illness. If you have an illness similar to those mentioned above, the best way to begin your search is to look for support services that specifically provide for those with certain health conditions such as autism, or Tourette Syndrome, or cancer. The Internet should be your best friend and guide here; it is home to a good number of organizations and institutions that want to help people like you.

However, keep in mind that similar to other forms of financial assistance plans for education, being awarded a scholarship for those with chronic health conditions is no sure shot; make sure to apply to as many programs as are available. There are national programs and scholarships that are specific to certain regions - consider both. If you can, apply also for programs designated for other personal qualities and criteria such as ethnicity or affiliation- don’t limit yourself to disability or illness-related scholarships. Slots are always limited and as much as the administrators of these educational grants would like to help out everyone with health conditions, they can only provide for so many.

Organizations that help students with health conditions

There are a good number of organizations and institutions that are eager to offer assistance, financial and otherwise, to those afflicted with disabling health conditions. Most of these have websites that can answer all your questions on eligibility requirements and other pertinent matters. Narrow down your search by identifying what particular illness or condition you or your child might have. The awarding of a scholarship will usually depend on the nature of the affliction, among other things.

Some of the organizations and institutions committed to helping those with specific health conditions include LA Kelley Communications, Inc. (which administers the Eric Dostie Memorial College Scholarship for students suffering from bleeding disorders like hemophilia), the Cystic Fibrosis Scholarship Foundation (which provides educational grants to sufferers of the sickness), and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (which offers financial aid to incoming college freshmen with asthma), the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the United States (which aid those diagnosed with a brain tumor in childhood), and the P. Buckley Moss Society (which offers grants for graduating high school students with learning disabilities). Contact details for these and many other groups can easily be obtained on the Internet.

Some educational institutions might also have some kind of financial assistance program for students suffering from debilitating health conditions. Contacting the student services office of the schools you or your child is planning to enter should be of great help. The DePaul University’s School of New Learning for example administers the Patrick B. Holaday scholarship for students afflicted with disabling chronic illnesses who demonstrate a steadfast commitment to study.

Even if a particular college or university does not offer scholarships specifically for students suffering from chronic illnesses, it still might, at least, point you to the right direction. For example, Rice University in Houston, Texas has established a Disability Support Services office specifically to provide for the needs of students afflicted with disabling ailments, and that can make it easier for interested applicants to apply for and be awarded one of the many general scholarships in the school. Look for schools that have an office devoted to servicing those suffering from medical conditions or afflictions.

Scholarships for the children and family of the afflicted

If you are a parent who suffers (or if your parents or one of your sibling suffers) from a chronic illness, then you might also qualify for a scholarship. There some funds and programs that offer financial assistance to the children and/or siblings of those afflicted with particular health conditions.

The SuperSibs! Scholarship is offered specifically to siblings of children with cancer. Each year, the program awards $5,000 in assistance to two deserving high school seniors entering college. The Children of Breast Cancer Scholarship Fund meanwhile provides educational grants to students whose mothers have survived the disease. The award is worth a minimum of $1,000.

Final pointers

While it is a simple task to find information on sources of financial aid for students suffering from particular health conditions on the Internet, actually getting an award is another matter. Competition over scholarships can be quite fierce at any given time. For whatever program you apply for, always do your research and prepare something special to show. Eligibility requirements differ for each (although most will require a showing of good character and scholastic commitment). Some are awarded on the basis of merit (depending on the medical condition), while others are based primarily on need. To diversify your search also bears repeating. There is a wide array of opportunities out there, so don’t limit your application to only those designated for those with chronic illnesses or health conditions.