Starting college can be a challenging time for any student. However, students whose parents have disabilities face additional challenges and tough decisions. They may need to be close to their parent to take care of them or simply spend more time with them. The stress and worry they carry every day about their parent may potentially interfere with their studies. Most importantly, their parents may not be able to provide them with the same financial support as other parents.
Luckily, there are many organizations that offer financial aid for students with disabled parents. The criteria required for children of disabled parents to receive one of the numerous available scholarships may differ based on the kind and extent of the parent's disability, the parent's occupation (prior to the disability) and/or the state where the student and their parents reside.
For each of these (and many other available) scholarships, go to the organization's website and take the time to carefully research their eligibility criteria and application process.
Scholarships for Students With Disabled Parents
NLEAFCF General Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, academic merit and other achievements. They're given to dependent children, stepchildren or legally adopted children of law enforcement officers or firefighters who were totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty. The scholarship is a maximum of $5,000 per year and can be renewed for up to four years, depending on availability of funds, financial need and the student’s academic progress.
The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA) can provide financial aid to children of a veteran with permanent and total disability related to his service. Eligible applicants must be between 18 and 26 years old. The program can fund up to 45 months of education or training.
The PreJax Foundation scholarship is given to students whose parents have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) or who themselves have the condition. The awards are given based on academic merit, leadership and community service. To be eligible, you must be a high school senior, a high school graduate or an undergraduate student.
Regional Scholarships for Students With Disabled Parents
In addition to the many scholarships available to all U.S. citizens, there are numerous regional scholarships available only to residents of certain states. For instance, the Missouri Public Service Survivor Grant Program gives scholarships to children of disabled construction workers who are residents of Missouri, and the Massachusetts Public Service Grant Program provides financial aid to residents of Massachusetts and dependents of a disabled Massachusetts police officer, firefighter or corrections officer.
Tanya Mozias Slavin is a former academic and language teacher. She writes articles about education and linguistic technology, and has published in the Washington Post, Fast Company, CBC and other places. Find her at www.tanyamoziasslavin.com