Families devote much of their time and resources to helping a child with special needs. Those children often need expensive medical care and personal assistance. The financial burden of caring for a special needs child makes it difficult for many parents to afford to send their other children to college. Support groups for a variety of illnesses and disabilities recognize the sacrifices that siblings of special needs children make, and they have provided scholarship funding for them. Most of these scholarships are not exclusively for the brothers and sisters of special needs children, but the siblings are among the eligible recipients.
The Hemophilia Foundation offers several scholarships throughout the country for the siblings of people who suffer from hemophilia or another bleeding disorder. The Hemophilia Foundation of Illinois offers the Bradley Krueger Memorial Scholarship, which pays up to $5,000 for tuition, books or other education expenses. Scholarships are available to residents of Illinois who either have a bleeding disorder or are the parents, siblings or children of someone who does. The Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California offers the Christopher Mark Pitkin Memorial Scholarship in amounts of $500 to $1,000. BioRx offers a North Carolina Educational Scholarship Program for students who suffer from a bleeding disorder, their parents or their siblings. Four awards are given, but one is reserved for a student intending to study health care.
The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults offers the Doug Parker Memorial Scholarship for students who have suffered from cancer or who have a parent or sibling with cancer. Sibling applicants must be residents of Howard County in Maryland, and they must have been between the ages of 15 and 39 when their sibling was diagnosed or treated. The winner gets $2,500 and must complete 40 hours of community service. The Georgia Transplant Foundation sponsors the Michael Calkins Memorial Educational Scholarship for those who have received a transplant or for their children or siblings. Applicants must be residents of Georgia who are enrolling in accredited programs. The scholarship amounts vary.
The Highland County Society for Children and Adults Inc. sponsors the Betty Collins Scholarship at Southern State Community College in Ohio. The scholarship is for students who have a disability or who have a parent, child or sibling with a disability. Applicants must have taken the SAT or ACT and must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher. The ALS Ride for Life Scholarship is available to any graduating high-school senior in New York who has a family connection to a patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Amounts vary for the scholarship each year.
Other Special Needs
United Parent Support for Down Syndrome, or UPS for DownS, sponsors the Eric Martinez Memorial Scholarship for students who have a sibling with Down Syndrome. The $2,500 award is given to one student who plans to attend technical school, an undergraduate program or a graduate program. Education Aid sponsors a Scholarship Fund for Parents or Siblings of Children with Special Needs. Amounts vary, and recipients must be in good academic standing in an accredited program.
- Hemophilia Federation of America: Christopher Mark Pitkin Memorial Scholarship
- The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults: Doug Parker Memorial Scholarship
- The Georgia Transplant Foundation: Academic Scholarships
- Southern State Community College: Scholarships
- UPS for DownS: 2014 UPS for DownS Memorial Scholarship Program: Eric Martinez Memorial Scholarships
- Education Aid: Scholarship Fund for Parents or Siblings of Children with Special Needs
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.