There are many hard moments one must face in life, and one of the most difficult for anyone is the death of a parent or both parents. These times can be even harder when you’re a student of a deceased parent or deceased parents, and you must think about how to move forward with your education. While moving forward may prove difficult, there are several opportunities for scholarships for students with a deceased parent as well as grants for students who lost a parent.

With support from organizations committed to helping survivors of deceased parents, you will find that there are grants and scholarships for as little as five hundred dollars to help defray the cost of books for one semester to funding that could pay your tuition for an entire year. The most important thing a student for a deceased parent has to do is ask for help, because the potential for financial support is everywhere.

Money That is Available

Before searching for grants or scholarships for students with a deceased parent, it’s important to see what is available and provided by the government. When a parent dies, children are entitled to receive Social Security benefits. While this is not a large sum of money, it can help to make sure that a child is able to receive the necessities they need to live. This funding is available until a child turns 18.

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When You Turn 18

If you're a student under the age of 18 and attending a tuition-based elementary or secondary school, your Social Security benefits can help defray your tuition costs until you graduate. Social Security benefits can help until you’re 18 or until you graduate high school. Unfortunately, Social Security benefits are not available to you as the child of a deceased parent once you are a legal adult and no longer in elementary or secondary education.

Social Security benefits are extended for children who are disabled. Benefits for children who are disabled stop at the age of twenty-two. Circumstances can vary, so if you’re disabled and not quite twenty-two, it’s important to contact your local Social Security office to see if you’re able to continue to use your benefits. If so, this can allow you to defray your living expenses while you attend college.

How to Find Scholarships

If you’re looking for scholarships for students with a deceased parent, the first thing you should do is contact your guidance counselor. A high school guidance counselor should be well acquainted with your situation and can easily point out opportunities that will be best for you. Your high school guidance counselor will also be notified by local organizations such as rotary clubs that are looking to support children who would like to attend college but may not have the means.

Many of the opportunities that will be available will most likely have you formally apply for aid by writing a short essay, which will help them determine your needs.

Additional Ways to Find Scholarships

You can find additional scholarships by contacting the admissions office of the college or university you hope to attend. By creating a relationship with the admissions counselors, you will help them understand your story since they will have up to date information on scholarships for a child with a deceased parent.

By sharing your story, admissions counselors can point you toward scholarships and funding opportunities that you may have never considered or knew about. These scholarships could also help you consider a career you might not have thought of either.

Scholarships for a Child with a Deceased Parent

Did your parents participate in a branch of the military? Was your parent a first responder, such as a police officer, EMT or a firefighter? If so, some of these organizations have benefits for dependents that will provide funding for higher education. To learn if there is funding available to you, it’s important to research your parent’s records if they’re available to you so that when you contact a representative of the organization you have all the information you need.

The most effective way to find out if you’re eligible for benefits is to go online, if you have internet access, and search for the official government site. Then contact your local office for additional information, they will point you in the right direction.

Don’t Forget to Check with Your Attorney

When possible, some parents will try to plan for their death by creating a bank account or trust fund for the child to use for future education. This is normally set up with the help of a lawyer or a bank and managed by the lawyer or the bank. A special bank account for educational purposes is sometimes set up by concerned friends when a parent passes away unexpectedly. If this is the case, when a student is old enough to attend college, the money will be available at that time.

Programs for Students of Single Parents

Scholarships are also created for special populations of students who lose parents. When searching for aid opportunities a student should look for scholarships for students with a deceased father. These scholarship opportunities can be identified by guidance counselors at your school as well as any college you might be interested in attending.

If you are a survivor of a parent who passed away from an incurable disease such as cancer, you may be able to find scholarships for students with deceased fathers through a relief organization. There are many organizations that provide relief and care to survivors and one of those benefits may include scholarships.

Simply pull together any information you have about your deceased parent and contact the organization that provided your loved one with relief care. If benefits are available to you as a survivor, they will be able to provide you with information you need to apply.

Pell Grants for Students with a Deceased Parent

The government recognizes that education is important for everyone, not just students with deceased fathers or mothers. This is why they created the Pell Grant. The Pell Grant provides money for students who want to attend college, and all you have to do is apply.

Pell Grants for students with a deceased parent would work the same way as they would for any deserving student. A student would simply have to apply and demonstrate the need. This would require for the student to fill out the application and share that they are a child of a deceased parent and their income level.

If a student is unsure how to fill out the form, a high school guidance counselor or admissions counselor for their intended college could direct them on how to fill it out. The good news about Pell Grants is that the money would never have to be repaid like a loan would have to be, and a student can apply every year for the funding. This makes Pell Grants for students with deceased parents very helpful when a student is trying to figure out the best way to pay for college.

While paying for college can be difficult when you are the child of a deceased parent, there are many different programs to help you realize your dream.

About the Author

As a communications professional in the greater Philadelphia region, Jerisha enjoys writing informative advancement communications pieces for philanthropic organizations. When not writing, Jerisha is an adjunct faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at Wilmington University where she guides full-time students and full-time working adults through the writing process. Jerisha holds an M.F.A. in creative writing and enjoys writing education articles and essays.