There is a wide range of organizations and advocacy groups dedicated to helping anyone ‘living with cancer’ afford a college education. This applies to cancer patients and survivors, as well as children or siblings of cancer patients and survivors and students who have lost a parent to cancer.
Support for College Students with Cancer
Cancer does not discriminate. It does not care about age, race, religion or anything else — and it certainly does not care if you are a college student. In fact, many of the 72,000 individuals between the ages of 15 and 39 diagnosed with cancer every year are students; today, it is estimated that one of every 100 college students is a cancer survivor. The good news is that college students coping with cancer can find a wealth of support from understanding teachers to accommodations and support groups. This guide is for those trying to pursue their dream of higher education — despite their battle with the Big C.
This amazing resource includes information on:
The reality of attending college with cancer and its side effects
Accommodations and academic adjustments and how to receive accommodations
Online learning resources for students with cancer
Support groups on- and 0ff- campus
The National GRACE Foundation
GRACE stands for Growing, Recovering and Achieving a College Education.
Provides FREE college admissions and financial aid counseling to pediatric cancer patients and survivors.
1. COLLEGE ADMISSIONS & FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION NIGHTS
Admissions and financial aid experts conduct informational group sessions on the college admission process and financial aid process at hospitals across the country.
2. ADVOCACY SERVICES
The Foundation reaches out to college officials to highlight the adversity that cancer fighters have overcome and helps students understand the various services available to them while in college, such as disability services. The Foundation can also serve as a reference for students and act as a liaison with the schools.
3. COMPREHENSIVE ADMISSION AND FINANCIAL AID COUNSELING
The National GRACE Foundation provides one-on-one counseling with pediatric cancer fighters and survivors and their families including
- Guiding college selection
- Essay review
- Understanding the financial aid for cancer patients process
Upon graduation, the Foundation works with students to manage student loans and also assists them in applying for graduate school.
4. TEST PREPARATION
College Standardized Test Preparation manuals are given free of charge to high school juniors and seniors.
For more information, visithttp://graceamerica.org/GraceFoundation/.
Federal Sources of Cancer Scholarships
While there are no actual federally-funded scholarships for cancer survivors, there are a number of general grants that are open to all students. These are need-based grants. The financial burden placed on cancer patients and their families is likely to make them eligible for an award.
Federal Pell Grant
This program is open to undergraduate students who are pursuing their first associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Awards are determined according to financial need. The maximum annual award is $5,550.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
The FSEOG is available to students who have qualified for a Pell grant but are still left with considerable unmet need. The FSEOG program is administered through the financial aid offices of participating colleges and universities. Students should apply through their school of choice. Awards range from $100 to $4,000.
Private Sources of Scholarships
The majority of scholarships for cancer patients and survivors are funded by the private sector. Professional associations and advocacy and support groups are the primary source of financial assistance for students who are pursuing their college education while battling or recovering from all types of cancer.
Students looking for cancer-related scholarships should begin their search by looking for organizations and support groups linked to their type of cancer. For example, a student who has been diagnosed with breast cancer will want to concentrate on organizations that support the needs of breast cancer survivors and their families.
Scholarships for cancer patients and survivors are dependent upon private and corporate donations. The availability of programs and award amounts are subject to change according to current funding. The following programs are examples of the types of scholarships available for college-bound students who are battling cancer.
Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program
Awards college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors who have demonstrated the ability to overcome the difficult challenges of cancer with determination and motivation. Forty (40) $3,500 scholarships will be awarded each academic year. To date, the scholarship program has awarded over $1 million in scholarship money to childhood cancer survivors across the country. Applications for the 2019-2020 National Children’s Cancer Society Scholarship Program will be available in January 2019.
Brian Morden Foundation Memorial Scholarship
Any student with a fascination for technology and a love of music is eligible for this scholarship, although individuals who are cancer survivors are given special consideration. Up to $1,000.
Cameron Siemers Foundation for Hope
The Life Grant is a cash award that provides up to $5,000 to anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 who is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The award can be used for anything, including schooling, where the recipient will fulfill a dream or goal.
Cancer for College: Dear Jack Scholarship
Founded in 1993 by Craig Pollard, the organization offers a number of annual scholarships, ranging from $250 to $5,000, for cancer patients and survivors. The organization is based out of California and primary consideration is given to applicants from within the state. Students in Southern California have first consideration for the largest scholarships. Cancer for College provides one-time and recurring scholarships to current and former cancer patients. Applicants must be U.S. citizens planning to enroll in an accredited four-year university, community college or graduate school. The application period opens October 1st and closes January 31st. Awards are announced in July.
Cancer Survivors Fund
The Cancer Survivors Fund awards four levels of scholarships to augment the expenses associated with the college educations of young cancer survivors. A selection committee chooses scholarship recipients based on the applicants’ personal hardships, assessing their financial and emotional needs as well as their academic qualifications.
Children’s Cancer Center
The CCC, with the support of the Panera Bread and the Knead for Knowledge Scholarship Program, sponsors advanced education scholarships for Florida students who (1) have had a diagnosis of cancer or chronic blood disorder in the Tampa Bay area before the age of 21, or (2) have lost a sibling due to a diagnosis of cancer or a chronic blood disorder. Scholarships are for undergraduate degrees from an accredited university, college, community college, vocational technical school, or other approved program.
Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy
Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy (CCCA) is pleased to offer an annual opportunity for two childhood cancer survivors to gain valuable cancer advocacy experience. Award recipients will receive a scholarship of $2,000 via our College Scholars Program.
Deana’s Wish Memorial Scholarship
The DLH Foundation offers scholarships through Deana’s Wish Memorial Scholarship program up to $1,500 for individuals diagnosed with esophageal or stomach cancer, or individuals who have an immediate family member affected by the disease. Applicants must be US residents with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and SAT score of at least 1500 or/an ACT score of at least 21. Preference is given to California residents.
Expect Miracles Foundation
Expect Miracles Foundation established its college scholarship program to help students who would find attending college to be a significant financial burden due to their history/current diagnosis with cancer. The $7,500 scholarship is intended to help an individual who has been impacted by cancer – either in treatment or remission – to attend a 4-year college or university in pursuit of a degree. Eligible candidates must be enrolled to attend an accredited college or university in addition to the eligibility and application criteria.
FinAid is a dedicated page of scholarships available to cancer patients, cancer survivors, children of a cancer patient or survivor, students who lost a parent to cancer, and students pursuing careers in cancer treatment.
The online resource for information regarding paying for and preparing for school. Lists scholarships for every type of student from the high school freshman to the returning adult.
Friends of Scott Foundation
Our scholarship program is designed to provide funding to survivors who want to continue their education through technical school, vocational school, junior college, or a four-year college or university. California residents only. Applicant must be a cancer survivor or currently receiving treatment and be enrolled in or accepted for enrollment in an accredited undergraduate or graduate school.
Hawkins Spizman Kilgo, LLC Childhood Cancer Awareness Scholarship
In support of those who have survived or been directly affected by childhood cancer. This $1,000 scholarship will support one hard-working student who has had firsthand experience with this devastating disease.
Izzy Foundation Academic Scholarship Program
Offers academic scholarships for survivors of childhood cancer and their siblings. Applications will be open on March 1st and close May 1st 2019.
Jackie Spellman Scholarship Foundation
Open to U.S. citizens who have been impacted in some way by leukemia or lymphoma, either as survivors or individuals who have a member of his or her immediate family who have or had leukemia or lymphoma while living in the same household. Eligible students include high school seniors or those attending community college, a four-year university, or graduate school.
John Atkinson Lung Cancer Foundation
Since 2011, the scholarship program has been proud to award 80 scholarships to children around the United States totaling nearly $100,000. Our hope is to ease some of the financial strain placed on families who have lost a parent to lung cancer. Since John Atkinson was a parent of three children, this is the best way to honor his memory and carry out his legacy. Students are awarded up to $2,500 to be used at a college, university, or vocational/trade school. The scholarship is not renewable.
Kids 4 Kids
To be eligible, applicants must have been diagnosed with cancer before their 18th birthday. Applicants must also plan to attend an accredited college or university. Up to $2,000.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness/Law School Scholarship
Assists a current or future law student who has been affected by leukemia or lymphoma by helping to defray the cost of law school expenses. Offers an annual scholarship of $1,000 for law school tuition and/or books. Applicant must submit an essay and complete online application.
Making Headway Foundation (The Scott J. Reisser Memorial Scholarship Fund)
Awards $5,000 scholarships to four brain or spinal cord tumor survivors who have been admitted to, or are currently attending, a two- or four-year college or vocational program and reside in the New York City area or New Jersey or Connecticut. The annual scholarship application deadline is May 1.
Mary Ellen Locher Foundation
Scholarships are given to the children of breast cancer patients — either survivors, those currently in treatment, or deceased, residing within a 50-mile radius of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Students will be selected on the basis of eligibility and essays. Community service, grades, and financial need will also be considered in the review of applicants. However, grades will not play a dominant role in the selection process. Scholarship winners are required to participate in at least one breast cancer awareness project during the school year they receive a scholarship. Recipients may complete this requirement on their own or join with the Mary Ellen Locher Foundation or other organizations in fulfilling this requirement.
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Scholarship
Offers a scholarship program available to students who have battled cancer at any point in their lives (not limited to mesothelioma) or have a parent, sibling, immediate family member or close friend that has battled or is currently fighting cancer. Check website for eligibility criteria and to apply. $4,000 award.
Mesothelioma.net awards one scholarship of $2,000. Any student who has lived with and fought against any type of cancer, not limited to mesothelioma, is welcome to apply. We also encourage any students who have watched a family member or close friend go through the experience of fighting cancer.
Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation
Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation awards eight scholarships of $1,000 each to graduating high school students whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. Students must reside within one of the eight New York State counties: Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester and Ulster.
My Hometown Heroes
My Hometown Heroes provides a scholarship fund dedicated to help young adult cancer survivors confidently pursue their life dreams. They provide grants, scholarships, community outreach and memorable lifestyle experiences to financially assist and enhance the quality of life for young adult cancer survivors 17-35 years old.
National Collegiate Cancer Foundation
The National Collegiate Cancer Foundation was established to provide services and support to young adults whose lives have been impacted by cancer and who have continued with their education throughout treatment or after their treatment. Scholarships of $1,000 are available to those in- or post-treatment between the ages of 18-35 who are seeking or receiving higher education. We will begin accepting applications again in March 2019.
Nicki Leach Foundation
Focusing on individuals who are suffering from cancer, the Nicki Leach Foundation awards a scholarship to individuals aged 18 to 30. It focuses on this age group because they are the least likely to have health insurance —they are often between finishing their college education and obtaining employment which could provide health insurance. Amount varies.
A listing of numerous scholarship options for students with disabilities that range from national financial aid opportunities to local opportunities within the United States and Canada. Each scholarship profile indicates whether online programs at accredited colleges or universities are eligible for the award.
Orange County Community Foundation: Michael A. Hunter Memorial Scholarship
The Michael A. Hunter Memorial Scholarship Fund awards annual scholarships to help improve the quality of life for those affected by leukemia or lymphoma. The focus of the scholarship is supporting secondary education for patients and/or children of non-surviving patients. Individual awards range from $2,500 to $5,000. This scholarship is offered nationwide.
The Orion Fund awards grants to California college students with serious illness or injury. If you are in college, under the age of 30, and have a serious medical condition affecting your ability to stay in school, then the Orion Fund can help. Grants generally range from $300 to $3,000. Grant applications for 2019 will be available in November.
Patient Advocate Foundation
Patient Advocate Foundation provides support to individuals, under the age of 25, that are or have been diagnosed with cancer or a critical or life threatening disease. Applicants must be currently pursuing an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or higher degree, and be diagnosed within the past 5 years.
Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation offers scholarships for graduating seniors and students currently enrolled in college. Survivors must have been diagnosed before age 19 with a primary malignant or non-malignant central nervous system brain and/or spinal cord tumor.
The Samfund no longer accepts requests for undergraduate tuition. We will, however, consider requests for graduate tuition, vocational training, continuing education and student loan repayment. Undergraduates may request help with other school-related expenses (i.e., computers, books and supplies) only if they are responsible for paying for these and are not currently receiving help from their parents, schools or other sources. If you are looking for assistance with undergrad tuition, please view our Undergraduate Tuition Assistance resources.
Scholarships.com provides a free database of college scholarship information including those specific to cancer patients in active treatment or remission.
Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett Scholarship
Awards a total of $50,000 in annual scholarships to graduating high school seniors from any public or private high school in Dallas County who have been affected by cancer in one of the following ways:
- Have an immediate family member (mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, brother or sister) who is under a current cancer diagnosis and/or treatment for cancer;
- Have an immediate family member who has passed away within the last two years from cancer; or
- Are themselves in treatment for cancer.
In recognition of Sofia and her sister Gabriela’s love of learning as well as their achievements in academic excellence in school, Sofia’s Hope is proud to announce the following annual scholarship opportunities for both childhood cancer survivors and their siblings.
Sofia did not have the chance to graduate high school or attend college so through these scholarships Sofia’s Hope aspires to help make that dream a reality for other childhood cancer survivors and their siblings.
Sofia Blanco Scholarship for Childhood Cancer Survivors
Childhood cancer survivors can apply to receive one of two (2) scholarships toward their college education. Recipients of the Inaugural Sofia Blanco Scholarships will receive a $2,000 allowance for tuition/room and board, plus a laptop or tablet (first-time awardees only).
Gabriela Blanco Scholarship for Siblings of Childhood Cancer Survivors
Because Sofia’s Hope recognizes that siblings are survivors of childhood cancer, too, siblings can apply to receive one of two (2) scholarships toward their college education. Recipients of the Inaugural Gabriela Blanco Scholarships will receive a $2,000 allowance for tuition/room and board, plus a laptop or tablet (first-time awardees only).
Stephen T. Marchello Scholarship Foundation
Open only to high school graduates who plan on attending college, this scholarship provides financial assistance to those who have survived cancer and are also residents of Montana or Colorado. Amount varies.
Strong Arm of Georgia Scholarship
Provides a chance for students affected by leukemia to secure a better future. Must be enrolled in an accredited college or university in the U.S. Essay and transcript required. Selection committee determines winner of $1,000 scholarship. Check website for more details and to apply.
The Pink Rose Foundation
Students who have lost a parent to breast cancer are eligible for this scholarship award. $1,000 grant.
Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults
The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults provides annual awards for college students who are battling, or have overcome, cancer and who display financial need. Applicants must have been 15-39 during active treatment or 15-39 when their parent or sibling was in active treatment.
Applications for the 2019-20 school year will open on November 1, 2018.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please email the Scholarship Coordinator at [email protected].
Offers a $3,000 scholarship twice a year to a high school graduate who is eager to pursue a college education. Applicants write an essay about their experience of living with cancer (be it their own diagnosis or that of someone they love) and why this opportunity to go to college with a ZipRecruiter scholarship is so important to the applicant and the family. The applicants can submit artwork, photographs, or whatever works to further support their interest in obtaining the scholarship. The application can be completed online and sent to [email protected]ziprecruiter.com.