Cancer Can’t Stop College: Five Scholarships for Those Struggling with Cancer

While it is true that all students headed for college face difficulties and struggles along the way, students who are trying to overcome a serious or even life-threatening disease face even more challenges than the ordinary college-age person. Receiving a diagnosis of a terminal illness will often and understandably have a devastating effect on students and the members of their family. There will not only be the stress their body undergoes as it fights the disease, but there will also be the emotional stress of knowing that a once bright academic future is now tainted and questionable.

Those who are struggling to overcome terminal diseases can often believe that there is no real gain in trying to continue their academic progress. Because the costs of treatment are often very high and time-consuming, many people who suffer from a cancerous disease will frequently feel that college is no longer possible for them, let alone a priority. But the truth is that this thought process and pattern is a complete lie.

The benefits reaped both psychologically and emotionally can have a strong positive impact on a person’s recovery. If a student needs funding, plenty of advocacy groups and other organizations help terminal disease survivors and patients to get a college education. Organizations such as these will sponsor scholarships on a regular basis so that those who have terminal diseases and their family members can obtain the money that they require so that they can get or finish their college education.

A student wearing headphones and reading.

Federal Funding

The Federal Government does not fund scholarships specifically for patients or survivors of terminal diseases such as mesothelioma, but that doesn’t mean that it will be hard to get help. Because cancer patients and their families are often under considerable financial duress, these individuals will most likely be the first in the running for scholarships. The Federal Pell Grant, open to undergraduate students pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, offers $5,550 per year. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is available for those who qualify for the Pell Grant but still have considerable monetary needs. This award goes up to $4,000.

These are just two Federal opportunities for college funding. Most individuals will receive an award from the private sector, such as one of the five scholarships for cancer survivors or for those with cancer listed below.

The Survivors Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: TBD for 2020 (Opens February 3, 2020)

This non-profit charitable entity helps the survivors of diseases such as mesothelioma get the funds that they need so that they can get a full college education. There is a total of four annual scholarships awarded each year. To qualify, the individual must be diagnosed with a terminal disease or have previously had the terminal disease and be enrolled in an accredited university or college. The applicant will submit an essay which will include their life experience, as well as a full listing of their medical history. The amount of the award will vary depending on financial need and personal hardships.

The Miles of Hope Foundation

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: April 1

This foundation is a leading support group and charitable organization located in New York. This foundation provides outreach programs, peer to peer counseling and assistance for those struggling with breast disease. The foundation also awards eight scholarships each year to students who have had their lives impacted by breast disease.

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Cancer for College Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 31

The Cancer for College Scholarships awards student cancer survivors pursuing a higher education. The foundation provides many scholarships for cancer survivors, so check out their website to see which ones are available. Scholarships open November 1 and close on January 31, annually.

The Patient Advocate Foundation

Amount: Varies

Deadline: TBD for 2021-2022

They sponsor their own self-titled scholarship for survivors. The program is open to students under the age of 25 who are suffering from or have suffered a life-threatening disease.

The Danziger & De Llano Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: August 15, 2020

This scholarship is available to those who have either lived with a terminal disease or watched a loved one struggle through a terminal illness. Application requirements include an essay between 500 and 800 words, two letters of recommendation, a list of awards, honors or volunteer work, an academic transcript proving your GPA is 3.0 or higher and an official letter proving enrollment in high school or college.

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