20 Scholarships for Students with Health Conditions

How to Leverage Medical Challenges to Fund Higher Education

For students with medical conditions, it can be difficult to cope with the demands of managing their illness while also handling the challenges of getting a degree. The good news is, these students may be able to alleviate some of their financial concerns thanks to the numerous scholarships available to those with various health conditions. This guide provides a look at some of these scholarships, as well as advice on how to win them.

20 Scholarships for Students with Health Conditions

College students who have different medical conditions face unique challenges, but one thing they all have in common is that they are probably concerned about how to pay for their education. The following are scholarships that students with various medical issues can apply for to help them defray the cost of their degrees.

AAAI Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Allergy and Asthma Awareness Initiative Inc.
  • Category: Allergies and Asthma
  • Application Deadline: Mid-May

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This scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors in Essex County, Massachusetts who are suffering from allergies and asthma. To be eligible for this award, students must be living with food allergies, environmental allergies, celiac disease, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, asthma, or eosinophilic esophagitis.

AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability
  • Amount: Up to $999
  • Sponsoring Organization: American Association on Health and Disability
  • Category: General
  • Application Deadline: Mid-November

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This scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are living with a disability. In order to qualify, students must be enrolled in a degree program related to health and disability issues, such as public health, audiology, rehabilitation engineering, and disability policy programs.

AbbVie Cystic Fibrosis Scholarship
  • Amount: $3,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: AbbVie Inc.
  • Category: Cystic Fibrosis
  • Application Deadline: Varies

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Students with cystic fibrosis are eligible to receive this scholarship. Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate school program.

Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarships
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Law Office of David D. White
  • Category: Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Application Deadline: Early November

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Students who have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury can receive this award. The scholarship can be used for a degree program at a college, university, or trade school.

Baer Reintegration Scholarship
  • Amount: Varies
  • Sponsoring Organization: The Center for Reintegration
  • Category: Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder
  • Application Deadline: Mid- January

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The Center for Reintegration offers this scholarship to people who have been treated for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder in order to help them get an education and reintegrate back into the community. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and currently receiving treatment for their condition.

Cancer for College General Scholarship
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Cancer for College
  • Category: Cancer
  • Application Deadline: Late January

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Cancer for College provides this award to students who are current cancer patients or cancer survivors. To apply, students must be enrolled in a program at a university or community college.

Cancer Survivors' Fund
  • Amount: Varies
  • Sponsoring Organization: Cancer Survivors' Fund
  • Category: Cancer
  • Application Deadline: Mid- March

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This scholarship is available to cancer survivors who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, or have been accepted to one. Applicants must include a 500- to 1,200-word essay describing the influence that cancer has had on their life and education.

Candice's Sickle Cell Disease Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,500
  • Sponsoring Organization: Candice's Sickle Cell Fund, Inc.
  • Category: Sickle Cell Disease
  • Application Deadline: Mid-April

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Students in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York who have sickle cell disease can receive this scholarship. Winners must attend a luncheon sponsored by Candice's Sickle Cell Fund in order to claim their award.

Carolyn Wilson Dialysis Patient Scholarship Program
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: American Kidney Fund
  • Category: Kidney Disease
  • Application Deadline: Late July

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The American Kidney Fund provides this award to support students who are receiving dialysis treatments or have undergone a kidney transplant. Applicants must be residents of Louisiana, Oklahoma, or Arkansas and demonstrate financial need to qualify. In addition, students are required to have a minimum 2.5 grade point average.

Diabetes Scholars
  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Diabetes Scholars Foundation
  • Category: Diabetes
  • Application Deadline: Mid-April

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The Diabetes Scholars Foundation offers scholarships to students who have Type 1 diabetes. One award is available to high school seniors who are planning to enroll in an accredited trade school, college, university, or technical school. The other award provided by the organization is for sophomores and juniors in veterinary school.

Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Project Sleep
  • Category: Narcolepsy
  • Application Deadline: Early April

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Project Sleep established this national scholarship, which is the first of its kind, to provide awards for students with narcolepsy. To qualify, students must be graduating seniors who have been accepted to a four-year university.

Karman Healthcare Mobility Disability Scholarship
  • Amount: $500
  • Sponsoring Organization: Karman Healthcare
  • Category: Mobility Disability
  • Application Deadline: Early September

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Students with mobility challenges that require the daily use of a mobility device are eligible to receive this scholarship. In order to qualify, applicants must be enrolled at an accredited college or university and have at least a 2.0 grade point average.

Kevin Child Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: National Hemophilia Foundation
  • Category: Hemophilia
  • Application Deadline: Late June

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High school seniors with hemophilia A or B can win this award to attend a vocational school, college, or university. Applications must include letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and high school transcripts.

Mouse Hole Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Blind Mice Mart
  • Category: Visual Disabilities
  • Application Deadline: Mid-May

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This scholarship is designed for students who are living with a visual disability, as well as sighted students who have at least one parent with a visual disability. Applicants are required to write an essay that is 6- to 15-pages long detailing where they want to be in the future.

Scholarship for Survivors
  • Amount: $3,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Patient Advocate Foundation
  • Category: General
  • Application Deadline: Late March

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This scholarship is for students who have survived chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Eligibility requirements include enrollment in a graduate or undergraduate program and a minimum 3.0 grade point average. In addition, students must be under the age of 25.

Students With A Heart Foundation Scholarship
  • Amount: $6,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Students with Heart Foundation
  • Category: Heart Disease
  • Application Deadline: Early October

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Undergraduate and graduate students who suffer from a heart disease or deformity can receive this scholarship through the Students with Heart Foundation. In order to qualify, applicants must have at least a 3.0 grade point average. In addition, students must submit an essay of up to 2,000 words discussing the challenges they face because of their condition.

The Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: The Elaine Chapin Fund
  • Category: Multiple Sclerosis
  • Application Deadline: Late April

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This scholarship is for people who have multiple sclerosis, or have been impacted by the condition because a close family member has it. In order to qualify, applicants must be enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year program at a college, vocational school, technical school, or university.

The HIV League Scholarship
  • Amount: Up to $7,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: The HIV League
  • Category: HIV
  • Application Deadline: Late January

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This is an award for students living with HIV who are enrolled in a degree program on a part-time or full-time basis. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 grade point average in an undergraduate or graduate degree program.

This Is Me Scholarship
  • Amount: $500
  • Sponsoring Organization: This Is Me Foundation
  • Category: Alopecia
  • Application Deadline: Late March

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This scholarship is available for people who currently have alopecia, or was treated for it in the past. Applicants should submit a personal statement describing their experience with alopecia, as well as letters of recommendation and a resume.

Winterhoff Arthritis Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Sponsoring Organization: Arthritis Foundation
  • Category: Arthritis
  • Application Deadline: Late March

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Students with rheumatoid arthritis can receive this award. Eligibility requirements include having a minimum 2.5 grade point average and being currently enrolled in, or accepted to, a full-time degree program at a college or university. In addition, applicants must be actively involved in the Arthritis Foundation to qualify.

Expert Interview: Jason White

Jason White, author of The Medical Loophole: The Ultimate Guide to Medical-based Financial Aid, got first-hand experience with winning scholarships based on medical conditions after receiving funding for his undergraduate and law degrees because of his allergies and asthma. Since that time, he has helped dozens of students go to college for free, or at a reduced cost, based on a variety of medical conditions. He shares his experiences with us below.
How did you first learn that you could get scholarship money because you have asthma and allergies?

I learned about medical-based financial aid just after my first year of college. I had failed most of the classes in my computer science major, burned the financial bridge between me and my parents, and had to find a new way to pay for a new college major. My college had resources available in their career-planning center that informed me of the medical-based financial aid program.

How much financial aid were you able to secure based on these medical conditions? What was the application process like?

The medical-based financial aid program completely paid for the remainder of my undergraduate degree after my first year. It also paid for approximately half of my law school. In total, I was provided about $68,000. Adjusted for a typical 10-year repayment schedule, this is equivalent to about $96,000 if it were provided as a loan.

The application process for medical-based financial aid is not difficult, although it does require a little extra effort on your part. You will have to provide medical records, academic records, tax records, and show up for a personal interview. This application process certainly requires more effort than applying for a student loan, but you have to pay student loans back.

How have you been able to help students with medical conditions win scholarships?

I have assisted many students over the years in applying for medical-based financial aid. These students suffer from a variety of different medical conditions—not just allergies and asthma. Through word of mouth and my website, I frequently meet students who are searching for financial aid options that don’t include student loans. I always ask college students, and prospective college students, if they suffer from any medical conditions. On average, approximately 20 percent of all students ages 18 to 24 suffer from some type of medical condition. So quite often I meet students who potentially qualify for medical-based financial aid but aren’t aware of that fact. When I meet a student with medical conditions, I will tell them about the medical-based financial aid program and direct them to their local resources to begin the application process.

How can students with health conditions find sources of financial aid? Where should they start?

Students should begin the search for medical-based financial aid by visiting their local Vocational Rehabilitation Services office. This is a state agency that is not affiliated with any college or school. To find your local Vocational Rehabilitation Services agency, do an Internet search of the term “Vocational Rehabilitation Services” followed by the name of your city and state. Once you locate your local VR office, you can schedule an appointment with a VR counselor to see if you potentially qualify for medical-based financial aid.

What can students do to bolster their application when trying to win scholarships based on their medical conditions?

Prior to applying for medical-based financial aid, students should gather their medical records, academic records, and tax records. This will speed up the application process. Students should also have a clear understanding of how their medical condition could potentially impede their future employment because a part of the application process requires you to demonstrate your medical condition has the potential to put you at a disadvantage in the employment world. There are many jobs out there that are not very accommodating to certain medical conditions. For example, I suffer from asthma and allergies. These conditions could put me at a disadvantage if I were to take a job that required me to work in a dusty, smoky, outdoor environment. Because my medical condition could create problems for me in the employment world, I met the general criteria needed to qualify for medical-based financial aid. However, this is not the only criteria students must meet.

Finding Support in School: Resources for Students with Health Conditions

How to Spot & Screen for Child Vision Problems: This guide discusses different kinds of vision problems and how parents and educators can identify these issues. In addition, there is information on resources available to teachers and parents.

Support for Students with Allergies & Asthma: Living with asthma and allergies can affect students in several ways that may impact their academic performance, and this guide offers strategies for addressing these problems. Also, readers learn how to create a plan to keep students safe and choose products that help them manage their illness.

Managing Chronic Health Conditions in School: This guide provides information on how students with chronic illnesses—such as celiac disease, epilepsy, and diabetes—can manage their health and succeed in school.

Academic Support for Students with Serious Illnesses: Those who have serious illnesses, like cancer, AIDS, muscular dystrophy, or acute kidney disease, often need extra support to be successful in their education. This guide discusses the challenges these students may face, the learning options that are available to them, and the accommodations they are entitled to receive.

Resource Guide for Parents of Students with Disabilities: This guide provides an understanding of the legal protections that students with disabilities benefit from. Parents can get information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Higher Education for Students with Disabilities: College students who are entitled to protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 can get information about the resources available to them from this guide.

How to Support Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: This guide looks at the rights, protections, and accommodations that students with autism spectrum disorder are entitled to. In addition, there are resources for parents and advice for teachers who work with autistic students.

Support for Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries: This page includes information about types of traumatic brain injuries and how they impact students, as well as the resources they can take advantage of.

College Success for Students with Learning Disorders: Learning disorders, such as dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, and dyspraxia, can make it difficult for students to navigate their way through school. This page is designed to help people with these medical conditions find a school, get the accommodations they need, and win scholarships.