Grants & Scholarships for Students of Disabled Parents

by Dr. Kelly S. Meier
Young woman smiling beside parents

Attending college opens a wide range of career possibilities, but paying for it can be a daunting proposition. Special scholarship options are available to students with a disabled parent. Creating a list of potential funding sources is a first step in your scholarship quest. Many of the required materials are consistent, so keeping copies will streamline the application process. Beginning your search for financial aid options early is critical to securing funding.

Millie Brother Scholarship

If one of your parents is deaf, the Millie Brother Scholarship is an option for both undergraduate and graduate studies. Each year, two $3,000 scholarships are awarded to selected applicants. The scholarship is for one year, but you can reapply and previous winners get priority. Required materials include an application, a two-page essay, a letter of agreement, an official transcript and two letters of recommendation.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

In 2014, the Multiple Sclerosis Society awarded over $1 million dollars in scholarships to students living with MS or who have a parent with the disease. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000 and some awards are renewable. Applications are due in early January each year and include information about financial need, academic and career goals, special circumstances, leadership involvement, academic achievement and an essay about living with MS.

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Paralyzed Veterans of America

Paralyzed Veterans of America has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships since its inception in 1986. If you’re an unmarried child of an organization member under the age of 25 and a U.S. citizen, you’re eligible to apply. Requirements include an application, personal statement, class schedule, academic transcript and two letters of recommendation. Awards of $1,000 for full-time and $500 for part-time students are given annually and you can reapply each year.

Regional and Specialty Scholarships

A variety of special foundations offer scholarship funds for children with disabled parents. For example, the Chicago Area Golf Swing Club awards scholarships to dependents of disabled veterans living or hospitalized in Illinois. Kids Chance offers scholarships for those whose parents were seriously injured in a work-related accident in South Carolina. Visit your high school guidance counselor or search online for options in your region.

About the Author

Dr. Kelly S. Meier is a professor and college administrator for a large public institution in Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from Western Illinois University and her master's degree and doctorate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has published more than 15 books on education, group development and diversity.

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