Scholarships for Students with Medical Conditions

James M. Tobin
Updated July 11, 2024
Edited by
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For students with long-term medical conditions or chronic illnesses, scholarships can have a strong impact on their education path. Such conditions can limit a person’s ability to work, making it more difficult to fund higher education without outside assistance.

This page introduces specialized scholarships offered by compassionate organizations to learners with medical conditions and chronic illnesses. Use it to connect with supplementary funding sources as you pursue your educational goals.

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Where to Find Chronic Illness Scholarships

Some private donors and philanthropic organizations offer specialized chronic illness scholarship programs to students with long-term medical conditions. These programs can help eligible applicants overcome funding shortfalls and financial obstacles to higher education.

You can also find unique funding opportunities through these four sources:

  • Colleges and Universities: Community colleges and universities in your area may offer scholarships and other funding support to students with financial need.
  • Nonprofit and Professional Organizations: Nonprofit organizations, private foundations, and other community organizations across the country provide scholarships and grants to support college students with chronic illnesses and other medical conditions.
  • Local, State, and Federal Government: Government grants and scholarships can help lower your higher education costs. Funding availability, eligibility requirements, and amounts vary.
  • Employers: Your current employer may offer tuition reimbursement or other financial aid to help support your education.

Available Scholarships for Students with Medical Conditions

Below, you will find a list of active scholarships for students with chronic illnesses and long-term medical conditions. While the list contains 16 opportunities, it is not exhaustive, and other programs not profiled here may be available.

Supplement this list with your own research, and be sure to investigate opportunities that may be unique to your state, county, school district, or locality. The programs here primarily highlight scholarships operating at the national level.

How to Apply for Chronic Illness Scholarships

Providers of chronic illness scholarships and similar funding programs maintain their own eligibility criteria. Application processes vary, but many of these specialized scholarships have similar requirements.

First, personal essay components are commonly required. Essay prompts typically guide candidates to explain the challenges they have faced and/or overcome as a result of their medical status.

Second, most scholarship providers require winners to submit proof of their medical condition or diagnosis as a precondition for receiving an award. You may be asked to provide proof with your initial application, or during later stages of the evaluation process.

Also, providers often ask for at least one reference or letter of recommendation from an individual who is not related to you. This could be a current or former teacher, employer, medical professional, or community member who is qualified to verify your abilities and merits.

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