Financing a nursing education can be a challenge for many nursing students. When you add in the additional expenses that can be related to having a disability and/or chronic illness, the costs can be staggering. The good news is that help is available.
Leave no stone unturned….look everywhere!
Many organizations provide lists of scholarships available specifically for students with disabilities. Here are a few examples:
- The Heath Resource Center at George Washington University provides an extensive list of scholarships.
- DisabilityInfo.gov lists financial aid and scholarships available for individuals with special needs.
- Disaboom.com provides a list of scholarships for students with disabilities.
Contact disability advocacy groups
- www.ExceptionalNurse.com, a nonprofit resource for nurses and nursing students with disabilities, awards scholarships to students with a wide range of disabilities.
Do you have a medical condition?
- CollegeScholarships.org lists scholarships for individuals with disabilities under its topic head: Health Condition. Specific categories include: AIDS/HIV, Asthma, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Leukemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Scoliosis, Sickle Cell or Tourette Syndrome.
Do you take medication?
- If you have a chronic illness and take medication, pursue scholarship opportunities offered by pharmaceutical companies. Here are two for example: 2011 Bipolar Lives Scholarship, Pharmaceutical Company Scholarships.
Do you have mental health challenge?
- Are you diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder? Consider the Lilly Reintegration Scholarship Program.
Do you have a learning disability?
Explore scholarships offered by organizations that support people with learning disabilities such as the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
Do you have a vision or hearing loss?
- Contact organizations that serve people with vision or hearing loss such as the American Foundation for the Blind and the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Do you have epilepsy?
- Scholarships are provided by pharmaceutical companies that produce anti-epileptic medications. For example, Pfizer offers scholarships to students with epilepsy.
Are you a caregiver?
- The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving supports students through the Pope Fellowship.
Think outside of the box, talk to people, visit the Financial Aid office at your college or university - and search the internet. Explore opportunities related to your gender, ethnic group, religious affiliation, geographic area, disability, or chronic illness.
Scholarship committees are impressed with essays that demonstrate overcoming adversity—so work to make your essay shine.
Organizations want to put scholarships in the right hands. With some research and an investment of your time—the hands could be yours!