Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students with Diabetes

Financial aid and scholarship money are available for people with diabetes, but acquiring it requires an investment of time and patience. Whether paper or digital, there are always forms to fill out, sometimes recommendations to gather, or essays to write.

Step One

The first step for all students is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA creates a profile used to calculate a student’s ability to pay college expenses. If a student is claimed on their parent’s tax return, the student must submit the FAFSA as a dependent filer and include their parent’s financial data on the form.

The Department of Education uses the FAFSA profile to help colleges determine an individual student’s financing needs. Then, financial aid personnel can put together assistance packages of available programs that the student is eligible for. This will include federal grants (e.g., Pell, FSEOG) and state-specific college grants and scholarships.

Individuals can explore state-specific financial aid options at collegescholarships.org/scholarships/states.htm.

Scholarship Search

Diabetic students may also benefit from campus-specific financial aid, depending on what their college of choice offers. For example, the University of Florida oversees a Diabetes Scholars Program for diabetic students enrolled there, and students with type 1 diabetes can apply for the Julie Sargent Memorial Scholarship at Arizona State University. Each college financial aid office can supply information about that school’s specific scholarship offerings.

Other sources of scholarship funds are nonprofit groups and private foundations that advocate for people with diabetes. Most of these scholarships have specific eligibility criteria such as academic excellence, being a resident of a particular state, or being involved in a certain sport or program of study.

You might start your scholarship search by looking into the following awards.

  • Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards. Six annual awards of $2500 are made to students aged 12 to 21 who have diabetes and play tennis on a league or team. Apply at wtt.com (look under “events, clubs, awards”).
  • Central Ohio Diabetes Association. A scholarship for central Ohio residents/students who demonstrate an ability to effectively manage their diabetes and maintain excellent academic standards. Apply at diabetesohio.org.
  • Aimee Melissa Davis Memorial Scholarship Fund. An award given to a graduating senior with type 1 diabetes and accepted to a four-year college. Apply at austincommunityfoundation.org.
  • Diabetes Hope Foundation. Various scholarships are available for students with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Academics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and successful management of diabetes are the factors considered. Apply at diabeteshopefoundation.com.
  • Diabetes Scholars Foundation. This is a scholarship for U.S. students with type 1 diabetes. The award is not solely based on academic achievement or financial need. A student’s extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership skills, and diabetes advocacy are considered. Apply at diabetesscholars.org/college-scholarship.
  • Thomas Seefred Trust. Ohio students with type 1 diabetes who are studying for a bachelor’s degree can apply. A financial need and academic promise are considerations. Apply at seefredtrust.org.

Other scholarship opportunities to look into are found at:

  • diabetesincorporated.org/Scholarship.html
  • teamtype1.org/gasp
  • ala.org/ascla/asclaawards/asclacentury
  • senecadiabetesfoundation.org/scholarships
  • diabeteseducator.org/Foundation/Awards
  • training.nih.gov/programs/ugsp
  • orlandocriminalteam.com/ashley-rose-scholarship

Don’t Wait

If you are hoping for monetary assistance in the 2015-16 school year, the time to apply for financial aid and scholarships is now. Deadlines for applications are typically early to mid spring, or sooner.

Sources: College Scholarships; College Diabetes Network
Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 / flickr creative commons

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