Scholarships for students who have lost a parent


Trying to navigate the college admissions process is a daunting task for most students, but for those who have lost a parent it can be even more difficult. The loss of a parent can shake a family to its core, causing both financial and emotional strain. For students, it can mean additional responsibilities that may place their futures in jeopardy; caring for siblings or taking on a job to help support their families can take a toll on students, both emotionally and academically. Thankfully, many organizations understand the complex balancing act students undertake when they lose a parent, and have stepped forward to offer their support in the form of college scholarships. Here is just a sampling of some of the scholarship programs with upcoming 2014 deadlines.

1. W. H. “Howie” McClennan Scholarship

The International Association of Firefighters provides scholarships to students whose parents were firefighters and lost their lives in the line of duty. Awards are valued at $2,500 each and may be renewed for up to four consecutive years. Deadline: February 1.

2. James F. Brynes Scholarship

South Carolina high school seniors, who have lost one or both of their parents for any reason, may be eligible for this $13,000 award ($3,250 a year). Applications are currently available, but should not be submitted before January 2.  Deadline: February 10.

3. Marilyn Yetso Memorial Scholarship

Students who live in Howard County, Maryland and have lost a parent may be eligible for this $2,500 scholarship. The loss must have occurred between their 15th and 35th birthday. Students can apply for additional funding each year. Deadline: March 1.

4. Vera Yip Memorial Scholarship Award

Students who were between the ages of 15 and 35 when they lost a parent could receive $2,500 for college through the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Students must be permanent residents or attend college in one of the following areas: Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Virginia. Deadline: March 1.

5. LIFE Lessons Scholarship

High school seniors and current undergraduate students may submit an essay or video describing how the loss of their parent has impacted their lives. Several scholarships are available, ranging in value from $2,000 to $15,000 each. Applications are accepted beginning February 3. Deadline: March 3.

6. OFA/Casey Family Scholars Scholarship

Current college students, who are 25 or younger and have lost both parents, may apply for this scholarship, if they have never been adopted after the death of their parents. Between 50 and 100 awards are available, ranging in value from $2,500 to $6,000 annually. Scholarships may be renewed for up to five additional years. Deadline: March 31.

7. Diane Dawson Memorial Scholarship

Graduating high school seniors in the Sacramento or Denver area, who have lost a parent or legal guardian to cancer during their time in high school, could be eligible to receive up to $3,000 for college. Students must have a minimum grade point average of at least 2.5. Deadline: April 14

8. American Legion Legacy Scholarship

The American Legion provides several scholarships annually to students whose parents have been killed while serving our country. The parent(s) must have died during active duty either on or after September 11, 2001. Current high school seniors or recent graduates may apply. Deadline: April 15.

9. Levitt Comninos Carlotti Foundation Scholarship

Three scholarships, valued between $1,000 and $4,000 each are offered through this program. To be eligible, students must be a current high school senior and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The parent must be deceased or currently battling a terminal illness. Deadline: May 15.

10. Children’s Scholarship Fund

The MedEvac Foundation International offers a $2,500 scholarship to students who have lost a parent due to an air medical or critical care ground support accident. The parent must have been either a ground or air medical transport crewmember or patient that lost his/her life during transport. Applications will be available in March. Deadline: June 30.

College is an enormous undertaking for many families. Students can sometimes feel as though there is no hope of attending or that it’s too much of a burden to place on the surviving parent, but there is help available. Many states provide War Orphans Scholarships to students who have lost a parent due to war or other armed conflicts. Ohio, for example, will cover up to 93 percent of a student’s tuition and general fees at a public institution. Students may also find that their college or university offers specific grants and scholarships to those who have lost a parent. Local charitable organizations and bereavement support groups may also provide assistance. Losing a parent is difficult enough; students shouldn’t have to give up their dreams of attending college, too.

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