If you have a deceased parent, finding a scholarship can be an important step in affording an education. Many organizations recognize that your loss may negatively impact your ability to afford college, and there are scholarships that can help.
Scholarships for a Kid With a Deceased Parent
When it comes to being eligible for a scholarship, the specifics are important. You may be able to find scholarships by searching for organizations related to your parent's cause of death. You may also be eligible for need-based scholarships.
Aretta J. Graham Scholarship
The Aretta J. Graham scholarship is available to students attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of ACES. If you have lost one or both parents, you'll be first in line for the scholarship, but it can be awarded to students in a single parent household or single parents who are also students.
David J. Ewing Scholarship
The David J. Ewing Scholarship is available to students of the University of North Texas who have lost a parent. The amount varies based on available funds. In addition to the application, you'll need two letters of recommendation, any high school or college transcripts you have, a two-page essay that explains why you need the scholarship, and a copy of your Student Aid Report (part of your FAFSA).
Families of Freedom
The Families of Freedom scholarship was created for the dependents of the individuals killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The scholarship money can be used at technical schools, trade schools, or two-or-four-year colleges, but applicants must be registered with the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. In some cases, even graduate students will be qualified. Once you've filled out your application online, you'll be asked to mail or fax additional documents. There are two deadlines: May 15 for full-time students and a rolling deadline for part-time students or full-time students who could not meet the May 15th deadline.
MaryEllen Locher Foundation(R)
The MaryEllen Locher Foundation(R) scholarship is for full-time students at two-or-four-year schools whose mothers have either died of breast cancer or complications from breast cancer, or survived breast cancer. Grades, essays, and financial need all play into the decision to award the scholarship, and the scholarship can be renewed each year with the appropriate paperwork as long as the student is making progress toward a degree. The application can be downloaded online and the deadline is mid-January. Awards are announced in May and must be accepted in writing within 10 days of notification.
The Forgotten Dependents scholarship is for children with a deceased biological parent, or specifically a parent who lost his life while active in the US Military or is missing in action but believed to be dead. You can find the application online but will also need to complete an essay about your goals and provide two letters of recommendation, high school and college transcripts, death certificate, documentation providing proof that you were a dependent of the deceased, a copy of the military form DD-214 (if this applies to your parent), a letter of acceptance from the college, and a copy of your SAT or ACT scores. Applicants must be unmarried and between 16 and 25 years of age.
LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program
The LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program awards amounts between $1,000 and 10,000 to students who write essays or make videos about how the loss of a parent has affected their lives. They begin accepting applications in February and notify the recipients in August. If you're eligible, you'll need to fill out an application online or mail one in addition to creating the essay or video. When writing the essay or making the video, don't just focus on the immediate effects of the loss of your parent or how difficult it is to pay for college since they're gone. Be sure to cover the effects the death had on the family as a whole, how a lack of life insurance impacted the family, as well as anything you've done to alleviate stress for other family members over the years.
Other places where you may be able to find scholarships if you have a deceased parent:
Scholarships from Kids' Chance
Kids' Chance is an organization devoted to providing education assistance to the families of people injured or killed in the workplace. If your parent passed away due to a work-related accident, you may be eligible for a scholarship from Kids' Chance. To apply, you will need some basic information about your family's financial situation, a brief description of the accident, and your transcripts.
Scholarships for the Families of September 11 Victims
If your parent was killed in the September 11 attacks, you are most likely eligible for a variety of scholarships. You'll find more information about specific programs at the website of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Many scholarships are restricted to students attending specific institutions, but it is likely there is a scholarship to help anyone who lost a parent as part of the September 11 attacks.
Scholarship List from FastWeb
Although you need to register to apply, FastWeb has an exhaustive list of scholarships for children of deceased parents. Award amounts vary significantly, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Scholarships for Children of Deceased Service Members
To find information about scholarships for dependents of service members, visit Financial Aid for Veterans and their Dependents page on FinAid.gov. Here, you'll find an exhaustive list of scholarships that may apply to your situation.
Scholarships for Children With a Parent Who Has Cancer
Inheritance of Hope offers a list of scholarships for students who live with a parent who has cancer or have lost a parent to cancer. Some scholarships are geared toward a specific type of cancer.
In addition to these resources, you may be able to find information for your specific state online. Visit the website for your state's Department of Education to learn more about potential scholarships.
You can also talk to the financial aid department at your chosen school. Many schools have scholarships for students in your situation, and it never hurts to ask. If you recently lost your parent, you can bring a copy of the death certificate to your financial aid office. This loss will affect your status for financial aid and may make your eligible for additional scholarships.
Most importantly, persevere in getting information. No matter what kind of situation you're in, it takes a lot of research to find and apply for scholarships. You'll find that the financial assistance you receive will be well worth the work.