Cancer Scholarships

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Mark Kantrowitz

By Mark Kantrowitz

November 21, 2018

More than 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. An even greater number of parents of college-age children die of cancer. Cancer is a source of stress on a family, both financial and non-financial. Cancer drains family resources that otherwise could help send their children to college. Cancer scholarships can help alleviate some of that stress.

Impact of Childhood Cancer

Less than 1% of all cancer diagnoses are childhood cancers, but still a significant number of children are diagnosed with cancer each year. The cancer incidence rates are 19.2 per 100,000 children under age 20. Even though the incidence rates have been increasing, survival rates have also increased significantly, from 63% in the 1970s to more than 88% today. Even so, the CDC reports that more than half of the children who die each year die of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common types of childhood cancers include Leukemia, Brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) Cancer, Neuroblastoma, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Wilms Tumor, Bone Cancer (including Osteosarcoma and Ewing Sarcoma), Hodgkin Disease, Rhabdomyosarcoma, Thyroid Carcinoma, Germ Cell Tumors, Retinoblastoma and Melanoma.

Scholarships for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Cancer is expensive. Often, families are forced to spend college savings and other family resources to fight the cancer, leaving the family financially devastated. More children are surviving and dealing with long-term side effects of the disease and treatment. When a parent is diagnosed with cancer, it can affect their ability to support their family. Loss of a parent to cancer can be overwhelming.

Some of these scholarships are available not just to cancer patients and survivors, but also to students whose family member was diagnosed with cancer or died of cancer. This may include students whose spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling or child has or had cancer.

Some of the scholarships have age restrictions, some based on the current age of the student and others based on the age at diagnosis. For example, the Ulman Cancer Fund requires applicants to have been 15 years old or older when they were or their parent was diagnosed with cancer.

In addition, there is a cancer deferment for federal student loan borrowers who are undergoing active cancer treatment.

Scholarships for Any Type of Cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) offers several cancer scholarships, many with geographic restrictions. Call 1-800-227-2345 for more information and other assistance.

Scholarships for Brain Cancer and Spinal Cord Tumors

Scholarships for Breast Cancer

See also the Miles of Hope and MaryEllen Locher Foundation scholarships below, which have geographic restrictions.

Scholarships for Esophageal Cancer and Stomach Cancer

Scholarships for Leukemia and Lymphoma

Cancer Scholarships with Geographic Restrictions

A good place to start:

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