Scholarships That Help Students Who Have Lost a Parent

Losing a parent is devastating. Scholarships can ensure you don't lose your college education, too.

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The death of a parent is an extremely difficult burden for any student to bear, especially in the context of growing up and preparing for college. Understandably, your grief may affect your ability to carry out your normal responsibilities, and your grades could suffer as a result. In reality, it will take time for you to recover and move forward.

What many people don't realize is that the death of a parent can also put a lot of financial stress on the family, leaving you to wonder how you'll pay for college with less income and support. In light of this, it's very important that students who have experienced the death of a parent seek out the many scholarship opportunities that are available to them.

[See four overlooked ways to pay for college.]

The LIFE Foundation is a great place to start when seeking out these scholarships. The Life Lessons Scholarship is geared toward college-bound high school seniors who have lost a parent. To apply, submit an essay or video about how the death of your parent impacted your life financially and personally. More than $100,000 in scholarship money is handed out to multiple deserving students, with the grand prize scholarship winner receiving $10,000. The foundation's goal is to recognize perseverance in the face of adversity. You can begin applying in February.

If your parent has been battling with or has passed away from cancer, you may be eligible for The Vera Yip Memorial Scholarship. This national scholarship provides $2,500 for students under the age of 35 who are seeking a degree at a four-year college or university. Scholarships are awarded based on a student's commitment to educational and professional objectives, medical hardship, dedication to community service, and leadership. The hope is that applicants use their experience with cancer to positively impact the lives of other young adults affected by the disease. This scholarship is presented by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, and the application deadline is May 1.

[Turn community service into college cash.]

Forgotten Dependents is an organization that offers scholarships to students who are in need of a way to finance their college education after losing a parent. It requires a 500-word essay that expresses your current goals and objectives for the future. Applicants must be between 16 and 24 years old and need to apply before April 1.

Kids' Chance is a national organization dedicated solely to educating children of injured American workers. Each Kids' Chance location is driven to provide scholarships to students who have lost a parent due to work-related injuries or incidents in their workplace. Applicants are required to submit their family financial documents, transcripts, and a description of the death or accident that took place. Scholarship amounts and deadlines vary by location.

[Read why scholarships are essential.]

Finally, if you lost a parent in the devastating terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund is an option for you. Provided by Scholarship America, this long-term scholarship fund has already distributed $74 million in scholarships and projects to provide more than $11 million dollars to 9/11 family members in the 2011-2012 academic year. It's also easier than ever to apply with the online application tool at Scholarship America's website.

Joe Marshall has interned at Scholarship America and currently attends Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he is a biology and communications double major.