Scholarships for a Kid with a Deceased Parent

Scholarships are an important step in affording an education if you have a deceased parent. Several organizations recognize that your loss may negatively impact your ability to afford college, and there are scholarships available to help.

Scholarships for a Kid With a Deceased Parent

Scholarship eligibility is based on specifics. Scholarships may be available by searching for organizations related to your parent’s cause of death. Scholarships based on need may also be available to you.

Aretta J. Graham Scholarship

The Aretta J. Graham scholarship is available to students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of ACES. A scholarship can be awarded to students in a single parent household or single parents who are also students if they have lost one or both parents.

David J. Ewing Scholarship

Students who have lost a parent can apply for the David J. Ewing Scholarship at the University of North Texas. Based on available funds, the amount varies. Besides the application, you will need two letters of recommendation, your high school or college transcripts, a two-page essay explaining why you need the scholarship, and a copy of your Student Aid Report.

Families of Freedom

For the dependents of those killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Families of Freedom scholarship was created. Scholarship funds 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. 

Graduate students may also qualify in some cases. After completing your online application, you will be asked to send 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 missed the May 15th deadline.

MaryEllen Locher Foundation(R)

A MaryEllen Locher Foundation(R) scholarship is available to full-time students at two- or four-year schools whose mothers have died from or survived breast cancer. Scholarships are awarded based on grades, essays, and financial need, and can be renewed each year with the appropriate paperwork as long as the student is making progress toward a degree. 

You can download the application online and the deadline is mid-January. In May, awards are announced and must be accepted within 10 days.

Forgotten Dependents

Forgotten Dependents scholarships are for children with a deceased biological parent, or with a parent who is missing in action but believed dead, but lost his life while serving in the US military. 

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 certificates, documentation showing you were a dependent of the deceased, a copy of the military form DD-214 (if applicable to your parent), a letter of acceptance from the college, and a copy of your SAT or ACT scores. Applicants must be between 16 and 25 years old and unmarried.

LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program

The LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program awards students who write essays or make videos about how the loss of a parent has affected their lives between $1,000 and $10,000. Applications are accepted in February, and recipients are notified in August. In addition to creating the essay or video, you will need to complete an application online or by mail if you are eligible. 

Don’t focus solely on how difficult it is to pay for college since your parent passed away when writing the essay or making the video. Discuss the impact the death had on the family as a whole, how a lack of life insurance impacted the family, and what you did to alleviate stress for other family members.

Additional Scholarships

Scholarships may also be available if you have a deceased parent:

Scholarships from Kids’ Chance

Kids’ Chance provides education assistance to families of workers who have been injured or killed on the job. Kids’ Chance may offer you a scholarship if your parent died in a work-related accident. In order to apply, you will need a brief description of the accident and some basic information about your family’s financial situation.

Scholarships for the Families of September 11 Victims

If your parent died in the September 11 attacks, you may be eligible for a variety of scholarships. You can find more information about specific programs on the website of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. 

Despite the fact that many scholarships are restricted to students attending specific institutions, there are likely to be scholarships for anyone who lost a parent in the September 11 attacks.

Scholarship List from FastWeb

Although you must register to apply, FastWeb has a comprehensive list of scholarships for children of deceased parents. There is a wide range of award amounts, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Scholarships for Children of Deceased Service Members

Visit’s Financial Aid for Veterans and Their Dependents page to learn more about scholarships for dependents of service members. We have compiled an exhaustive list of scholarships that may be of interest to you.

Scholarships for Children With a Parent Who Has Cancer

A list of scholarships is available from Inheritance of Hope for students whose parents have cancer or who have lost a parent to cancer. A specific type of cancer may be the focus of some scholarships.

Other Resources

Besides these resources, you may be able to find state-specific information online. Find out more about potential scholarships by visiting the website of your state’s Department of Education.

You can also contact the financial aid department at your chosen school. There are many schools that offer scholarships to students in your situation, and it never hurts to ask. 

You can bring a copy of the death certificate to your financial aid office if you recently lost a parent. You may be eligible for additional scholarships as a result of this loss of financial aid.

The most important thing is to persevere in getting information. It takes a lot of research and effort to find and apply for scholarships, regardless of your situation. The financial assistance you receive will be well worth the effort.

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