Financial Aid for Students Affected by Cancer

Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: February 9, 2015

A cancer diagnosis can cause physical, psychological, and financial strain on not only the cancer patient, but the entire family for many years. A cancer diagnosis and treatment can overwhelm a family with medical bills and increased insurance costs for years to come. At the same time, families may have a loss of income while a parent leaves work for treatment or to care for a child with cancer. For childhood cancer survivors or children of a parent with cancer, college may be viewed as a luxury the family cannot afford. Fortunately for these teens, there are quite a few organizations offering college scholarships for cancer survivors, siblings, and students with a parent battling cancer or those who have lost a parent to cancer.

If you are a student who has had a cancer diagnosis, have a parent with a diagnosis, or have lost a parent to cancer, these sites will help you find the resources to pursue your goal of a college education. If you know a student in this situation or are perhaps interested in making a contribution to one of these scholarships, check out the resources below.

FinAid is an award-winning website and a comprehensive source of student financial aid information. The site's creator, Mark Kantrowitz, is a testicular cancer survivor and has created a complete listing of scholarship aid available for students affected by cancer.

The Ped-Onc Resource Center on ACOR (Association of Cancer Online Resources) has a listing of college scholarships for childhood cancer survivors and many other resources for parents and survivors.

The CHildren's Hospital of Philadelphia maintains a list of scholarship opportunities for cancer survivors.

The Bill Z. Littlefield Scholarship for Cancer Survivors is aiming to fund a four-year fully paid scholarship, including room and board, to an Indiana University campus. 

Another great resource is the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. This group offers college scholarships to students affected by cancer, as well as support services, education, community outreach, and advocacy.


From the National Cancer Institute