If you’re a family caregiver seeking higher education or a learning adventure, there’s good news: Financial aid for caregivers is available, if you know where to look.
Sponsors of scholarships and grants include caregiver support groups and websites, disease associations, companies and institutions of higher education.
You’ll often need to write an essay and fill out a few forms, but the reward could be well worth the time and effort. Do your homework. Check with the sponsor for the latest on eligibility, rules and deadlines — and good luck!
Scholarships are awarded twice a year for tuition, books and supplies for spouses and caregivers of post-9/11 veterans who attend accredited colleges, universities or trade schools.
Since 2008, the national nonprofit has granted 74 Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships totaling about $300,000. It awarded $15,000 to seven recipients for spring semester 2017.
How to apply: Submit documentation of veteran’s proof of service, injury or death; an original essay; questionnaire and letter of recommendation.
Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) will pay up to $1,300 toward the cost of a learning adventure program in the United States for family caregivers who are 50+. Their loved ones may be receiving home or nursing home care, hospice, visiting nurse, LPN or related services. Those who have lost a loved one in the last two years in those circumstances are also eligible.
How to apply: Applicants can choose a Road Scholar program that costs $1,400 or less, and write a statement explaining why the trip is inspiring and how being a caregiver makes it difficult to attend without a grant. Recipients pay transportation to the program and a $100 deposit. Expect a decision in four to six weeks.
AARP's Caregiving Ambassador Amy Goyer was a recipient of a Road Scholar scholarship
This year UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company, awarded 32 scholarships — typically $5,000 — to people living with epilepsy, their family members and caregivers pursuing higher education. Since 2005, the company has awarded more than $1.9 million in scholarships to more than 380 undergraduate and graduate students.
How to apply: Caregivers submit a one-page essay explaining their personal experiences with epilepsy and how the scholarship would help them, and three letters of recommendation, among other requirements.
SeniorHomes.com — a website that assists caregivers with information on such topics as health, housing and finances — offers two $1,000 scholarships for caregivers who are full-time students at a U.S. college or university.
How to apply: Applicants submit a 1,200-word essay or a five-minute video about their experience being a caregiver and student.
SeniorCare.com, a website that provides information about senior living and care options, awards an annual $1,500 scholarship to a “college student that currently cares for an aging loved one, works within the senior community or intends to pursue a career that will have an impact on the elder population.” The funds are to be applied toward “tuition, books, board and other expenses.” Incoming freshmen or continuing students at accredited two- or four-year colleges or universities are eligible.
How to apply: Submit an essay on why “Aging Matters.”
Thirteen scholarships are available for college freshmen, whose selection is based on essays they submit about their experience caring for a parent, grandparent or someone else with Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, a national nonprofit, awards the winner $5,000; first and second runners-up receive $2,500 and $1,000, and 10 honorable mentions are awarded $500 each. High school seniors who will enter a four-year college or university within the next year are eligible.
How to apply: Applicants submit an online application, high school transcript, 200-word autobiography and the 1,200- to 1,500-word essay.
Caring.com, a website that provides information and support for family caregivers, sponsors three $1,500 scholarships for caregivers who live with an aging relative and will be attending an accredited college or university in the fall term 2017. Current students as well as high school seniors who have been caregivers and intend to continue caregiving when they start college are also eligible.
How to apply: Applicants submit a 1,500-word essay or a two-minute video about how their caregiving has influenced their career goals and how the scholarship would be helpful. Deadline is June 30.