College is an exciting but difficult time for almost everyone. It could be your first time living on your own, surrounded by new people and new experiences. For a person experiencing mental illness, this transition can be even more difficult.
Mental illness is common in the United States. One in five adults and 17% of those between 6 and 17 experience mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The most prevalent are anxiety disorders, which make up nearly 20% of mental illnesses in the US.
A common source of anxiety for students is money. College is expensive, so most students borrow student loans to cover tuition and living expenses. To help, some institutions offer scholarships for students with depression, anxiety, and other types of mental illness. This guide covers your options.
In this guide:
Scholarships for mental illness
Some organizations offer scholarships to students who experience any mental illness. Others are designated for those who experience a specific ailment, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder.
- Scholarships for people with bipolar disorder or manic depression
- Scholarships for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other scholarships for people with mental illness and anxiety
Scholarships for people with bipolar disorder or manic depression
- The Center for Reintegration Scholarship
This scholarship is explicitly for students who are being treated for or involved in rehabilitative efforts for their bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder. It is available to both part-time and full-time students in an undergraduate or graduate program, regardless of their course of study.
- The Jared Monroe Foundation Scholarship
This scholarship provides up to $2,300 to high school seniors and full-time college students who have been diagnosed and are currently receiving treatment for bipolar disorder.
Scholarships for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- The John Lepping Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship provides up to $5,000 to US citizens residing in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. The scholarship is available to anyone who has experienced a physical or mental disability, including spinal cord injuries, loss of a limb, or PTSD.
- The Ankin Law Office Disabled Veterans Scholarship
This scholarship is available for veterans who have a 30% disability rating. The disability can be related to PTSD, other mental illnesses, or physical disability. The scholarship offers awards of up to $1,000 to cover the recipient’s tuition payments and books.
- The Liberty University Heroes Fund Scholarship
This scholarship offers assistance to veterans pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, or a professional certificate. Recipients must meet one of the following requirements:
- Receive a Purple Heart
- Rated 50% – 100% disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs for combat-related PTSD
- Rated 50% – 100% disabled by the Department of Veteran Affairs for combat-related injuries, illnesses, or conditions
- Have a spouse killed in action during one of the Gulf Wars.
- The Colorado Technical University Patriot Scholarship
This scholarship offers assistance to a student at Colorado Technical University. Applicants should be active-duty service members or veterans who are receiving medical treatment for service-connected disabilities, such as PTSD.
Spouses and dependents of eligible servicemembers and veterans can also apply. The scholarship awards full tuition at the university, a new laptop, and copies of necessary textbooks.
Other scholarships for people with mental illness and anxiety
- The Andrew Q. Peschard Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship offers $1,000 each year to a student graduating from a high school located in San Mateo County, California. While applicants need not have received treatment for a mental health issue, the application essay should relate a life challenge that impacted their emotional and mental wellbeing.
- The Quell Foundation Survivor Scholarship
The Quell Foundation offers multiple mental health scholarships. This scholarship offers up to $1,000 to college students with a 3.40 GPA who have lost a parent, caregiver, or sibling to suicide.
- The Quell Foundation Fighter Scholarship
The Fighter Scholarship offers up to $1,250 to students with a diagnosed mental health condition. Recipients must have a 3.2 GPA and maintain at least part-time enrollment in their college.
- The Quell Foundation Student-Athlete Fighter Scholarship
This scholarship is designated for student-athletes who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. To be eligible, the student-athlete must have a 3.2 GPA. The scholarship awards up to $1,250.
- The Quell Foundation Bridge the Gap Scholarship
This scholarship supports students who attend college to pursue a degree in mental health care. It offers up to $1,500 and requires that recipients maintain a 3.7 GPA.
- The Google Lime Scholarship
A partnership between Google and the Lime Network offers scholarships up to $10,000 for students studying computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related field. Canadian students can receive up to $5,000.
- The Jack Scura Fund
The Jack Scura fund offers scholarships up to $5,000 to students attending college in New Jersey. To be eligible, the student must maintain a 3.2 GPA and have “an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability.”
- The Armando J. de Moya Scholarship
This scholarship offers funds to students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Students must have a 3.0 GPA and at least 59 credit hours to apply. Preference is given to students with volunteer work experience.
- The Tommy Tranchin Award
Students in North Texas can apply for the Tommy Tranchin Award, which offers up to $1,500 to students with a physical, mental, or emotional disability. Students between grades 8 and 12 are eligible and must submit an application that includes a proposal for an activity that will further their development in their field of interest.
- The Wells Fargo Scholarship for People with Disabilities
This scholarship is available to any student with a disability, whether it be a physical ailment or mental illness. The scholarship is available to high school seniors with a 3.0 GPA and offers up to $2,500 year for up to seven years.
- The Buckfire & Buckfire P.C. Disability Scholarship
This scholarship is available to US citizens who have completed at least one semester of college and who have received a diagnosis of disability, whether it be physical or mental. The scholarship awards up to $1,000.
- The JC Runyon Foundation Scholarship
This scholarship offers up to $3,000 to students who are attending an undergraduate program in the United States. To be eligible, the student must have completed an inpatient program at a psychiatric facility for a psychiatric disorder, substance abuse, or both.
- The JED Student Voice of Mental Health Award
This scholarship awards up to $3,000 to students with a mental illness who work on their campus to create a dialogue about mental illness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental conditions. Recipients also receive an invitation to an annual gala held in New York.
- NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
This scholarship honors Tony Coelho, a US Representative from California who authored the Americans with Disabilities Act. It offers more than $5,000 to students with disabilities who are pursuing a career in media, entertainment, or communications, regardless of their course of study or major.
- The Microsoft disAbility Scholarship
This scholarship awards $5,000 a year for four years to high school seniors with a disability, whether it is mental, physical, or otherwise. The student must declare a major in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, law, business, or a related field, demonstrate a passion for technology, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and require financial assistance to attend college.
Accommodations for students with mental health disorders
College can be difficult at the best of times, but mental illness often makes it more difficult. Even students who receive scholarships may worry about maintaining the necessary grades to retain those scholarships.
Remember, you’re not alone. Many others have and are experiencing similar struggles as you, and many colleges want to help you achieve your educational goals. To assist those with mental illness, universities offer academic accommodations for students with psychiatric disabilities.
You should look into whether your college has a Disability Resource Center (DRC) or similar office, and reach out to discuss your options. Your DRC will keep your discussions confidential and can help advocate for the accommodations that you need.
This can include accommodations and assistance such as:
- Assistance taking notes
- Additional time to complete tests
- A separate room for taking exams
- Taking a reduced course load
You should also speak to your academic advisors, so they understand your situation. They’ll be able to assist you with finding the right course of study and help you handle a leave of absence if you need to take a semester off of school to work on your mental health.
Author: TJ Porter
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