Finding great college scholarships for students living with mental illness is considerably easier today than in the past. Perhaps this is caused by the staggering number of young adults being treated for psychiatric conditions throughout the United States. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in four adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder are among the most prevalent diagnoses, which all considerably impact a student’s ability to succeed academically.
Thankfully, there are several sources of financial aid available to minimize the stress of tuition costs and remove some barriers to achieving in higher education. If you’re struggling to overcome a mental illness in reaching your professional dreams, check out the following 25 scholarships available to help get there.
1. Ann Denardo Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: December 5th
Sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Fairbanks, the Ann Denardo Memorial Scholarship is granted annually for $500 to undergraduate students majoring in any field at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks who have been treated for a serious mental illness. Eligible candidates must be enrolled full-time or part-time, maintain good academic standing, demonstrate leadership potential, submit two letters of recommendation, and write a personal essay describing their experience with mental illness.
Ann Denardo Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 756360
Fairbanks, AK 99775
2. Baer Reintegration Scholarships
Deadline: January 31st
Annually, the Baer Reintegration Scholarships are gifted for $1,000 apiece to outstanding college students who are currently receiving medical treatment for a documented diagnosis with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder. Qualified candidates must be U.S. citizens, be 18 years of age or older, enroll in an accredited on-campus credit program, show active involvement in rehabilitative efforts, submit three letters of reference, and demonstrate success in dealing with disease.
Baer Reintegration Scholarships
347 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018
3. Bipolar Lives Scholarship Fund
Deadline: June 30th
In the amount of $500, the Bipolar Lives Scholarship Fund will bestow one award each year to a student diagnosed with bipolar disorder or manic depression who is enrolling full-time in a United States college, university, community college, or vocational school. For consideration, candidates must write an original one-page academic essay discussing one important or often overlooked aspect of bipolar disorder using their own personal insights in battling the disorder.
Bipolar Lives Scholarship Fund
55 East Jackson Blvd. Suite 490
Chicago, IL 60604
4. Buckfire & Buckfire P.C. Disability Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
As a Michigan-based law firm, Buckfire & Buckfire P.C. offers an annual Disability Scholarship for $1,000 to currently enrolled college students who have been diagnosed with a physical disability, chronic medical condition, mental illness, learning disability, or behavioral disorder. Eligible recipients must be U.S. citizens, attend an accredited institution, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, have completed at least one college semester, and submit a one-page essay describing how they overcame adversity.
Buckfire & Buckfire P.C. Disability Scholarship
25800 Northwestern Highway Suite 890
Southfield, MI 48075
5. Charles A. Olayinka Scholarship
Deadline: June 30th
With the goal of raising public awareness on how negative stereotypes impact the mentally ill, the Charles A. Olayinka Scholarship is presented annually for $1,000 to deserving college students with bipolar disorder who are currently under the care of a licensed mental health professional and will be entering an accredited U.S. college. Interested applicants must write a 500-word essay discussing their experience with bipolar disorder and how they plan to improve their life through education.
Charles A. Olayinka Scholarship
8895 Town Centre Drive Suite 105
San Diego, CA 92122
6. Drake Davis Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: April 7th
Created in memory of a young athlete who committed suicide in 2006 after losing his battle with mental illness, the Drake Davis Foundation Scholarship is granted annually for graduating high school seniors who have overcome a mental health diagnosis and are dedicated to helping with the prevention of suicide. Qualified candidates must be accepted at an accredited U.S. higher learning institution, exemplify outstanding character, show leadership potential, and submit one letter of recommendation from a school official.
Drake Davis Foundation Scholarship
735 Brookwoods Trace
Atlanta, GA 30342
7. DRK Attorneys Mental Illness Scholarship
Deadline: January 16th
After working with numerous defendants suffering from mental illness, the Pittsburgh-based DRK Attorneys firm started the Mental Illness Scholarship to award $1,000 annually to college students who are currently under the care of a psychiatrist to overcome a mental health condition. Eligible applicants must be accepted at a U.S. college, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and compose a two-page essay sharing their story on living with mental illness.
DRK Attorneys Mental Illness Scholarship
428 Forbes Avenue Suite 1600
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
8. Frederick J. Krause Scholarship
Deadline: November 15th
Through the American Association Health and Disability (AAHD), the Frederick J. Krause Scholarship is presented annually for $1,000 to deserving students diagnosed with any physical, mental, or emotional disability who are currently pursuing studies at an accredited university. All applicants must be at least juniors, be enrolled full-time, have U.S. citizenship or legal residency, and provide documentation of their diagnosis. Preference is given to those majoring in a field related to improving quality of life for persons with disabilities.
Frederick J. Krause Scholarship
110 North Washington Street Suite 328
Rockville, MD 20850
9. Hannah Heltsley Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 8th
At Shoreline Community College, the Hannah Heltsley Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year for $500 to two talented students currently enrolled in one of the college’s degree-seeking programs who have been struggling with mental illness and/or addiction. Qualified candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, have completed at least two quarters at Shoreline, attach an unofficial transcript, and write a quality two-page essay on their journey with mental illness.
Hannah Heltsley Memorial Scholarship
16101 Greenwood Avenue North
Shoreline, WA 98133
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11. Incight Education Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
For residents of California, Oregon, and Washington, the Incight Education Scholarship is offered annually to provide up to $750 in financial support for those with any documented disability, including mental illness and emotional disturbance. To qualify, candidates must maintain full-time enrollment, attend an accredited post-secondary education, be working towards a degree, demonstrate outstanding community involvement, and exhibit a clear devotion to contributing to the betterment of society.
Incight Education Scholarship
310 SW 4th Avenue Suite 630
Portland, OR 97204
12. J.C. Runyon Moving Forward Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
In the amount of $3,000, the J.C. Runyon Moving Forward Scholarship is presented annually for extraordinary college students with diagnosed behavioral disorders or mental illnesses and show great motivation for succeeding at an accredited U.S. college. Along with the application, eligible candidates must provide proof of acceptance, a letter from their mental health treatment facility, two letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, and a one-page essay describing how the scholarship funding will help achieve future plans.
J.C. Runyon Moving Forward Scholarship
P.O. Box 383251
Germantown, TN 38183
13. Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health Award
Deadline: March 16th
Through the JED Foundation, the Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health Award is available each year for $3,000 to U.S. or international college students living with mental illness who wish to pay it forward by encouraging dialogue about mental health on campus and eliminate the stigma around emotional disabilities. Recipients will also be given an all-expense paid trip to New York for the foundation’s gala to have their mental health work honored.
Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health Award
1140 Broadway Suite 803
New York, NY 10001
14. Joe Cleres Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 11th
Administered by New Outlook Pioneers, the Joe Cleres Memorial Scholarship is awarded each year for $500 to $1,000 to graduating high school seniors and college students who have been diagnosed with any physical, mental, or emotional impairment. Qualified applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, be accepted at a higher learning institution, have unmet financial need, provide documentation on their diagnosis, and submit a one-page essay on how they’ve met the challenge of their disability.
Joe Cleres Memorial Scholarship
1801 California Street 44th Floor
Denver, CO 80202
15. John Weir Academic Scholarship
Deadline: March 27th
Within the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, the John Weir Academic Scholarship is gifted for $500 annually to current graduating high school seniors who are living with a significant disability of any kind, including mental illness and emotional disturbance. Eligible applicants must be accepted at a two or four-year college, maintain good academic standing, showcase community service accomplishments, submit one letter of recommendation, and reside within Washtenaw, Livingston, or Monroe County in Michigan.
John Weir Academic Scholarship
3941 Research Park Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
(734) 971-0277 ext. 17
16. Lillian Cooper Droke Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
Each year, the Mental Health America of Greater Tarrant County (MHATC) distributes the Lillian Cooper Droke Memorial Scholarship for up to $2,000 to a worthy student currently enrolled in college or technical training who has been diagnosed and treated for a mental illness. Eligible students must be U.S. citizens, reside within Tarrant County, possess a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, be in good standing at an accredited college, and write a 400-word essay showcasing their future objectives in the mental health field.
Lillian Cooper Droke Memorial Scholarship
3136 West 4th Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107
17. Lilly Moving Lives Forward Scholarship
Deadline: January 31st
With the purpose of helping people with mental illness reintegrate into society with educational and vocational skills, the Lilly Moving Lives Forward Scholarship is granted each year for $1,000 to individuals who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizophreniform, schizoaffective, or bipolar disorder. Eligible recipients must be currently receiving medical treatment from a licensed psychiatric professional, be U.S. citizens, plan to attend a college in America, and be actively involved in rehabilitation efforts.
Lilly Moving Lives Forward Scholarship
310 Busse Highway
Park Ridge, IL 60068
18. Linda Lael Miller Scholarships
Deadline: August 29th
Created by the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships are designed to financially support 10 extraordinary women aged 25 or older who have overcome great adversity to attend higher education, such as drug addiction, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness, brain injury, or tragic loss of a loved one. Recipients from the United States and Canada will receive $1,000 to cover the costs of tuition, textbooks, childcare, transportation costs, or anything else standing in the way of their education goals.
Linda Lael Miller Scholarships
19. Michael Donta Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: January 28th
Established by the Office of Attorney General in Kentucky, the Michael Donta Memorial Scholarship is named for a 24-year-old young man who lost his lengthy battle with prescription painkiller abuse by overdose in 2010. To qualify for the $1,000 scholarship, male applicants must be graduating high school seniors, reside within Kentucky, be accepted at a post-secondary institution, have experienced the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse firsthand, and carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.75.
Michael Donta Memorial Scholarship
700 Capitol Avenue Suite 118
Frankfort, KY 40601
20. Newcombe Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: May 6th
With an average amount of $1,623 apiece, the Newcombe Foundation Scholarships are presented each year for eight outstanding individuals living with disabilities, including mental illnesses, who are accepted to attend a four-year university in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York City, or Washington DC. Eligible candidates must enroll in at least six credits per term, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, demonstrate a considerable level of community service, and have financial need to offset disability-related expenses.
Newcombe Foundation Scholarships
35 Park Place
Princeton, NJ 08542
21. Peyton Tuthill Hearts of Hope Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Named in honor of a 23-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted and murdered in 199, the Peyton Tuthill Hearts of Hope Scholarship is available to provide $1,000 for homicide survivors and other victims of crime who are being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To apply, individuals must be enrolling full-time in an accredited U.S. college, have completed at least one year of grief therapy, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and write a three-page essay on how crime has impacted their lives.
Peyton Tuthill Hearts of Hope Scholarship
P.O. Box 3144
Tallahassee, FL 32303
22. Sarah Gaulin Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
Created in memory of a Paralympic athlete who died at the age of 26 after a long battle with mental illness, the Sarah Gaulin Memorial Scholarship is presented for $1,000 annually to citizens or permanent residents of Canada who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Qualified students must be accepted at any North American college, have an ongoing mental health condition for a minimum of two years, maintain full-time enrollment, and showcase a strong commitment to their academic discipline.
Sarah Gaulin Memorial Scholarship
2334 De Mexico
Laval, QC H7M 3C9
23. Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Scholarship
Deadline: May 15th
Through the State University System of Florida, the Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Scholarship is offered based on financial need to high school students applying for their first year of college who have a physical impairment, learning disability, speech/language challenge, or mental illness. Qualified applicants must reside in Florida, be accepted at an in-state public school, provide a recent medical or psychological records, submit three letters of reference, and write a personal statement pertaining to their achievements.
Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Scholarship
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
24. Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
Deadline: April 24th
Sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the Tony Coelho Media Scholarship is awarded annually for $5,000 to two students sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate students in the United States who self-identify as individuals with any type of disability, including mental illness. Eligible candidates must be pursuing a degree in communication or another media-related field, maintain good academic standing, demonstrate leadership qualities, and write two 350-word essay question responses.
Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
2013 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
25. Winslow Coyne Reitnouer Scholarship
Deadline: March 14th
Founded by Learning Ally, the Winslow Coyne Reitnouer Scholarship gifts up to $3,500 annually to graduating high school seniors and undergraduate students residing in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside, Imperial, or San Diego counties of Southern California who are diagnosed with a disability, including mental illness. Qualified individuals must be Learning Ally members, attend a public or private in-state college, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and provide documentation of their disability.
Winslow Coyne Reitnouer Scholarship
5022 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Young adults with mental illnesses are 64 percent more likely to drop out of college and become unemployed than their peers, but this statistic doesn’t have to include you. Attending college and taking advantage of the multitude of mental health services now offered on campuses is a great first step. Apply for some of these excellent scholarships for students living with mental illness to receive the tuition support you’ll likely need for building a bright, healthy future with a degree.