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5 Scholarships for Rare Disease Patients

Updated: Aug 31

Yes, scholarships exist for patients and families dealing with rare diseases. Finding financial aid for college can be super stressful, but thankfully, there are many scholarship opportunities available for rare disease patients and their families. Check out this list of scholarships that cater to rare disease patients!


1) RARE Scholars


Funded by Biomarin, RARE Scholars is an annual scholarship gifted to students dealing with a rare disease to reduce their financial need for college. As stated by the scholarship's homepage, RARE Scholars strive to "empower patients with continued education by recognizing students who have demonstrated leadership and participation…."


RARE Scholars' application opens each year on Rare Disease Day, which occurs towards the end of February. The award ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the type of school the student is attending.


Eligibility criteria for the scholarship include the applicant being a high school senior, graduate, or postsecondary student diagnosed with mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS), phenylketonuria (PKU), or Botten disease.


The application closed for the 2021-2022 school year but will reopen next fall. You can find more information about the scholarship here.


2) PDSA College Scholarship Program


The PDSA College Scholarship Program provides financial aid assistance to high school seniors, college students, and adults looking to continue their education. All applicants must be diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) or a similar disorder.


The first-place applicant wins a $1,500 award, second place with a $750 prize, and third place with a $250 book award. Aside from the scholarship funds, the first-place winner will also get the opportunity to attend the ITP Conference.


The PDSA College Scholarship Program closed for the 2021-2022 school year but will reopen next March.


For those interested in learning more about the PDSA College Scholarship Program, click here.


3) The Healthline and Prevention Institute Stronger Scholarship


This year, Healthline started their scholarship, the Healthline and Prevention Institute Stronger Scholarship for minority students diagnosed with a rare disease. Three scholarships worth $7,000 were awarded to minority students addressing health inequities in their community.


While it is unknown whether the scholarship will reopen for the 2022-2023 school year, it's worth looking into for the future. Information regarding Healthline's scholarship can be found here.


4) Guthrie-Koch Scholarship


Founded in 1989, the Guthrie-Koch Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students diagnosed with phenylketonuria (PKU). Dr. Guthrie and Dr. Koch, who created the newborn screening for PKU, are long-term advocates for the rare disease, aiming to help PKU patients achieve their collegiate goals.


Eligibility criteria for the scholarship require that the applicant is an undergraduate student currently on diet treatment.


The 2022-2023 school year application opens Fall 2021 and must be submitted by February 1st of the following year.


Learn more about the Guthrie-Koch Scholarship here.


5) National Hemophilia Foundation Scholarships


The National Hemophilia Foundation provides several scholarship awards to high school seniors and college students dealing with hemophilia. Scholarship awards range from $1,000 to $4,000, with the main requirements including the applicant or the applicant’s relative being diagnosed with hemophilia.


The scholarship deadlines have passed, but most of the awards are offered annually, so apply in the future!


Check out National Hemophilia Foundation’s scholarship page here.


Many more rare disease scholarships are available to patients—it just takes a little more in-depth research to find them. However, college can be pricey, so apply to as many scholarships as possible to reduce your financial need.



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