As the population of older adults continues to grow and life spans lengthen, more and more young people are taking on the role of caregiver for older loved ones. While the exact number of young people taking on this responsibility is not well understood, it’s estimated to be well over 1 million.

On top of their demanding caregiving duties, many of these young people are simultaneously pursuing high school, college or graduate-level education. Scholarships for student-caregivers help ease the financial burden faced by these extremely hardworking students.

We understand that student caregivers may not have the time to scour the Internet to find available scholarships to help them pay for college. That’s why we’re handling some of that research by compiling and updating the below list to ensure they have access to the latest caregiver scholarships and information.

Available Scholarships for Student Caregivers

Caregiving is a challenging and demanding role at any age. In addition to the time investment, a 2017 Caring.com survey found that 38 percent of caregivers spend more than 30 hours a week caring for their loved one- caregiving can also be a financial drain.

Among survey respondents, 44 percent of caregivers spend at least $5,000 per year to care for their loved one, with 25 percent spending over $10,000 annually. These challenges can be exacerbated for young caregivers in school, who already face financial constraints and busy schedules while pursuing an education.

Amount: Free attendance to a CALA conference

Description: The CALA Scholarship offers recipients the opportunity to attend educational sessions and the trade show at a CALA conference. Students will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the senior living field.

Applicant Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students in California are welcome to apply.

Application Requirements: Interested students must complete an application form and submit a resume, letter or recommendation, and a copy of their transcript, including GPA.

Where to Apply: CALA website

Deadline: The application deadline to attend the Southern California CALA conference is October 11, 2018. The deadline to attend the Northern California CALA conference is May 3, 2019.

Amount: $500

Description: The Eldercare Support Foundation has many scholarships supporting those pursuing or already working in senior care, including the General Studies Scholarship.

Applicant Eligibility: Students who are enrolled or are soon to be enrolled in an educational program for healthcare and plan to work in long-term care are eligible.

Application Requirements: Interested students must submit an application packet, a 1-2 page personal essay about their interest in the long-term care profession, and at least one letter of recommendation.

Where to Apply: Eldercare Support Foundation website

Deadline: Application deadlines typically fall in February.

Amount: Varies based on scholarship.

Description: Hope for the Warriors sponsors several scholarships for spouse-caregivers in military families. Awards are available for spouse-caregivers seeking entry level classes or training, undergraduate education, and graduate level degrees.

Applicant Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. college, university, or trade school.

Application Requirements: Applicants must submit an application form, proof of service and injury, an original essay, a two-page questionnaire, and one letter of recommendation.

Where to Apply: Hope for the Warriors Scholarship page

Deadline: Applications for the Spring 2019 scholarships will be open from August 1-September 30, 2018.

Amount: Up to $1,300

Description: The Road Scholar’s Caregiver Grants award up to $1,300 to caregivers to apply towards the cost of any Road Scholar program.

Applicant Eligibility: All unpaid primary caregivers over the age of 50 who provide daily care and support for a family member, or former caregivers who lost their loved one within the last two years, are eligible for the grant. Eligible applicants must live in the United States.

Application Requirements: Interested caregivers must complete an online application, including a 250-500 word personal statement describing why the applicant wants to participate in a Road Scholar program and how the experience will affect them as a caregiver.

Where to Apply: Road Scholar website

Deadline: Applicants are encouraged to apply approximately 3 months before their selected program start date.

Amount: $2,000

Description: The Senior Caregiver Scholarship is intended for students who currently serve as caregiver for an elderly friend or relative, or have been caregivers in the past. The award can be used towards tuition and/or books.

Applicant Eligibility: Eligible students must be attending a two or four year university at the time that the award is given.

Application Requirements: Students must submit an application questionnaire, a current transcript, and a 3 minute video. In the video, the student should share their caregiving story, including what they learned from the experience and how their caregiving experience influenced their career path and choice of college major.

Where to Apply: SeniorAdvice.com scholarship page

Deadline: Applications for the Fall 2019 award will be due in July.

Amount: $1,500

Description: The Aging Matters scholarship is available to students who currently care for an elderly loved one, work in the senior care field, or are pursuing a career that will positively impact the elder population. The award can be used towards tuition, books, room and board, and other school-related expenses.

Applicant Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be full-time students at an accredited 2 or 4 year college or university. Incoming college freshmen are also welcome to apply.

Application Requirements: Interested students must complete an application form, including a 1,000 word essay on why Aging Matters to them.

Where to Apply: SeniorCare.com website

Deadline: Applications for 2019 open in October and are due in May.

Amount: $5,000 grand prize, other award amounts vary.

Description: The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America holds a yearly teen scholarship essay contest which asks high school seniors who have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease to write about their experience and how it impacted their lives. In 2018, AFA awarded $30,000 in college scholarships to contest winners, including a $5,000 grand prize.

Applicant Eligibility: Student caregivers, volunteers, or those who have personal experience with Alzheimer’s are welcome to submit essays. Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens and entering a four-year accredited college or university within 12 months of applying.

Application Requirements: Students must submit a 1,200-1,500 word essay describing their experience with Alzheimer’s disease and how it impacted their lives, and what they have learned about themselves, their family, and/or their community.

Where to Apply: AFA Teens website

Deadline: The application deadline for the 2019 award will fall in February.

Amount: In 2018, thirty applicants will receive scholarships of up to $5,000 each, and two applicants will receive scholarships of up to $10,000 each. Amounts may vary in subsequent years.

Description: The UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship is available to those diagnosed with epilepsy, as well as their immediate family members and/or caregivers, pursuing higher education.

Applicant Eligibility: Applicants must be high school graduates or graduating in the award year, and be seeking an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate level degree or be enrolled in a trade school program at a United States-based institution.

Application Requirements: The application includes a one-page personal essay, three letters of recommendation, medical history from the person living with epilepsy, and a copy of the applicant’s most recent transcript.

Where to Apply: UCB scholarship website

Deadline: The deadline for the 2019 award will fall in March.

The Caring.com Scholarship

At Caring.com, we understand the demanding lifestyle of student-caregivers and the challenges they may face. The Student-Caregiver Scholarship provides financial assistance to students who are caring for an adult relative while enrolled in college.

Two scholarships of $1,500 are awarded each year to student-caregivers to help cover costs of tuition and books. Applicants must be full-time college students at an accredited two-or-four-year college or university in the United States, or full-time high school students who are registered to attend a qualifying institution the following semester.

How to Apply

Interested students can submit either a 1,500-word essay or a two-minute video addressing the following questions:

  • Who are you caring for and how are you involved as their caregiver?
  • How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?
  • How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

In addition to the essay or video, you must also complete the online application form below.

Eligibility Requirements for College Students

The Caring.com Student-Caregiver scholarship is open to full-time college students at an accredited two-or-four year college or university in the United States. Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Applicants must be citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States.
  • Applicants cannot be on academic disciplinary status.
  • Must not be related to or living with any employees of Caring, LLC.

Eligibility Requirements for High School Students

Student-caregivers who are still in high school are welcome to apply for the Caring.com Scholarship. Eligible high school applicants must be full-time students and be registered to attend a two-or-four year college or university the semester following their application. Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Applicants must be citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States.
  • Applicants cannot be on academic disciplinary status.
  • Must not be related to or living with any employees of Caring, LLC.

Our Judges

Caring.com partnered with several experts in the senior care field to choose this year’s winners. You can find more info about them below.

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, MSW is the founder of Jenerations Health.  A gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University, she has been featured in national media such as HLN, ABC, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Forbes.  Jennifer is also the author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One.

Jennifer is proud to recommend a new FREE Virtual Book Club based on Cruising Through Caregiving.  The Virtual Book Club for dementia caregivers is co-sponsored by Seth & Lauren Rogen’s non-profit Hilarity For Charity and Oasis Senior Advisors and begins on May 15, 2019.  To register, go to www.cruisingthroughcaregiving.com.

Kay Paggi is a Certified Care Manager and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has been a professional member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) since 1994. NAPGCM changed its name to Aging Life Care Association in May 2015.

Kay currently serves as the Membership Chair of the South Central Chapter of the Aging Life Care Association; She was the secretary from 1997-2001. She has been in private practice since 1995. She has conducted seminars that she developed on Caregiving privately as well as through Richland Community College and Collin County Community College. She is the creator of ‘Mental Aerobics’ and presents sessions at various communities in Dallas. She continues to facilitate a support group for caregivers that she started in 1989.

Tina M. Marrelli, RN has a vast amount of experience in the home healthcare industry and is the best selling author of the book, A Guide for Caregiving: What’s Next? This in-depth guide assists caregivers in learning how to care for loved ones and friends. In it, Tina tackles subjects like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, medication management, and end-of-life, palliative, and hospice care. This book seeks to make healthcare understandable for caregivers who are faced with advocating for their friends or loved ones.

Previous Winners

Catherine Ironbar is a student at University North Texas Health Science Center who is studying pharmacy and acting as a caregiver for her brother. Catherine was among the more than 950 student caregivers who applied for the latest round of scholarship grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just two winners.

This is her caregiving story, submitted with her scholarship application.

Heather Elliott is a student at Hartnell College in Salinas, California who is a single mother studying to be a paralegal and caring for her own mother, as well as for an elderly woman and her daughter. Venus was among more than 950 student caregivers who applied for the latest round of scholarship grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just two winners. This is her caregiving story, submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

My name is Heather Elliott. I’m 29 years old and am taking care of many people in my life. In 2014, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and began treatment, and by the end of 2015, she had surgery and was officially cancer-free.

In the years after the surgery, my mom has experienced some complications. I’ve been taking my mother to all her appointments, going to her house every day to clean, run errands, cook and help with whatever she needs since she can barely walk and is still in a great deal of pain.

While all of this is going on, I’m also working part-time as a caregiver for an amazing elderly woman who was recently diagnosed with dementia. I started working for her a year ago as a personal assistant and helping with her businesses and rentals, but because of my professional background, her daughter wanted me to transition into her caregiver.

I go in everyday and clean her house, take her to appointments, make sure she’s taking her medications, go for walks with her, prep meals and basically everything a caregiver does, aside from helping her bathe, dress, etc. because she’s not at the stage where she needs that kind of help yet.

This woman has a son who’s a police officer and has taken on handling her finances, so he cannot be there to care for his mother. Her daughter doesn’t work because she has Stage 4 ovarian cancer. A few months ago, the daughter asked if I could help care for her too, since she is not doing well. She’s about 45 years old with a 7-year-old son and is dying of cancer.

I love her and her mother so much that I agreed to take on the responsibility of caring for her, too. I have worked for her for a couple months now and go to her house daily to clean, cook, help her with her son and whatever she needs me to do. I basically have two official caregiver jobs, in addition to taking care of my mother and two children of my own; a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old.

How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

As a single mother working part-time, this scholarship would be very helpful. I’m a very busy woman, yet I only work about 30 hours a week and am not well paid for what I do. I am unable to work more hours because my schedule has to fit my kids’ school and activities schedules as well as time for my own studies.

I live alone and have been struggling to cover all of my bills. I mentioned all of the people I’m currently taking care of, but I failed to mention that the one person I’m neglecting is myself. I always make time for others and care for many people on a daily basis. From about 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day, it’s all about others. I rarely have time to myself, and when I do, it’s spent doing homework, cleaning, laundry, etc.

If I were given this scholarship, I would use it to catch up and on my bills so I could afford to have some time off — not a lot, but enough to keep my sanity. While I love taking care of others and helping in any way I can, I’ve been doing that for so long and on such a constant basis that I feel I’m getting burnt out. I’m constantly tired, overwhelmed and stressed about bills, and when that happens I cannot be the best caregiver I have the potential to be. Like everyone, I need some time to myself.

Sara Feldman is a student at the University of Michigan earning a Master of Public Health degree while providing care for her mother. Sara was among the more than 250 student caregivers who applied for the latest round of scholarship grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just two winners. This is her caregiving story, submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

In December 2016 I moved my mother across the country to live with me, as the friend she was living with did not realize the level of support my mother actually needed, and was overburdened. Shortly after, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Part of me, and part of my mother as well, expected this diagnosis. Hearing these words, “Alzheimer’s disease,” however is something that hits like a thousand punches to your innermost core.

I entered my second year of my Masters program grieving, worried and in crisis mode. Alongside acknowledging that I am losing more of her each day, I was also forced to evaluate how to be a student while also being a caregiver.

Over the past five years, my mother’s cognitive capacity has slowly and progressively declined. Initially she forgot to file her taxes, pay the bills, close the doors to her house or car and failed to remember details of conversations. Forgetting appointments or meetings with friends became common. She misplaced things, later blaming others for taking those misplaced items.

Slowly, events such as these prevented her from working. Other critical aspects reflective of her cognitive decline included leaving the stove on after cooking, putting things in odd places (like a bowl of soup in a sock drawer), becoming more socially withdrawn and being unable to initiate contact via phone or email, forgetting to close the refrigerator or freezer door and experiencing incontinence.

As a result, providing care for her involves proactively thinking ahead to avoid having to reactively cope with situations and circumstances gone awry. That means I do a variety of things to ensure her wellbeing and safety. I prepare all meals, manage all bank and financial accounts, write and call her friends, arrange days for her to be with friends we’ve made in our community, close drawers after they are left open and hide medicine and household chemicals to prevent her from consuming them by accident.

Creating consistent walking routes, routines, sleep schedules, eating schedules, and any routine is where she thrives. Every day, every minute, and every action is thought out to keep her safe. The most time-consuming, however, is just being there. Being with my mother is critical, and this involves time, energy and stamina.

As a student, I spend my days focused on my schoolwork as she attends a day program for women with dementia. But once I walk in the door, my focus is not on studying, or completing homework. It’s being with her. Physical contact and sitting near her is comforting.

Exchanging stories and engaging in conversation are critical to enable her to feel heard and connected. This is what providing care to someone with Alzheimer’s is all about. Being there. Providing comfort. Reassuring her when everything around her is changing and becoming unfamiliar. It’s rewarding, yet it carries a heavy, continual presence.

How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?

Significant attention needs to be paid to quality of life and quality of care for people with dementia of diverse backgrounds in institutionalized assisted living and nursing care centers, especially given the increasing aging population as a result of the Baby Boomer generation, who are increasingly being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

As I move forward, I hope to enhance our understanding of how to improve the quality and value of care provided to adults with dementia and promote quality of life among diverse populations.

Claire Buonocore is a student at Marymount Manhattan College who is studying politics and human rights and acting as a caregiver for her father. Claire was among the more than 250 student caregivers who applied for the latest round of scholarship grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just two winners.

This is her caregiving story, submitted with her scholarship application.

Venus Tadrzak is a student at Cleveland State University who is studying accounting and caring for her mother, aunt and their pet cats. Venus was among the nearly 250 student caregivers who applied for the latest round of scholarship grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just two winners. This is her caregiving story, submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

A few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She underwent surgery to have it removed. The surgery was successful, but left her with mobility, memory and mood control issues. Later, she suffered a stroke that exacerbated those issues and left her with extreme tremors on her right side. While my mother was recovering from surgery, but before the stroke, my grandmother passed away. She had been caring for my aunt (my mother’s twin), who suffers from schizophrenia.

After my grandmother’s death, my aunt moved just down the hall from us, so that she would continue to have someone to look out for her. I am in charge of the entire household and all necessary decisions. I perform all cleaning, cooking, shopping and laundry duties. In the morning, I assist my mother with washing up and getting dressed. Then I prepare breakfast for everyone (including seven cats) and crush up my mother’s medications, since she cannot swallow pills.

After everyone is settled, I get ready for class. Since none of us learned to drive, I take a one-hour bus ride to the University. During my lunchtime, I can be found on the phone ensuring that everyone is all right, my aunt included. I also often use that time to make any needed doctor’s appointments, to clarify any medical directions or discuss veterinarian appointments and issues, especially since one senior cat suffers from epilepsy. In the early evening, I catch the bus and stop at the store for any needed supplies.

Once I come home, I start dinner and any necessary cleaning. I sanitize the bathroom floor twice a day due to accidents. After dinner, I crush up my mother’s nighttime medications, wash the dishes, prepare the cat’s medication, help my mother undress and study for classes. Since my mother is often too tired at bedtime, I will spoon feed her the pills in applesauce or pudding. If my mother wants to venture outside, she requires a manual wheelchair, but our apartment has outside stairs. Because of this, I will half-carry her down the stairs to the sidewalk where the chair is waiting, which is not easy since she outweighs me. After that, I wheel her to wherever we are going, a task made more difficult by uneven sidewalks.

I am responsible for making budgets for both households and stretching fixed incomes to ensure that all bills are paid. I have become the resident teacher for both my mom and aunt when it comes to using all technological devices (computer, cell phone, etc.), as well as maintaining them. My mother qualifies for various social programs, so I complete all applications for her and contact each of her workers. She receives mail-order medical supplies, which I monitor and reorder as needed.

I enjoy taking care of my mother, aunt and our cats. The hardest part is that I also have issues with major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic attacks, but I know that nine other lives depend on me.

How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?

After much soul searching, I reached one conclusion that may seem completely off-track, but I found that it is the best way for me to help others. My absolute greatest strength, my refuge, and my utmost interest is in the realm of numbers. I find myself striving for the highest potential when I am organizing the household budgets to provide the best possible outcome for everyone that allows for extra-curricular activities.

The path I chose was accounting. I want to volunteer for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), to assist them in stretching their donations for the highest return. I want to donate my time to help lower-income seniors file their tax returns and receive the most in rebates. I want to assist those at the bottom to organize their finances so they can enjoy something as simple as a movie or dinner out.

Hunter Johnson is a student at Clemson University who is studying health science and caring for her brother, who has severe autism. Hunter was among the nearly 250 student caregivers who applied for the latest round of scholarship grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just two winners. This is her caregiving story, submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

My name is Hunter Johnson and I have been caring from my brother, Kyle, who is now 20 years old, from the time I was 14. My brother was diagnosed with severe Autism when he was 2 and a half years old and epilepsy at11 months old. I began caring for him because both of my parents had to work full-time jobs in order to pay for all of the medical expenses and therapy expenses that are associated with raising a child with severe medical conditions. I had to give up all-star and school cheerleading as well as the majority of any extra-curricular activities that I was involved in to become my brother’s caregiver, but it was something that I gladly did.

My brother needs care in all aspects of his life, so I am there to help him dress, bathe and brush his teeth. I prepare his meals and make sure to cut his food into bite-size pieces so he doesn’t choke on them, and I change his diapers and ensure that he has a wonderful, fun day filled with love and adventure. I take him out every day to make sure that he gets to enjoy the fresh air and the wondrous activities that nature provides.

While it can be a challenge to care for my brother as he has some very severe behavioral issues, it has been a blessing to grow up beside my very best friend and to be able to teach him simple things like how to place his dirty clothes in the laundry basket or how to put his socks in the correct drawer, things that other people take for granted. I get to ensure that he has a safe place in this world where he is always accepted and is never judged for what he “lacks” because in the eyes of myself and my family, he lacks nothing.

How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?

I believe that my role as a caregiver has directly influenced my chosen career path. Very early on, my dream was to be a veterinarian. I felt that since animals had no “voice,” they needed someone who could be that voice for them. After having had the opportunity to be a caregiver to my brother, I realized that like him, there are many people who have no voice, and that made me want to be a voice for children.

Initially, I was hoping to become a special education teacher, but over time, I realized that the medical needs of my brother were very overwhelming for some people and that pushed me in the direction of where I really want to go, and I am now working towards being a pediatric nurse specializing in oncology. I am so grateful that in caring for my brother, I found my true calling.

How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

If I was awarded this scholarship, it would not only help me, it would help my family as well. It would allow me the time to continue on as a caregiver for my brother as I would not have to obtain an additional job in order to help with college expenses. It would allow my brother the opportunity to continue to be cared for by someone who has his best interests at heart and who will make sure he receives the services he so greatly needs and deserves.

It would give my parents the peace of mind knowing that their son is being cared for by someone who will make sure he is safe and happy, because that is one of the biggest fears there is; allowing someone to care for your child who might potentially abuse them, which is very prevalent in the disabled community. I am the first in my immediate family to be able to go to college, and this scholarship would allow me the opportunity that my parents did not have, to pursue the career of my dreams and make sure that I have the opportunity to do what I love, which is being the caregiver my brother needs.

Tommy Tran is a student at the University of Houston who is studying biotechnology and is caring for his father, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Tommy was among more than 950 student-caregivers and 25 finalists who applied for the latest round of scholarship grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just three winners. This is his caregiving story submitted with his scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

My name is Tommy Tran. I’m 17 years old and I am taking care of my dad who has terminal cancer. During my sophomore year of high school, my dad was hospitalized unexpectedly due to an enlarged prostate. His enlarged prostate caused a urinary tract infection, which found its way into the bloodstream and migrated throughout the body (known as sepsis or septicemia), and affected his heart and spine.

The days leading up to his hospitalization, he could not sleep at night because the pain was constant and excruciating. I encouraged him to seek medical aid, but he refused since we couldn’t afford the medical expenses. Every day, I could see my dad’s health deteriorating. He finally was admitted to emergency care a few days later. I remember his urine bag being as red as watermelon juice due to the blood in his urine. He was not eating and was loaded on painkillers. I had to empty his urine bag every half hour since my dad was on lots of intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. He was very pale and remained unresponsive most of the time.

The neurosurgeon removed the infection pressing on the spinal cord in a high-risk, last-minute procedure. Although the infection to the spine was cleared, a doctor explained that an MRI scan showed that the infection originated in the heart and was circulating the bacteria throughout my dad’s body. He could not walk or stand up on his own, so I helped him to his wheelchair and walker anytime he needed anything. My dad was finally discharged a month later, diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer.

The medical bills came and we were unable to pay them. Not only were we financially struggling, but our family began to fall apart. My dad became depressed and contemplated suicide. I consoled and reminded him that he is my best friend and that is very important to me. I continued to help my dad with his daily functions such as eating and emptying his bladder with a catheter until he could have an operation to remove any blockage of the urethra.

The urologist explained that he could not remove my dad’s prostate since the cancer had already spread to other areas of the body via the lymph nodes. Instead, my dad was put on radiation, hormones and chemotherapy treatment. The side effects of the cancer treatment included hot flashes, hair loss, weight loss, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

I was lucky enough to be able to cook his meals, help him shower, give him his medications, mow the lawn, pay the bills, pick up his medications and more. After finishing all of his treatment, the oncologist gave him a terminal prognosis. I try to give as much mental support as possible since coping with the end of life is tough. Despite the inevitable, we always remind each other to stay happy with what remaining time we have together.

How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

This scholarship would help me and my family tremendously. It would help me pursue my undergraduate studies as a biotechnology major towards medical school. This scholarship would cover textbook expenses and any other fees that I might encounter in my first year of college. If my dad were to hear that I got a scholarship, he would be so proud and delighted. Having the scholarship might help me focus more on my studies and classes in college by reducing the amount of time I have to spend working.

Jessica Jacob is a student at Adelphi University who is pursuing a nursing degree and caring for her mother, who is paraplegic. Jessica was among more than 950 student-caregivers and 25 finalists who applied for the latest round of #CaringScholar grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just three winners. This is her caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

I am a caregiver for my paraplegic mother. On November 15, 2015, a drunk driver rammed into my family’s car and caused a devastating accident. My mother endured the most injuries out of all of us; she was sleeping across the back seats without a seatbelt on, so she was thrown onto the floor of the car, which resulted in a spinal cord injury and paraplegia.

After the accident, my mom was on a ventilator for a month in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Oklahoma where she endured multiple surgeries. She was then flown to an ICU in New York for another month and then stayed in a rehab for almost 3 months to learn how to live with her new disability and how to breathe on her own. I stayed with her during each step of the recovery process and traveled every single day to be by her side — the nursing staff and employees at each facility knew me by my name.

My mother’s paraplegia from her spinal cord injury left her wheelchair-bound and incontinent, and on top of her spine injury, she had numerous fractures that left her unable to do simple things like open a water bottle or comb her hair. This is where I came into play, doing little things to help, like positioning her comfortably in bed, fanning her when she felt hot and overall doing my best to keep her mood up.

I care for my mother in multiple ways – I’m her nurse who helps with her incontinence by catheterizing her four times daily and using an enema to empty her bowels. I clean her up if she has accidents and bathe her daily. On top of being her nurse, I’m also responsible for keeping track of her medicines, knowing when they needed to be administered and giving them to her. I’m in constant communication with the pharmacy and medical supply companies, because I keep track of ordering her prescriptions and medical supplies.

I am also my mom’s secretary, because she’s had more than 5 doctors to follow up with after coming back home, so I schedule her appointments for her. I have arranged her transportation, and accompany her on each trip, among other responsibilities. I also provide emotional support and try to make her as comfortable as possible, since she’s still adjusting to life as a disabled woman. I am a relatively young caregiver — I was only 19 when I began caregiving and I base my schedule and social life around my mother because she’s my primary responsibility.

How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

Unfortunately, my mother was my only parent employed at the time of the accident, and now that she is disabled we are solely living off of her disability income, which is a significant reduction from what she was earning. I attend Adelphi University, a private college in New York that raises tuition each year. I have some scholarships, but my family still has to pay a hefty amount out of pocket each semester, and that cost will only rise until I graduate.

I work part-time in an ophthalmology practice to support my family, along with being in school full-time and being my mother’s full-time caregiver. The stress of juggling work, caregiving and studying has definitely been stressful and taken a toll on my quality of life, since I tend to stress over deadlines and assignments, and have very limited time to divide between caregiving, personal needs, and school work.

I’m especially nervous because this upcoming semester, I won’t be able to work because I have to take extra classes to maintain progress in my program and graduate on time. I am unsure how we can afford to pay for my tuition, because I want to avoid taking on loans and I also want to devote my limited free time to studying. I came across this scholarship opportunity and was in shock, because it’s an opportunity to help my family have one less thing to be concerned about.

We have multiple bills to pay due to the accident, along with costs for my mother’s health and wellness. In addition to these expenses, the cost of living here in New York is quite high. My out-of-pocket tuition costs would be significantly reduced with the help of this scholarship, and it would provide me with the time I need to devote to studying that I would not otherwise have if I were working. I want to be able to maintain my grades so I can achieve my goal of becoming a nurse to help others and make my mother proud.

DreAnna Perry is a student at Brigham Young University who is studying exercise physiology and is caring for her mother, who suffers from a number of chronic health conditions. She was among more than 950 student-caregivers and 25 finalists who applied for the latest round of scholarship grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just three winners. This is her caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

I have been caring for my mother, who is turning 58 in December. I’m the youngest in my family and the only one who is still living with her. I’ve had the opportunity to care for both her and my grandma during my last two years of high school while my mother and I were in a transitional state of residence and had to live with my grandmother, who was in the middle-to-late stages of dementia.

My mother has accumulated several health problems due to her being victim to 40 years of a very abusive marriage. Some of the conditions she suffers from are depression, forgetfulness, a left ventricle heart ablation, arthritis, gout, and chronic headaches, to name a few. I have been there to assist her with the things she struggles to do on her own due to some of these conditions.

She broke her knee during the last 5 months of my time studying at a technical school for massage therapy, and since then my responsibilities have increased significantly in assisting her with more of her basic needs such as helping her get motivated in the morning due to depression, helping her get up and down stairs due to arthritis in both of her knees and her broken knee, transporting her, reminding her to take her medications and to eat at the appropriate times, picking up her medications, reminding her of important appointments and offering supportive motivation.

I have been her caregiver for most of my teenage years, since my older sister moved out when I was 14. I love my mother and all of the service she has offered me without the expectation of any repayment. I feel it is my responsibility to follow in her footsteps and love unconditionally by helping her through this part of her life. It hurts me to see her struggle to do things on her own, because she is a very independent woman and struggles to accept help.

My mother is such a great, intelligent, wise and kind-hearted woman and I love to see her happy. It’s hard for me to see her think that she is less than that because she is a little more reliant on others to help her do what she would’ve done on her own if she were still in her dysfunctional marriage.

How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

If I received this scholarship, it would help me achieve my education goals without causing me to lack on my responsibilities as my mother’s caregiver. My mother has put so much pressure on herself to help me afford college, because she wants only the best for me. Due to my mother’s limitations, she is unable to work and help me financially.

I don’t want to cause her stress or for her to think that she is less of a mother because she’s unable to help me with the expenses of college, as she was with her other children, my siblings. Receiving this scholarship will help me succeed in both my role as a caregiver and as a devoted student. I don’t know about you, but a win-win situation sounds like a great deal to me.

Rachel Elibri is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University who plans to pursue a career in nursing and is caring for her father, who suffered from a brain injury. Rachel was among more than 725 student-caregivers and 25 finalists who applied for the latest round of #CaringScholar grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just three recipients. This is her caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application.

How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?

My dad suffered a traumatic brain injury when I was 14, exposing me to many medical professions and facilities. I witnessed a variety of procedures and asked questions to better my understanding of his condition and recovery. I helped the nurse stir the liquidized meals that we would insert directly into my dad’s stomach through a surgically created hole. It was intriguing, not only the treatments, but also the relationships I built with nurses and patients. Being immersed in my dream atmosphere confirmed the passion streaming through my veins since I was a young girl. With each handshake, I learned more about the myriad of fields to which I desire to devote my life.

Over time, I understood what we each shared. We are laced with the same drive, stitched with a similar sincerity to help and heal. As my dad was transferred from hospitals and assisted living homes, I naturally got involved with the other patients, both the physically and mentally ill. I wanted to become knowledgeable of each condition I encountered. Most of the patients I met could no longer speak and used other modes of communication. There, I dedicated myself to bridging the communication gap by learning and teaching sign language. All of my life experiences as a caregiver have contributed to my insatiable desire to pursue a career as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. When the time came to decide where to further my education, I researched and ultimately committed myself to Virginia Commonwealth University.

How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

My father did not have health insurance when he suffered the traumatic brain injury. All of his bills and additional needs come out of the pocket of my family. My dad requires a significant amount of care to prevent him from losing his progress physically and mentally. He needs occupational, physical, and speech therapy. He requires a wheelchair, eye patch, and walker.

My mom has provided for my sisters and I for the last two decades by herself. At times she has worked three jobs, while receiving our groceries from the local church. She currently has three children in college. She is truly inspiring, as she has always ensured we have everything we need. I have had a job since the legal age of employment in Virginia. At times, I have worked two jobs while pursuing my education.

I currently work as a care partner in an intensive care unit to help pay for my tuition, rent, and additional academic needs. I often have to work consecutive 12-hour shifts in order to make ends meet for my family and myself. This scholarship would make balancing being a student-caregiver more reasonable. This scholarship would allow my mom to breathe. It would make it possible for me to work a little less and pursue my degree in nursing.

Nicole Gambetta is a student at University of Central Florida who plans to study physical therapy and is caring for her father, who suffered a stroke. Nicole was among more than 725 student-caregivers and 25 finalists who applied for the latest round of #CaringScholar grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just three recipients. This is her caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

I became my father’s caregiver on October 17, 2014, which is the day my father suffered from a stroke caused by an aneurism in his brain. It all started right then and there from the moment he was rushed into an emergency surgery to stop the bleeding in his brain, to the weeks of him being in a coma after his surgery. During this time I was enrolled in my fall semester as a full time student, but I had to also be at the Orlando Florida Hospital every single day and night to be by my mothers side who does not speak English, and to be there for my dad to make sure he was receiving the proper care that he needed while he was in this coma state.

Even though I had all the responsibilities of school and being with my mother so that she understood what was going on with my dad, I also had to learn that bills were still coming in and someone had to pay them. I had to make sure every bill was taken care of, but I had never paid any of their bills so I had to learn how to pay them and when to pay them.

When my father woke up from his coma we were told that he was disabled because of the fact that he did not know how to speak, write, read, and wasn’t fully there with part of his brain being affected from the bleeding and the stroke. Before the stroke my dad was the only working person in our household, so we began to struggle financially because of all the money being used for bills, medications, and other expenses.

My mom and I handle taking care of my dad’s needs that I can’t do on my own like bathing him, and feeding him. I take care of all of my parent’s bills and together there are so many, I drive them to appointments as well as schedule their doctor’s appointments, I took care of doing all the applications that had to be filled out in order for my dad to apply for disability and any other form of government help, I make sure to give my dad his medications everyday at a specific time, I keep track of his blood pressure and make sure that his sugar is at a good level, I do anything to make sure my dad is getting the help he needs to recover and to make sure that he is healthy.

It has been a stressful and busy year with handling so many things all on my own and trying to continue to be a full time student. I can say that there have been times where I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to do it all and I felt overwhelmed with my situation, especially since I had never had so many responsibilities put on me all at once, But I did my best to maintain a positive outlook on things and continued to push forward because I knew I had to not just for myself but for my parents as well.

How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

This scholarship would be a tremendous help for my expenses for the incoming summer and fall semester. It would help me pay for my books, test that I have to pay to take, and the remainder of what I have to pay for my classes that my financial aid doesn’t cover. Ever since my dad was left disabled he of course was told that he was not able to work, him being the only income for our household previous to his stroke has really caused a financial hardship for my family and I.

Judy Lucente is an incoming freshman at California State University San Marcos who is majoring in psychology and caring for her father, a disabled cancer survivor. Judy was among more than 725 student-caregivers and 25 finalists who applied for the latest round of #CaringScholar grants, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just three recipients. This is her caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

My name is Judy Lucente. I am an 18-year-old girl from southern California. I will be attending California State University San Marcos in the fall of 2016 to study psychology. I have been my father’s caregiver since I was eight years old. My father, Brad, is 54 years old and disabled. When I was two years old, my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, a type of cancer that is almost impossible to beat. After months of chemo and radiation he was cancer free. There is only a four percent chance the survivors of esophageal cancer will survive five years after becoming cancer free. This is because of the huge toll it takes on the body. During cancer my dad lost a dangerous amount of weight. He was unable to eat and had a feeding tube. The cancer had spread and half of his stomach was removed. His body was producing enough stomach acid for a full stomach, causing him to feel sick lots of the time and be unable to eat. His health was not great, but it was was better than still having the cancer.

Five years cancer free was a cause for celebration, he had made it. The happiness was short lived though. Just weeks after, my dad came home from golfing extremely sick. That night he was rushed to the hospital and went into cardiac arrest and died. He was revived and put into an induced coma. He had severe pneumonia that was spreading rapidly. His body was trying to fight off infection while keeping his heart and brain alive. All of his blood drained from his hands, feet, nose, and ears causing them to die. My mom was left with the decision of amputating his hands and feet or letting him die. His ears and nose were saved, but he lost both his hands and feet. I was only eight years old.

When he became healthy enough, he was moved to a nursing home. Here he would learn to walk again with the help of prosthetics. That was the beginning of a long road. Around this time my parents filed for divorce. My mom moved out and when my dad returned home I was left to take care of him.

During his second sickness, the pneumonia, my dad had more of his stomach removed. He now had a quarter of his stomach, and no appetite at all. He weight no more than 120 pounds to this day. He suffers from phantom limb pain, acid reflux, anxiety, and depression. He has a very compromised immune system, allowing the common cold to become much more.

Beginning at age nine, I basically became a parent. I took care of my dad who was always sick and in pain. I cleaned, did laundry, packed lunches, and more. It was difficult to say the least. I do not remember my life before my parent’s divorce. I don’t remember getting to be a kid and play in the neighborhood.

I have gained so much from seeing a therapist. It has helped me get through the hard times, embrace the good times, and prepare myself for the future. I don’t know what I would have done without someone to confide in. Let’s be honest, being your father’s caretaker is not all rainbows. Years later I am so thankful for everything I have gone through. I would not be the person I am today if none of these things had happened. I was forced to fight through it all and I am a better person because of it. The traumatic events I have gone through in my life have taken a toll on me as well.

I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This has been a setback but has also improved my own work ethic. Caring for my father, being in school, and having a job is very hard, but I have made it work. My dad has been strong through everything, so I have to continue to stay strong for him. I love my dad and I would give anything to make him happy. He is my idol. Taking care of him has become a part of me. I am a caregiver naturally. This is why I am going to school to study psychology. I want to become a therapist. Family, marriage, and teen. It’s hard and sometimes it seems impossible to keep going. I want to be that safe place for others going through hard times. A safe room to go to to spill out problems and rejoice the good things in life.

Ed Makowski is a student at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee who is majoring in journalism and caring for his brother, who has Huntington’s disease. Ed was among more than 1,400 student-caregivers who applied for the #CaringScholar grants in the fall of 2015, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just three recipients. This is Ed’s caregiving story submitted with his scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

My brother Ken and I are three and a half years apart. Since he was more athletic and I was more social my mom joked that I’d be his agent someday. But in high school my mother saw him fall over during a basketball game when nobody was near him. He just lost his balance and fell over. She got that sinking feeling, the same feeling she’d had with my dad. Several years earlier, when my father was in his late 30’s, we were on the way to one of my dad’s softball games. My father was driving, and my mother noticed his left foot gently twitching up and down. She tells me that she knew at that moment my father was developing Huntington’s, the same disease his mother had.

If one of your parents has Huntington’s disease, you have a 50% chance of developing it. Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder. A person with HD gradually loses the ability for their body to do what their brain is telling it to do. A person with HD loses coordination, the ability to think critically and solve problems, and also often develops obsessions and dementia. Ken, unfortunately, has a pretty early onset. He quit working and has been on disability since he was in his mid-20’s, when he moved in with me.

Right now, to someone unfamiliar with the disease, Ken probably just looks a little drunk. His balance is compromised, his coordination looks awkward, and his speech is slurred. Ken’s body is intoxicated, but not with booze. The biggest thing I’ve tried to do is create an environment where Ken can have as much freedom as possible throughout every day of his life. That was and continues to be my goal when considering how I can help him the most. When shopping for a house, I looked for places that didn’t have carpet, which could confuse his feet to step properly, or wouldn’t enable the eventual use of a walker.

I completely gutted, redesigned, and rebuilt the bathroom to accommodate Ken’s evolving physical considerations. The shower has a seating area, grab bars, and a low threshold he won’t trip on. The kitchen is open and without obstructions. I basically took a couple years off from life to fix up the foreclosure that I could afford to accommodate my brother’s developing physical needs. Ken likes watching football, documentaries, and travel shows, so I installed a large wall-mounted television in his room. He will be able to live where he is comfortable for a very long time, without needing to consider other living arrangements.

I take care of the yardwork, shovel our winter snow, and do the cooking. I try to make sure Ken’s options of how he’d like to spend his day have as few barriers as possible. I feel this is the best gift I can give to my brother; a living situation that enables him to live life the way he wants as long as he possibly can.

Samantha Vega is a student at Whittier College near Los Angeles who is majoring in political science and caring for her grandmother Corrine, who suffers from advanced kidney disease, among other illnesses. Samantha was among more than 1,400 student-caregivers who applied for the #CaringScholar grants in the fall of 2015, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of just three recipients. This is Samantha’s caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

I currently care for my 72-year-old grandmother Corrine Morales. Corrine has survived cancer 5 times, each time more deadly than the next; a brain tumor when I was four, colon cancer when I was six and then again when I was 11, and breast cancer when I was 13 and again when I was 15, along with a sextuple bypass heart surgery when I was 17. However, long before I was taking care of her, my grandmother was caring for me, more than that — she was saving my life. I endured physical and emotional abuse at the hands of my mother and stepfather from the ages of four to 11. When, at the age of 11, I called the police to save me from my own “parents” she decided enough was enough and she took me in, taking over every parenting role from then on.

It was when I turned 13 and she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time that I really understood the meaning of “caring”. It has been a very long eight years of doctor’s appointments, emergency room visits, cooking and cleaning without a mother’s example to look upon. Currently, I attend Whittier College and my grandmother lives in a one-bedroom house not 100 yards away from campus. The plan was for me to have some independence while still being an arms length away. Those plans changed when my grandmother was diagnosed with stage four-kidney failure earlier this year.

Next semester I will be moving back into the tiny house on Penn Street to take over for her once again. This means driving her to several doctors’ appointments a week and monitoring her blood sugar and insulin in-take, as she is a diabetic. Along with that, my grandmother has a myriad of medications she must take regularly ranging from high blood pressure medication to very strong pain medication for her other illnesses. I am also in charge of our finances and making sure all our bills are paid on time, or as close as possible.

I work a part-time job at a non-profit in South Pasadena as a way to contribute, as our only income is my grandmother’s retirement and social security checks. My grandmother has made me her medical and legal power of attorney should anything happen to her that leaves her without the ability to make decisions. While she still can, she orders me around the house, the market, the doctor’s office etc. I am perfectly content with following orders as so many years ago she went above and beyond the call of duty raising her granddaughter. I am very fortunate to be able to now return the favor.

How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

What I see when looking at this scholarship is some peace of mind for my grandmother. Corrine Morales never wanted me to miss out on the opportunity to be just like every other child on the block. Unfortunately, growing up at an exponential rate comes with the territory of being a young caregiver. Knowing that the experience of caring for her and providing for us had a positive impact in my life is the best gift she could ever receive. I have had to give up many opportunities in order to make sure she is cared for. I am hardly able to participate in on-campus events, and living on campus just isn’t a feasible option for us.

However, my grandmother will never hear me complain because as she says, “I am her life”, her life and her persistence to survive will mean nothing to her if it stands in the way of my success. This $1,500.00 would be enough to pay for my textbooks for the rest of my time at Whittier College. As a result, I would be able to spend a little less time working during the school year and spend more time on my schoolwork and even get more quality time with my grandmother. My past, while difficult, led me to caring for my grandmother. I am dedicating my future to helping others in positions similar to my own. Presently, this scholarship would allow me to focus on the importance of my schoolwork and my grandmother’s health without having to sacrifice the quality of my work in either of those areas.

Octavia Monsanto is a student at Kennesaw State University who is majoring in music and caring for her mother, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. She was among more than 1,400 student-caregivers who applied for the #CaringScholar grants in the fall of 2015, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of three recipients.

This is Octavia’s caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application, which responded to these three questions:

  • Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?
  • How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?
  • How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

Christina M. Fletcher is a student at The University of Akron who is majoring in nursing and caring for both of her disabled parents. She was among more than 1500 student-caregivers who applied for the #CaringScholar grants in Spring 2015, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of three recipients. This is her caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application.

Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?

Both of my parents have suffered a rapid decline in health prior to and immediately following my enrollment as a full time student. My father had a massive heart attack, losing over 75% function of his heart and wasn’t expected to survive. My mother is riddled with arthritis and atherosclerosis as well as suffering a break with reality after the sudden and violent death of my youngest sister in 2011.

Neither of my parents are capable of completing activities of daily living without assistance and both receive social security for disability. My responsibilities include meal preparation, grocery shopping, laundry services, medication reminders, emotional support and occasionally transportation to physician appointments, as well as providing them with useful and relevant information for healthy living. I’ve assisted with the construction of numerous raised garden beds to grow fresh produce, which also provides therapeutic activities for both my parents.

By living in their home, I am able to provide care on a 24-hour basis if need be. I also have a 6-year-old daughter that I have full custody of, and having her to help “grandpa” and “grandma” when they don’t feel well provides additional therapy for my parents. They get to see their granddaughter on a daily basis, and my daughter gets to experience direct care of family members and loved ones.

How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?

By providing care to both of my parents, I have committed fully to becoming a registered nurse with the focus of community health and hospice/palliative care.

Throughout my clinical rotations and through summertime employment I have been able to see firsthand the burden placed on family members when a loved one is dependent upon their care. Home health aides are not always covered by insurance and many people aren’t even aware of services available to them in the way of a home health aid so I feel it is my duty as a nurse to fulfill the role of caregiver not only in my home but also in the community where it is underserved the most.

By being a caregiver for my mother and father I get the unique ability to practice healthcare and refine my nursing skill on almost a daily basis. When either of my parents have questions on medication, I have the resources available to me through my education to help them understand everything they need to understand about their medications. When they are confused at a doctor’s visit, I can help clarify information or rephrase questions to the healthcare provider so my parents are always kept well informed.

Rashelle Quinn is a student at Regis University who is majoring in nursing and caring for her father, who suffered a severe brain injury in a car accident when she was a child. She was among more than 1500 student-caregivers who applied for the #CaringScholar grants in Spring 2015, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of three recipients.

This is her caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application, which responded to these three questions:

  • Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?
  • How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?
  • How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?

Erin Pratt is a student at Life University who is majoring in chiropractic neurology and caring for her 95-year-old grandmother. She was among more than 1500 student-caregivers who applied for the #CaringScholar grants in Spring 2015, and was chosen by a panel of senior care expert judges as one of three recipients.

This is her caregiving story submitted with her scholarship application, which responded to these three questions:

  • Who are you caring for and how are you involved as a caregiver?
  • How has your role as a caregiver influenced the decision for your major/career path?
  • How would this scholarship be helpful to you in your current student-caregiving role?