Scholarships for Recovering Addicts

Unfortunately, the disease of addiction is not a disease you can ever truly recover from. That’s why we use the term “recovering addicts” in the title. It is a battle that must be fought on a daily basis. The struggle to stay clean of addiction is tough enough, but attempting to go to college while recovering from addiction makes things even more complicated. Luckily, many organizations, institutions, and private individuals as well as state agencies and colleges are happy to assist students in recovery with funding to earn a degree in any field they’re interested in.

Scholarships for Recovering Addicts

Scholarships for Recovering Addicts

Many people in recovery assume they can only get funding for fields related to addiction, such as substance abuse counselling, therapy, psychiatry, pharmacology, or psychology. The truth is, funding for college is available for recovering addicts in any career path they want to pursue. If you are an addict in recovery and you want to get a degree in Eskimo poetry or underwater basket-weaving, there is probably funding available to help you reach your goals. Our nation’s attitude towards addiction and addicts in recovery has changed to the point that now, for the most part, we try to support addicts and alcoholics in recovery, including helping them better themselves through pursuing a college education. Here’s a quick guide to finding scholarships and funding for drug addicts and alcoholics in recovery. 

How to Prepare for Scholarships in Recovery

The first and most important way to prepare to earn college money as a recovering addict or alcoholic is to stay sober, stay close to the twelve-step program or recovery program of your choice, and avoid people, places, and things that could tempt you back to your drug of choice. An addict no longer in recovery is in grave danger of not only losing any college funding they earn, they are in serious jeopardy of ending up in prison, in a mental hospital, or seriously ill or even dead. Staying clean is the best way to prepare for recovering addict scholarships. But while you’re recovering, try to gather letters of recommendation from your twelve-step or other recovery program sponsors and friends, maintain a good GPA, participate in volunteer activities and extra-curricular works, and choose a field of study that could help other people still suffering from addiction. You don’t have to pursue a career as a substance abuse counselor or therapist to get money for college as a recovering addict, but pursuing such a degree will make more funding available to you, generally speaking. 

Other ways to prepare to get all the college funding you need is to research as much as you can about the types of scholarships and aid packages available to addicts and alcoholics in recovery. With so many local, state, and national organizations dedicated to assisting people in recovery, information and award amounts change all the time. That means you need to stay on top of the latest offers to know what sorts of help you can receive. No one is going to hand you money for nothing, much in the same way that no one can hand you recovery. You have to work your program to stay sober, and you’ll have to work to get the college funding you need as well.

2 Examples of College Funding for Addicts in Recovery 

These are just two of the thousands of offers around the country for addicts in recovery who want to continue their education. Start with these awards, then reach out and look for your own sources of funding.  

1. Hope for Addiction Scholarship Program

Members of the Hope for Addiction program are dedicated to the belief that all addicts deserve a chance to reach their full academic potential. The Hope for Addiction Scholarship pffers addicts in recovery a new chance at education to improve their future. To earn this award, you must commit to abstain from all drugs and alcohol for the rest of your lifetime, and while receiving funds, you may be asked to prove your abstinence through voluntary urinalysis or other drug tests. Refusing to take these tests means giving up your funding and could require you to pay back funds already received. These awards are only available to those in recovery who are 28 years old or younger. Multiple awards of $1,000 annually are given to students who fit these criteria:

Students who are continuing their education at a community college or other secondary school.
Students who are attending a trade school for fields such as electrical, plumbing, and carpentry.
Students who are attending any technical school awarding certification in substance abuse counseling. 

2. Texas Tech University Recovery Community Grants

Texas Tech University is at the leading edge of college handing out huge scholarships to students in recovery, thanks to a new program in addiction studies and a school history of researching addiction and alcoholism. Each year, Texas Tech hands out 35 grants for recovering addicts, covering their entire tuition and fees and often paying stipends to students who demonstrate financial need. These grants also come with one-on-one counseling and support as well as strategic planning for recovery from any addiction, whether it is from alcohol, eating disorders, self-mutilation, drug addiction, or anything else that falls under the category of addiction. Texas Tech is not the only university offering such grants, but their program is probably the best in the country as of this writing, and they certainly hand out more cash for recovering addicts than any other single educational institution. 

Recovery from addiction is hard enough without having to struggle to pay for college. If you use your recovery skills to seek out funding, you’ll find yourself with plenty of money to finish your schooling. Stay close to your twelve-step program, maintain your grades and sobriety, and you should find that nothing can stop you from achieving your goal of earning a college degree at a price you can afford.

4 comments for “Scholarships for Recovering Addicts

  1. Josh
    September 4, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I was looking for scholarships or grants for school. I was a heroin addict for about 11 years alone with every other drug for about 18. I’m going to school to be a firefighter as we speak. Lucky I’m not a felon and I can still do that. I’ve been sober for 2years and about 5 months and I’m trying to see if I qualify for something to help me out. I go to school full time and have 6 year old daughter that I take care of which leaves me little time for work. I could use some help with my schooling and bills and I feel like because I’m 31, it seems like I’m too “old of an addict” for most of the scholarships for some reason. If there is something else for someone like me beside the usual government grants and loans I would greatly appreciate if someone could help. Nobody at my areas meetings have heard anything for an addict my age so I’m looking for help.

  2. Tonya
    September 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I’m looking for scholarships or grants for school.I was a heroin addict for about 15 years along with any other drug I could get. I was going to Baltimore City Community College full time to become an addiction counselor until I ran into some financial problems. I’ve been sober for 5 years and I’m trying to see if I qualify for any grants or schalarships for schooling. I’m a 47 year old disable women who is in need of help for school. Most of the grants and scholarships I have researched I’m to old. If there are any other kind of grants or scholarship out there for a disable women like me beside the usual government grants and loans I would really really appreciate if someone chould help me.

  3. Jennifer
    May 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I am a 40 yr old women, recovering heroin addict. I was addicted to heroin for 13 yrs, along with other opiates. I completed an intense in-patient program and now have been sober for 18 months. My life dream is to go back to school and help other people like me. I want to share my experience, strength and hope. The only scholarships, I am finding are for people 28 yrs of age or younger. I would like to pursue a career in Social Work. If anyone knows of other scholarships or grants for women 40 and over, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!

  4. Sheila
    September 25, 2013 at 1:38 am

    I have been searching for a program that would offer a scholarship for myself. I have come across the Hope one a few times, why is it that you must be under the age of 28? I am 32, I was an addict for 13 years, I have been clean for six years now. It just seems to me that the only thing offered for recovering addicts are if you are still in high school or under the age of 28 years old. Can anyone point me in the right direction here?..

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