ATHENS – Multiple sclerosis shouldn’t stand in the way of an education. This is why the National MS Society's scholarship program exists — to help highly qualified students who have been diagnosed with MS, or who have a parent with MS achieve their dreams of going to college.

In addition to the emotional toll, MS can have a substantial financial impact on a family.  The direct and indirect costs of MS, including lost wages, even for those with health insurance, are estimated at more than $70,000 annually per household. This makes funding a college education that much harder.

The Society established its scholarship program in 2003, and the program continues to grow, both in terms of support and scholarships awarded. In its first year of operation, the program awarded 36 scholarships for a total of $68,000. In the 2013-14 academic year, more than $1 million was awarded to 679 scholars. In Texas, this included 29 new scholarships to first-year college students, as well as 50 renewing scholarships to returning college scholars.

Applications are evaluated on financial need, academic record, leadership and volunteer activities, a statement of educational and career goals, and letters of recommendation. Applicants are also asked to provide a personal statement describing the impact MS has had on their life.

Scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000, and typically cover one year, although a limited number of awards may exceed this amount.

Information about scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year is available online at nationalMSsociety.org/scholarship

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn’t. The Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move forward with their lives.

In 2012 alone, the Society invested $43 million to support more than 350 new and ongoing research projects around the world, while providing programs and services that assisted more than 1 million people. The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Join the movement at nationalMSsociety.org.

Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your healthcare professional and contacting the National MS Society at nationalMSsociety.org or 1-800-344-4867.

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