Patty Feist Undergraduate Scholarship

written by Patty Feist, July 2011

addition: my speech at the CU Scholarship Brunch, 10/23/11

The Patty Feist Undergraduate Scholarship is for survivors of childhood cancer who attend the University of Colorado, Boulder. This scholarship is awarded yearly in the spring. Check with the University of Colorado's financial aid department, but I think the deadline is March 1 of each year.

This scholarship is awarded to a survivor of childhood, adolescent, or young adult cancer (cancer diagnosis up to age 21.) The student must provide documentation to verify the cancer diagnosis and treatment, such as a copy of the treatment summary that he/she received at the post-treatment consultation or a letter from his/her treatment team verifying the diagnosis and treatment for cancer. Medical information will be kept confidential and will only be reviewed for eligibility consideration. Essay required. $2500. Apply through the University of Colorado financial aid system:

Go to: University of Colorado financial aid/scholarships

The awardees of this scholarship are not published, in order to protect the privacy of the survivors.

General information on this scholarship


It can happen that children who had or have cancer do poorly in school, and thus their academic record suffers. A student on treatment for cancer is often unable to attend class, or is too fatigued from the treatment to study or keep up with homework. Scores on college entrance exams may also be adversely affected. Students may not be able to do the extracurricular activities required for merit scholarships. Many survivors of childhood cancer will not qualify for traditional (merit) scholarships for these reasons. Late effects of treatment can mean that a student has subtle learning disabilities, and while they are bright and eager students, they may not receive good grades in traditional classrooms. Therefore, the PF Scholarship does not depend heavily on a good grade average. Instead, it focuses on a student's desire to learn or a strong desire to achieve a particular professional goal. The applicant's essay will weigh heavily in determining these goals.

Childhood cancer can place a heavy burden on a family's finances. Often, one parent has to stay home to care for the child, possibly quitting their job to do so. Sometimes savings for college are used instead for immediate medical expenses. Associated expenses such as traveling for treatment are not covered by insurance. By the time a survivor applies for college, the family's finances might look okay on paper, but in fact these families might have used up critical savings. Therefore, the PF Scholarship will not be determined by financial need.


The scholarships will be awarded to the three students who show a commitment to education, as demonstrated by the students' essays and the recommendations. The scholarships will be awarded to young people with a zeal to learn, or a passion for a particular topic, or a strong desire for a particular professional goal.

Applications are reviewed and evaluated by a scholarship committee. The final decision will be based on the committee's subjective interpretation of the application. All selections made by the committee are final

The application is kept confidential. Awardees are not publicized so that their privacy is protected


(1000 words)

In the essay, discuss your educational goals and how your cancer experience affected those goals. How will you apply what you learned from the cancer experience to make a difference in the world? What did you learn about yourself from the cancer experience? How has cancer impacted your life? Tell us about yourself and what you are interested in, and why a college education is a critical part of your life.


My email is below, however, I do not have a lot to do with the actual awarding of the scholarship.


I have made a personal commitment to fund this scholarship as long as I can. If you would like to contribute, we could offer more scholarships. Contact me if you are interested.