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Going to School on Home Dialysis

Whether a child with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is starting school for the first time or an adult patient wishes to go back for their GED or college degree, going to school is possible on home dialysis.

Children going to school on home dialysis

Similar to adults going to work, most children’s time is spent attending school. Children who perform home dialysis and attend school may find that school is the biggest part of their day to socialize with their peers. If a child is treated with home hemodialysis (HHD) or peritoneal dialysis exchanges that are done during the day. For some children, home school may provide them with a better environment for their studies and home dialysis treatments. 

If a child on dialysis does attend school on campus, there are laws that protect him or her from discrimination. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a program mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to help students with individualized needs, such as chronic kidney disease, be appropriately placed or have appropriate adjustments to allow the students to participate in their education. The child may need to leave school early or begin school late because of home dialysis treatments, or visit the school nurse to receive his or her daily medicine. An IEP can be set up between the child’s parent or guardian, teachers and school administration.

Adults going to school on home dialysis

If you are on home dialysis, going back to school can have little interference with your treatments. There are many reasons why adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who are on dialysis take classes or go to college to earn a degree: 

  • Change in career (whether it is due to chronic kidney disease or not)
  • Socialize with peers outside of work
  • Become more fluent in a particular subject
  • Go to school as a hobby

Everyday people with chronic kidney disease who are on home dialysis successfully go back to school. But there are also reasons why people on dialysis may feel discouraged from going back to school. The roadblock questions can be: 

  • How will I pay for college?
  • Would my health insurance change if I’m a student?
  • How can I fit in my class schedule with my home dialysis schedule?

Such concerns can be addressed if you have the desire to go back to school. 

Going to school on home dialysis: How to pay for classes

College can be expensive, but the degree earned at the end may be worth it. There are numerous ways to receive money to pay for college, including applying for financial aid and scholarships. Talk to your social worker about additional ways on how to pay for school.  

Financial aid 

Financial aid is available for qualified students. You can talk with a financial aid administrator at the college you’re attending to see how you can apply for financial aid. Some financial aid can help pay for tuition, books or housing if you plan to live on campus. The federal government also provides grants and loans with low interest rates to students who apply for these programs. You can look at the various grant and loan opportunities at www.studentaid.ed.gov.


People with chronic kidney disease may apply for scholarships within the kidney community. Organizations that award scholarships include The Kidney and Urology Foundation of America and the U.S. government, which lists many scholarships for people with medical conditions. Visit Disability.gov, click “Higher Education” and then click “Financial aid/scholarships.”

Going to school on home dialysis: Student health insurance

If you are a young adult and are on your parent’s health insurance, you may be covered throughout most of your college career. Your parents can claim their young adult child as a dependent for as long as his or her kidney disease is being treated.  

Colleges and universities usually provide health clinics for their students and health insurance, as well. You may want to consider the college’s health insurance plan if applicable and if it is best. Talk with your social worker about your health insurance choices. 

Going back to school on home dialysis: Schedule

Colleges usually provide a list of courses that meet on different days at varying times. You may find classes that meet on Saturdays, while other courses are available online. This is for the student’s convenience, because many people lead different schedules. 

As a person on home dialysis, you can schedule your treatments around your school activities. Talk to your doctor about how important going to school is to you, and he or she may be able to work out a treatment prescription more suitable for your student lifestyle.

Benefits of going to school on dialysis

There are many benefits for home dialysis patients when they go back to school. Some people may find school is a way to socialize with peers. Colleges and universities are communities that usually have many clubs and organizations that appeal to their students. You may want to join a group, or even consider starting a group on campus that relates to your passion, which could attract fellow students.  

Some chronic kidney disease patients on home dialysis may need to become reeducated because they can no longer perform their current job with kidney disease. You may go to school to pursue a new career and succeed in a different or more fulfilling job that doesn’t interfere with your dialysis treatments.  

You may have been inspired to go back to school after being on home dialysis and learning about the careers in the kidney care field. Going back to school can help you earn the proper training to become a nurse, renal dietitian, dialysis technician, social worker or doctor. 


If you are a child who is attending school or you are an adult who would like to further your education, home dialysis can help make this possible. Going to school can help you gain an education amongst your peers, socialize with different individuals and help you reach your career goals.