College is hard enough. Living with disabilities both physical and cognitive make it even more difficult. Sometimes the added cost of special equipment, medical bills, and unplanned emergencies make college financially unattainable. But thankfully there are many scholarships for students with disabilities that can offset the cost and get kids a little closer to their dreams of higher education.
One of my best friends is a brilliant and feisty woman with a great sense of humor and a well-deserved degree in creative writing. She also has cerebral palsy which she doesn’t let affect her work ethic or her sass. But it’s an expensive burden to carry.
There are a lot of resources and grants to help parents give their children a more normal childhood, but it doesn’t stop there. When kids grow up and start pursuing careers, there are also accommodations and scholarships for students with disabilities that will help them pursue their dreams without as much financial burden.
In this guide...
Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
From technology to business, these scholarships are open to all students with any disability.
1. Business Plan Scholarship for Students with Disabilities
The “Business Plan” Scholarship for Students with Disabilities from Fit Small Business is a $1,000 scholarship for students enrolled in any accredited American undergraduate or graduate program. The scholarship is open to students with any disability and requires 500-1,000 word essay on “What I learned from writing a business plan.”
2. Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar Award
Students with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act can apply for the Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar Award. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded twice annually to assist with tuition and expenses at an accredited undergraduate institution. Applicants must write a 500-1,000 word essay on a selected topic about their disability.
3. AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability
College sophomore, juniors, and seniors pursuing studies related to health and disability with a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act are eligible for the Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability from the American Association on Health and Disability. Preference for this $1,000 scholarship goes to students with a history of community service.
4. Microsoft disAbility Scholarship
The Microsoft disAbility Scholarship is a $5,000 award renewable to up to $20,000. It’s open to graduating high school seniors, with any disability as defined by the World Health Organization, planning to attend a 2 or 4-year U.S. undergraduate program. The student must declare a major in engineering, law, business, and technology and maintain full or part-time employment throughout the school year.
Scholarships for Students with Cognitive & Learning Disabilities
These scholarships are specifically for students diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Autism, etc.
5. Everspark Interactive Autism Awareness Scholarship
Students diagnosed with autism and currently enrolled or accepted into an accredited university can apply for the Everspark Interactive Autism Awareness Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship requires a 2-minute video essay or written essay no longer than 1,000 words on a selected topic about autism.
6. Yorkville Blankets ASD Scholarship
The Yorkville Blankets Autism Spectrum Disorder Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship for students with ASD or who have an immediate family member with ASD. The scholarship is awarded twice per year to students accepted or enrolled in a 4-year university or vocational program. Also, the candidates must write a 500-word essay about how ASD has affected your life and education.
7. Anne Ford & Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships
Anne Ford and her daughter Allegra Ford Thomas created two scholarships for graduating high school seniors with a documented learning disability or ADHD. The Anne Ford Scholarship is $10,000 awarded to a student who will be enrolled full-time in an accredited bachelor’s program. The Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship is $2,500 awarded to a student who will enroll in a two-year community college or vocational program.
8. RISE Scholarship
Every year the RISE Scholarship Foundation awards five $2,500 scholarships to students with a documented learning disability, one $2,500 award to a student with ASD, and two honorable mention scholarships of $500 in each category. The scholarship is open to current high school seniors who are planning to attend a 2 or 4-year university in the fall.
9. P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship
High school seniors with a certified language-related learning disability who want to pursue studies in the visual arts should apply for the P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship. Awards are up to $1,000 based on financial need. The scholarship is renewable up to three additional years at a 4-year university.
Scholarships for Students with Physical Disabilities
These scholarships are for students with mobility, hearing, and vision related disabilities.
10. Mobility Disability Scholarship
Current college and university students can apply for the Mobility Disability Scholarship from Karman Healthcare. This $500 scholarship is awarded annually to two students with mobility disabilities. Students must adhere to a list of criteria and submit a short essay to qualify.
11. Lighthouse Guild Scholarship
The Lighthouse Guild is a long-stand non-profit serving the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired. Every year their scholarship program awards scholarships of up to $10,000 each to legally bling undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants must show strong academic merit and achievement and write two 500-word personal essays.
12. AG Bell College Scholarship Program
The AG Bell College Scholarship Program is open to full-time university students with bilateral moderately-severe to profound hearing loss. Award amounts range from $2,500-$10,000 and number of awards vary by year, but typically only 10-15% of applicants are selected. The selection committee looks for strong leaders with academic excellence and great character. Students may receive up to two awards through the program.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Even more than tuition, students with disabilities need more accommodations to help read, study and interact with teachers and classmates. These are some of the most commonly used free services for students.
13. Dragon Dictation
Dragon Dictation is a free automated transcription app that can be used to record lectures and transcribe them to text.
For students who can’t read traditional print books, Bookshare offers the world’s largest collection of accessible titles. Bookshare is free to students with print disabilities such as visual impairment, dyslexia, and other physical disabilities.
The National Library Service circulates braille and audio books free of charge for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, and physical disability. Books and magazine can be sent postage-free or directly downloaded to any device. They also provide playback equipment to use their resources.
16. Say Hi! AAC
Say Hi! AAC is an app for students with mobility and speech limitations to communicate with their phone via images and sounds.
Check out sites like Best Colleges, Affordable Colleges, JLV College counseling, and Fastweb for many more resources and scholarships. And if you have any suggestions or recommendations on scholarships for students with disabilities let us know in the comments so we can continue to help students pay less.
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