These days, the majority of high school graduates with learning disabilities are attending post-secondary education, and there are scholarship opportunities galore for them to apply for a bachelor’s degree program or an online MBA program. With college education being so expensive, students should take advantage of as many scholarship opportunities as they can. These specific scholarships were designed to help students with varying disabilities to excel at school without being weighed down by the financial burden of higher education.
This article looks at scholarships available for those with disabilities that fall under these categories:
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- General disabilities
- Hearing impairment
- Learning and cognitive disabilities
- Physical disabilities
- Speech disorders
- Visual disabilities
Scholarships for Attention Deficit Disorder & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Amount: $2,000 plus one year of coaching ($4,400 value)
This scholarship was designed by Michael Yasick as a way to, as he states, “recognize the brave individuals who work hard to overcome the challenges of this life-altering condition, and help them continue their educational pursuits.” It is for students diagnosed with ADHD who are about to attend a two or four year undergraduate program. In addition to educational funding, the scholarship includes one year of ADHD coaching with the Edge Foundation to assist the awarded student with meeting the demands of higher education. The scholarship is awarded to fifty students annually.
This scholarship is awarded to five students annually, with either ADD or ADHD and an additional learning disability, and is intended to help students with nontraditional learning styles. Applicants are required to have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher and must be a graduating high school senior to apply. There are additional Honorable Mention awards for up to $500.
Scholarships available for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
This scholarship is designed for adults with autism who have been accepted to a post-secondary program. The application calls for a cover letter, resume, high school transcript or proof of GED, an explanation of your support system, a letter of recommendation from your school as well as from a teacher or other school official.
For this scholarship, they are looking for high-achieving students who either have a diagnosed form of autism, or a close family member of someone with autism. Applicants must either be enrolled or accepted at an accredited university for an undergraduate or postgraduate program.
Two scholarships are awarded every year to autistic students seeking higher education. The application process includes writing an inspirational essay/stories describing how the scholarship will benefit their post-secondary education. These essays/stories are posted on the Kelly Law Team website and the scholarship winners are chosen based on which stories receive the most positive attention.
This scholarship was made possible by Kerry Magro, an autistic scholar and motivational speaker who advocates for those with disabilities. Only one award is granted annually, but the competition for this scholarship is known to be average. The application process often includes writing essays.
This generous scholarship is awarded to over 500 applicants annually. The eligibility requirements include a medical diagnosis of ASD, and enrollment in post-secondary education as a full-time student. The scholarship is awarded based on challenges that applicants have had to overcome, future aspirations, dedication to a field of study, and how the scholarship can assist them in reaching their academic goals.
This scholarship was designed to raise awareness for mobility issues for disabled people on school campuses. It is given to two applicants a year who in their application process explore campus mobility issues, overcoming personal challenges, and much more. Applicants must be enrolled as an undergraduate or in their final year of high school, be 16 years or older, and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or the equivalent.
Amount: Up to $1,000
This scholarship is for disabled students who are in the second year of their undergraduate program or are enrolled in a graduate program. Preference is given to students who are majoring in a field related to disability and/or health, such as public health or disability studies.
Scholarships from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation are for graduate students with a disability. Up to 20 general graduate student scholarships are awarded annually, as well as 10 endowed scholarships.
Scholarships from this foundation are awarded to students with mental illnesses that include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder. Applicants must be currently receiving medical treatment for their mental illness, be actively involved in rehabilitative or reintegrative efforts, and complete an application process that includes an application form, essay, transcripts (if a graduating high school senior), and more. The Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation that provides the scholarship aims to support organizations that provide education, research, and care to the field of mental health.
This scholarship is for college students with a physical ailment, disease, and/or disability. It is awarded to students based on their descriptions of how the ailment, disease, or disability has impacted their educational and social college experience such as participating in events and organizations. Bella Soul provides a community page on their website to support students with these struggles.
This scholarship is available to students with any type of disability who is enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program. To apply, applicants must write an essay about the process of writing a business plan; therefore, applicants must have experience with writing business plans through work experience or school. Essays are judged based on originality, writing style, and the quality of ideas being presented in the essay. This scholarship is awarded once in the spring and once in the fall.
The Hydrocephalus Association traditionally has many scholarship opportunities available to students with hydrocephalus, and the amount of scholarships they award continues to grow as they gain more sponsors. At this time, they offer roughly 14 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each.
Amount: $500 and $750
This scholarship is for disabled students maintaining full time enrollment throughout the academic year. It is available to graduating high school seniors as well students already attending college. They require applicants to be considered a resident of Oregon, Washington, or California based on their permanent address (not the school they are attending). Up to 100 scholarships are awarded annually to be used for tuition, books, supplies, or registration fees. First time receivers of the scholarship are typically given $500, and scholarship renewals begin at $750 and range as high as $1,500. This scholarship does not take into accounts factors like financial need or grades when choosing scholarship winners.
This scholarship is for pre-law and law students with a physical or learning disability. Applicants should be accepted to or enrolled in an accredited university or law school in the United States. They must turn in an essay which addresses challenges they have overcome related to their disability as well as which area of law they intend to practice.
This scholarship is for high school students planning to attend post-secondary education in the fall semester following graduation. Special consideration is given to students declaring their major in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, law, business, or something related to these fields. They look for students who show a strong interest in technology, show school or community leadership, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and require financial assistance to attend college. The application process includes sending a resume, high school transcript, and writing three essays.
Amount: $1,623 (average)
These scholarships are for students with disabilities who show a documented need for financial assistance. The scholarships can be used for the student’s tuition or for disability-related expenses that their university is not able to accommodate. The scholarships are given to colleges and universities who are then responsible for scholarship administration.
This scholarship is awarded to students with learning disabilities based on the following criteria:
- Their recognition and understanding of their learning disability and the ability to self-advocate if needed.
- Their commitment to pursuing higher education or career training.
- Their dedication to setting and pursuing realistic career goals.
- Their commitment to achieving personal goals in general, despite their learning disability.
- Participation in school and community activities.
- Must be a resident of Arkansas.
This funding comes from the Foundation for Science and Disability and aims to bring opportunities in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, pre-medical, and dental areas to students with disabilities. The FSD has a grant fund that is available to disabled fourth year undergraduates who have been accepted to a graduate or professional program in the sciences.
Amount: $2,000 per year
This scholarship from Cochlear is for students with a Baha device who are graduating high school and seeking post-secondary education. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher to receive and maintain the scholarship. Scholarships are given based on applicant’s demonstrated commitment to the Cochlear ideals of leadership and humanity.
Amount: $2,000 per year
This scholarship from Cochlear is for students with a Nucleus Cochlear Implant who are graduating high school seniors who have applied to or are enrolled in an accredited college, university, or technical school. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher to receive and maintain the scholarship.
This scholarship from Bridges, a foundation that serves hearing impaired communities, is awarded to a hearing impaired student who has been accepted to a college, university, or vocational program. It is restricted to residents within the 16 counties of Tennessee that Bridges serves. The application process includes writing two essays, presenting two letters of reference, a high school transcript, and more.
This scholarship funder is the leading funder for scholarships for the hearing impaired. Their scholarships are available to students with clinically significant bilateral hearing loss who are graduating from high school and undergraduate students pursuing a four year college scholarship. Their scholarships can be used to cover tuition, books, and school supplies. The funds may be used for any semester, including summer.
Cognitive and Learning Disabilities
Amount: $2,500 or $10,000
These scholarships from the National Center for Learning Disabilities are part of their effort to recognize outstanding high school students with learning and attention issues. It is also extended to general education teachers and artists who have learning disabilities.
The Allegra Ford Thomas scholarship or the Anne Ford scholarship are awarded to two graduating seniors annually with documented learning disabilities. The Allegra Ford Thomas scholarship of $2,500 is awarded to one student annually. They typically look for a student who can articulate their learning disability, can self-advocate when necessary, is committed to their post-secondary education, is committed to pursuing personal goals, participates in school and community activities, and has a documented financial need.
The Anne Ford Scholarship is for $10,000 total to be used in increments of $2,500 per year over four years. They seek applicants with the same kind of attributes as they do for the Allegra Ford Thomas scholarship.
HEAP offers the HEAP Scholar Award Scholarship for students in Oklahoma with learning disabilities who are seeking higher education at a school or institution in Oklahoma. Scholarships funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, and dorm fees, and recipients are also eligible for academic tutoring. The scholarship amounts are determined by student financial need so as to help fill financial gaps, and access to the scholarship is maintained by academic performance.
Amount: $5,000 and $30,000
Financial aid packages from Landmark are made up of federal grants and loans and amounts are therefore given based on financial needs. Awards are limited and applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.
There are also Landmark College Merit Scholarships that recognize students’ unique talents and are given based on merit. The amounts range from $5,000 to $10,000.
Lastly, they offer Endowment Scholarships. These are given based on financial aid and are available to 10 applicants. The amounts range from $5,000 to $8,000.
Three scholarships valued at $1,000 are awarded annually from the Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa. These scholarships are for high school seniors with learning disabilities who are pursuing post-secondary education at a college, vocational school, or in a fifth-year program.
In addition, they offer a membership-based scholarship to an applicant who meets at least of these requirements:
- Applicant is a current LDA member
- Applicant’s parent is an LDA member
- Applicant is recommended for the scholarship by an LDA member
This scholarship is mainly for artistic students who are planning a career in the visual arts, as well as students who have a demonstrated financial need and have a certified language-related learning difference. The scholarships may be renewable for a maximum of four years if the student is at a four year institution. Students with the scholarship should be taking art classes each semester throughout their program.
This $2,500 scholarship is awarded to one full time college student annually who uses a manual wheelchair, power wheelchair, or mobility scooter. The school of the applicant who receives the scholarship will also benefit by getting a free swimming pool lift, which allows them to offer more accessibility to handicapped students and staff.
Applicants for the scholarship must meet the following requirements:
- Must be enrolled at an accredited two or four year college within the United States as an undergraduate or graduate student.
- Must have at least one year of college experience.
- Must use a wheelchair (manual, electric, or mobility scooter).
- Minimum of 3.0 GPA
This scholarship is for students with spinal cord injuries and is meant to help pay for tuition, books, and other school fees. Preference is given to students in business related majors or studying law. The scholarship is available for applicants entering their freshman year of college up to those in graduate school.
Amount: $500 to $2,000
This scholarship is for female graduate students with physical disabilities who are active in a local, state, or national disability organization. The student must be willing to network with the ELA Board of Directors as well as previous ELA scholarship recipients. The application requires an essay to be written and great emphasis is placed on this portion of the application.
This scholarship is designed to celebrate the achievements of those with cerebral palsy or affected by it. One scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who has cerebral palsy or has a family member with it. They must be enrolled full time and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The application process includes an essay about the effects of cerebral palsy on the applicant’s life.
This foundation offers scholarships for full time undergraduate and graduate students. They offer many different scholarships with different requirements and different amounts, such as scholarships for NSSLHA members, minority students, endowed scholarships, general scholarships, and more.
Amount: $500 to $2,500
Several scholarships are available through the AFB, and most are designated for specific fields of study. Two noteworthy scholarships for the visually impaired are the Delta Gamma Foundation Florence Margaret Harvey Memorial Scholarship, which offers $1,000 to an undergraduate or graduate student who are either in the field of rehabilitation or education, and the Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarship which gives four scholarships of $2,000 to full time undergraduate or graduate students in the field of engineering, computers, and physical or life sciences.
Lighthouse Guild offers 20 scholarships annually to high school students planning to attend college who present strong academic accomplishments and merit. One scholarship is also available for a graduate student. Candidates for this scholarship are not required to present financial need, as it is given solely based on performance.
Amount: $3,000 to $12,000
The NFB offers over 30 national scholarships for full time post-secondary students. The scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, community service, and leadership. Those who receive a scholarship will also be given the opportunity to attend the National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, and will receive financial assistance to attend. This event is an excellent networking opportunity to meet with other blind persons from a variety of professions.
This scholarship is available for one blind student annually who is enrolled in a two or four year institution. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better and be a current member of USABA. The application process includes submitting a brief cover letter and personal biography which shows the applicant’s involvement in sports and with USABA. They will also be required to write an essay showing the value of athletics in their life.