Scholarship Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

Last updated: April 23, 2019

More than ever, colleges and universities around the United States not only welcome students with disabilities into their programs, but also cater to their needs through supportive staff, academic assistance programs, free shuttles and more.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 11 percent of undergraduate students in the U.S. reported having a disability—to put that into perspective, that’s over 2 million students. Although opportunities exist for students with a wide range of disabilities, the cost of college can still deter high school graduates from pursuing higher education. To help you finance your degree, check out the resources for prospective students and sort through the scholarships for disabled students below. 

Navigating college with a disability is possible by advocating for yourself. Clinical psychologist and college admissions consultant with Tourette Syndrome, Dr. Shirag Shemmassian, weighed in on how his resourcefulness played a role in his college career, “...at Cornell and UCLA, the Student Disability Services offices were incredibly helpful: they took the time to learn about the supports I needed and made every effort to provide effective accommodations.” He went on to say, “You have to believe that you can get into your top-choice schools, and also that you are just as capable as everyone else.”

“You have to believe that you can get into your top-choice schools, and also that you are just as capable as everyone else.”
Dr. Shirag Shemmassian

To learn more about how you can advocate for yourself and excel in your college courses, take advice from these governmental resources, organizations and advocacy groups.

Resources for Students with Disabilities

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

AAPD works to improve the lives of people with disabilities by acting as a convener, connector and catalyst for change.

Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring (DREAM)

DREAM is a national organization for and by college students with disabilities that advocates for disability culture, community and pride.

Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

AHEAD is a professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary education.

National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD)

NCCSD is a federally-funded project under the U.S. Department of Education.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA)

MIUSA is a disability-led non-profit organization advancing disability rights and leadership globally.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A national network with information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET)

NCSET helps youth with disabilities achieve successful futures.

PACER Center

PACER provides assistance to help families make decisions about education and other services for their child or young adults with disabilities.

 
 

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Instructions: If you’re a student living with a disability and want know how to finance your college degree, sort through the scholarships below and click “view scholarship” to apply directly on their website. If the scholarship deadline has passed, check the website to see when their next scholarship application is available—all scholarship opportunities are annual.

Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Awards (SAA)

Amount: Varies

Deadline: November 30, 2020

Students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees may apply. Qualified candidates are those who are legally blind or visually impaired.

Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Award

Amount: $2,000-$6,000

Deadline: November 30, 2020

Each year, the Marion Huber Learning Through Listening awards are presented to Learning Ally high school senior members with learning disabilities, who plan to continue their education after graduation, in recognition of their academic achievement, outstanding leadership, and service to others.

Marion Huber Learning Through Listening® (LTL) Awards

Amount: Varies

Deadline: November 30, 2020

High school seniors with learning disabilities are qualified to apply. Awards are given based on outstanding leadership, academic achievement and service to others.

Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: November 30, 2020

Graduating high school seniors with a documented learning disability are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Students must be enrolled in a vocational, technical or training program, a specialized program for students with LD or a two-year community college.

Foundation for Science and Disability Student Award Program

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: December 1, 2020

Students pursuing a degree in the STEM fields are eligible for this award. Students must have a documented disability and can be of the undergraduate or graduate level. All candidates must plan to pursue a graduate degree.

AbbVie Immunology Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 5, 2020

Applicants will be evaluated based on community involvement, ability to serve as a positive role model in the immunology community and academic excellence.

Karman Healthcare Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: December 10, 2020

To be eligible, candidates must have a mobility disability and be a full-time college student at an accredited institution.

Mobility Scooters Direct Scholarship Program

Amount: $1,200

Deadline: December 10, 2020

Candidates must provide documentation of a disability that limits mobility. A minimum GPA of a 3.0 is required.

ASAN Autistic Scholars Fellowship Program

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: December 15, 2020

Scooters ’N Chairs offers a scholarship to manual or power wheelchair users who are in a 2-year or 4-year educational higher education program. Applicants will be judged based on their essay (no more than 2,000 words) detailing an experience over the past semester that required your use of strength and perseverance to overcome. 

Boomer Esiason Foundation Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 21, 2020

Students with cystic fibrosis are eligible for awards. High school, undergraduate and graduate students may apply.

Able Flight Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 31, 2020

Candidates with a physical disability may apply. Awards have been given to students who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord injury, wounded veterans, people with congenital birth defects and people who have lost limbs.

Academy of Special Dreams Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2021

Scholarships are awarded to students who submit a portfolio of creative work with their application. Candidates must be studying art or creative writing and have a documented disability.

IDF Academic Scholarship Programs

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2021

Awards are given to students with an applicable immune deficiency disorder. Students must attend classes at a U.S. university, college or technical school.

Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health Award

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: January 1, 2021

Candidates must be active participants in raising awareness of mental health issues on campus. Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate institution.

Baer Reintegration Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 18, 2021

Students diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder are eligible candidates. Candidates must be U.S. citizens planning to attend higher education.

John & Ruth Childe Scholarship

Amount: $1,900

Deadline: February 10, 2021

The scholarship awards students from Lee County in Florida with a physical disability to pursue higher education in a college, university or technical school. Applicant must be able to describe give proof of disability.

Eunice Fiorito

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 20, 2021

The scholarship is applicable for both undergraduates or graduates who are studying full-time in the field of advocacy or disability services. Students can use one application form to apply for more than one scholarships listed on the site. All applicants must be U.S. citizens or naturalized citizens.

NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship

Amount: $5,625

Deadline: March 1, 2021

Candidates must have a disability defined by the ADA and be undergraduate sophomores, juniors or seniors, or be graduate students. Students should be pursuing a career in entertainment, the media or communications.

Sertoma Hard of Hearing or Deaf Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: March 30, 2021

Students with bilateral hearing loss who are U.S. citizens may apply for this scholarship. Candidates must have a minimum of a 3.2 GPA.

Diabetes Scholars Foundation

Amount: Varies

Deadline: April 15, 2021

Awards are given to high school seniors with type 1 diabetes who plan to attend an accredited higher education institution. A number of scholarships are awarded; see website for eligibility and deadline information.

The Douglas MacInnes ALS Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: May 1, 2021

Scholarships are given to students who have been affected by ALS in their lifetime. Students can be high school seniors or current college freshmen and sophomores.

The Organization for Autism Research Schwallie Scholarship Program

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: May 1, 2021

Scholarships support qualified individuals with autism or Asperger's syndrome who plan to pursue post-secondary education.

Turner Syndrome Society College Scholarships

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 15, 2021

Students with Turner syndrome are eligible for awards through the Turner Syndrome Society. Eligibility criteria and deadlines are updated on the website.

C.A.R.E.S. Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 15, 2021

Scholarships are awarded to students with hemophilia or a similar bleeding disorder or students with an immediate family member with a bleeding disorder.

College Scholarships for Women with Turner Syndrome

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 15, 2021

Appllicants must be a current TSSUS member attending a 2- or 4-year college, university, vocational/technical school, or online program.

Disabled Student Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: August 1, 2021

This scholarship is for students who have a medically diagnosed impairment (physical or mental) that interferes with everyday activities and quality of life while continuing their college education. The applicant will need to provide a physician’s statement of diagnosis for their impairment in addition to other documentation.

CHASA Scholarship for Childhood Stroke Survivors

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: August 31, 2021

Students pursuing post-secondary education may apply. Candidates must be affected by childhood hemiplegia or hemiparesis due to any cause or by pediatric stroke, or be currently diagnosed with hemiplegia or hemiparesis or pediatric stroke.

CHASA Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: August 31, 2021

Eligible students must have been diagnosed with hemiplegia or hemiparesis due to any cause, or a pediatric stroke.