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.
AAPD works to improve the lives of people with disabilities by acting as a convener, connector and catalyst for change.
DREAM is a national organization for and by college students with disabilities that advocates for disability culture, community and pride.
AHEAD is a professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary education.
NCCSD is a federally-funded project under the U.S. Department of Education.
MIUSA is a disability-led non-profit organization advancing disability rights and leadership globally.
A national network with information, guidance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
NCSET helps youth with disabilities achieve successful futures.
PACER provides assistance to help families make decisions about education and other services for their child or young adults 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.
Deadline: November 30, 2021
High school seniors with learning disabilities are qualified to apply. Awards are given based on outstanding leadership, academic achievement and service to others.
Deadline: October 31, 2021
Awards are given to students with dyslexia and/or auditory processing disorder. An essay is required with application.
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.
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‚Äôs statement of diagnosis for their impairment in addition to other documentation.
Deadline: July 31, 2021
The applicant or a close family member must be diagnosed with a form of autism. Additionally, they must be an enrolled undergraduate student at an accredited college, university, vocational school, or set to begin school as an undergrad or grad student for Fall 2021 semester.
Deadline: July 31, 2021
Auger & Auger Attorneys at Law are proud to support the disabled students of America with the launch of their Semi-Annual Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar Award, awarded in both the Spring & Fall Semesters to one high-achieving, bright student intending to pursue an undergraduate college degree.
Deadline: August 27, 2021
Undergraduate or graduate students with cystic fibrosis are eligible for awards.
Deadline: December 10, 2021
Students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are eligible to apply. Applicants must submit a short essay describing their educational endeavors.
Deadline: August 15, 2021
Undergraduate students diagnosed with Cystinosis are eligible to apply. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation and an essay with their application
Deadline: September 15, 2021
Vitality Medical awards this annual scholarship to a disabled student or non-disabled student who works with disabled individuals. Applications must be sent through traditional mail, including a visual poem about "how using disability aids has added vitality to your life."
Deadline: September 7, 2021
Students with Sickle Cell Disease and/or Thalassemia are eligible to apply. Applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation with their application.
Deadline: October 31, 2021
Twice a year, this scholarship is awarded to 4 students who have been diagnosed with essential tremor. Applicants ust be attending an accredited institution of higher learning.