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, “ 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.

Ups for Downs Katie MacDonald Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: April 1, 2020

Down syndrome students pursuing educational or job training opportunities beyond high school are eligible. Some awards are also granted to those pursuing higher education in a disability related field.

Mays Mission Disability Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: June 30, 2019

Students with mental and physical disabilities are eligible for scholarships. Candidates must have scored 18 or better on the ACT or 870 or better on the SAT.

MyBioSource Inc. Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June 28, 2019

Must have a documented learning disability. Candidate must be enrolled as a freshman, undergraduate or graduate student at an accredited college or university for the 2018 Fall semester.

Joshua Gomes Memorial Scholarship Fund

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: July 15, 2019

Students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree may apply. Applicants must be HIV positive or have AIDS.

Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: July 31, 2019

High school seniors and undergraduate students may apply. The scholarship helps students who have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or who have a sibling with an ASD.

Auto Accident Law Firm Survivor Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: August 1, 2019

Appel Law Firm offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who are survivors of car accidents and have overcome their injuries.

Disability Care Center Scholarships

Amount: $500

Deadline: August 1, 2020

Scholarships are awarded students who have a debilitating condition(s) while continuing their education at a college institution.

CHASA Scholarship for Childhood Stroke Survivors

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: August 31, 2019

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.

The Claude S. Weiler Scholarship for Amputee College Students

Amount: Varies

Deadline: August 31, 2019

Students with a limb amputation are eligible for this scholarship. Candidates must be enrolled in a college or university.

Karman Healthcare Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: December 10, 2019

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

Able Flight Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 31, 2019

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, 2020

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.

Boomer Esiason Foundation Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 27, 2019

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

Brother James Kearney Scholarship Program for the Blind

Amount: Varies

Deadline: June 30, 2019

Students diagnosed as legally blind or severely visually impaired are eligible. See list of current partnering colleges and universities for this award.

Diabetes Scholars Foundation

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

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.

Ellwood & Louise Reed Bridge to Life Scholarship

Amount: Varies


Burn survivors who are pursuing education after high school are eligible to apply. Students must demonstrate financial need.

Gemm Learning Dyslexia Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: July 16, 2019

Awards are given to students with a dyslexia diagnosis. An essay is required with application.

IDF Academic Scholarship Programs

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

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

Newcombe Scholarships for Students With Disabilities

Amount: Varies


Students must demonstrate financial need and have documentation of a disability. Scholarships are available only at certain institutions.

Turner Syndrome Society College Scholarships

Amount: $500

Deadline: January 1, 2020

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

Paralyzed Veterans of America Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June 17, 2019

Paralyzed Veterans’ Educational Scholarship Program helps members and their immediate families with pursuing post-secondary education from accredited U.S. colleges and universities.

Heather Burns Memorial Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: June 30, 2019

Scholarships are given to those diagnosed with sickle cell anemia disease or a life threatening disease (i.e. diabetes, lupus). A high school GPA of 2.5 or higher is required.

Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: June 28, 2019

Students with a spinal cord injury or disease resulting in paralysis may apply for this scholarship. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is necessary.