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: December 10, 2021
Students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are eligible to apply. Applicants must submit a short essay describing their educational endeavors.
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.