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.

The Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 30, 2019

Post-secondary students impacted by multiple sclerosis (MS), either directly or as a family member, may apply. Students must be U.S. citizens who are enrolled or plan to enroll in a vocational, technical, two or four-year college institution.

Faith Hope and Love Jesus, Inc. College Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: May 1, 2019

Students with a history of a blood disorder or cancer are eligible candidates. An essay on any topic is required.

John Lepping Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: May 1, 2019

Students with psychological handicaps and physical disabilities are eligible. Candidates must reside in New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania.

Sertoma Hard of Hearing or Deaf Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 1, 2019

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.

Swim with Mike Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 1, 2019

Scholarships support athletes who participated in organized competitive youth, high school or collegiate athletics and subsequently sustained a life changing illness or accident (e.g. blindness, cancer, paralysis, amputation, head injuries).

The Douglas MacInnes ALS Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: May 1, 2019

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.

Will2Walk Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 1, 2019

Awards are given to candidates who exemplify how those with spinal cord injuries can live a healthy, active and independent lifestyle.

The Organization for Autism Research Schwallie Scholarship Program

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: May 6, 2019

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

HFA Educational Scholarships

Amount: $4,000

Deadline: May 31, 2019

Students in the bleeding disorders community are eligible for scholarships. Application and eligibility criteria are listed on the website.

LTZ Foundation Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 15, 2019

Candidates must show proof of bilateral hearing loss. Eligible students are planning to attend a U.S. non-profit higher education institution.

Rehabmart Disability Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 31, 2019

Students will submit an essay on a provided topic. Candidates must have a disability, be a health science student or be entering the field of special needs education.

Phoenix Education Grant

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 31, 2019

Scholarships are given to burn survivor students pursuing their educational dreams. Candidates must plan to attend a higher education institution, including a two or four-year college, a technical or vocational school.

Flicker of Hope Foundation

Amount: Varies

Deadline: June 1, 2019

Scholarships are awarded to burn survivors who are high school or recently graduated high school students. Award criteria includes academic performance, financial need and community service.

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.

Exercise for Life Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: May 31, 2019

One female and one male high school senior and one female and one male undergraduate student with CF with athletic running abilities will be chosen for this scholarship. Applicants will be judged based on time and must be involved in their communities.

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.

NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship

Amount: $5,625

Deadline: June 6, 2019

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.

180 Medical College Scholarship Program

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June 1, 2019

Students under a doctor’s care for a spinal cord injury, transverse myelitis, ostomy, spina bifida or neurogenic bladder condition are eligible. Candidates may be high school, undergraduate or graduate students.

ASAN Autistic Scholars Fellowship Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: June 1, 2019

Students with an interest in advocacy for autistic people and people with disabilities should apply. Awards help students create systems changes on their college campuses.

Baxalta Shire's Education Advantage Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 3, 2019

Students with hemophilia A or B or von Willebrand disease are eligible for this scholarship. Awards can be applied to GED completion, college education, or vocational or technical education.

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

Deadline:

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.

KFM Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: April 29, 2019

Students with an autism diagnosis may apply. Candidates must be enrolled in a post-secondary education institution.

Newcombe Scholarships for Students With Disabilities

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

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.

Scooters 'N Chairs Student Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June 1, 2019

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.