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.

Marion Huber Learning Through Listening® (LTL) Awards

Amount: Varies

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.

Gemm Learning Dyslexia Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: October 31, 2021

Awards are given to students with dyslexia and/or auditory processing disorder. An essay is required with application.

Autism Scholarship Contest

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: December 10, 2021

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

International Essential Tremor Foundation Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

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.

Learning Disabilities Won't Stop Me Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: December 5, 2021

This scholarship is available to high school seniors and undergraduates with a diagnosed learning disability. Applicants must submit a 500+ word essay on how they have overcome their struggles in school.