Shannon L.
Written By - Shannon L.

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In today’s challenging educational landscape marked by soaring tuition costs, accessing quality higher education is particularly daunting for students with disabilities. Fortunately, numerous organizations, including private entities, corporations, and governmental agencies, offer scholarships tailored to this demographic. These scholarships are crucial in providing financial assistance and opening doors to advanced education.

Recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor reveal that, as of 2022, 21.3% of individuals with disabilities are employed[1]; across all age groups, persons with disabilities are less likely to be used than those without any disabilities. Moreover, a 2023 analysis by the Pew Research Center indicates that 32.4% of disabled students face specific learning disabilities[2]. Despite these hurdles, individuals with disabilities exhibit remarkable determination by utilizing disability scholarships and other resources to pursue higher education, striving for increased independence. This guide will explore various types of scholarships to support students with disabilities in their academic pursuits.

scholarships for students with disabilities

Table Of Contents

Top 10 Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Scholarships for students with disabilities help eager students go to college despite facing challenges. Many organizations are now helping these students. In this guide, we’ll talk about different scholarships, focusing on the top 10 for students with disabilities.

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Scholarships by Disability

Scholarships differ from loans. With scholarships, you don’t have to pay the money back. They cover your tuition, books, housing, and other expenses. Loans, on the other hand, require repayment. Many students with disabilities can pursue higher education confidently because of various financial options like disability scholarships and grants. Here is a list of disability scholarships based on different situations.

Scholarships for General Disabilities

A disability isn’t limited to a specific illness; it can include any physical or mental condition that makes daily life challenging. Recognizing this, numerous institutions are providing support through scholarships for students facing disabilities. These scholarship programs aim to assist students in pursuing a stable academic journey and exploring their areas of interest. The following is a list of scholarships available for individuals with general disabilities.

linkDescriptionApplication deadlineAward amount
Christopher Mark Pitkin Memorial ScholarshipThe Christopher Mark Pitkin Memorial Scholarship is intended for individuals who demonstrate goal-oriented motivation, particularly those involved with HFSC as community members or volunteers. Priority is given to applicants with a bleeding disorder diagnosis; first-time applicants are also favored. Unlike traditional scholarships, a perfect GPA or extensive extracurricular activities are not mandatory, recognizing the challenges associated with living with a bleeding disorder.June 5, 2023$250-$1,000
Dale M. Schoettler ScholarshipThe Dale M. Schoettler Scholarship provides a valuable opportunity for individuals with vision disabilities to pursue higher education. Applicants with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale, currently enrolled in 6.1 units or more at a California State University (CSU) as undergraduates or graduates, are encouraged to apply. Verification of the vision disability from a medical health professional is required, highlighting the necessity for accommodations or support services.Applicants are accepted on a year-round basis$10,000
Incight ScholarshipThe INCIGHT Scholarship program supports and empowers individuals with disabilities to pursue higher education. Applicants for this scholarship should showcase resilience, determination, and a commitment to their academic journey. Specific eligibility criteria, application procedures, and award details may vary, so interested individuals are encouraged to refer to the official guidelines for comprehensive information. The INCIGHT Scholarship aims to provide financial assistance and personal and academic growth opportunities to deserving candidates with disabilities.January 2024$2,500 (subject to change)
Margaret Howard Hamilton ScholarshipThe Margaret Howard Hamilton Scholarship is a prestigious award supporting graduating high school seniors accepted into the Harvey and Bernice Jones Learning Center at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas. Specifically tailored for students enrolled in the Ben Caudle Learning Program, interested individuals can request applications directly through the Learning Center upon program acceptance. The scholarship is contingent upon an annual transcript review by the National Chairman for continued eligibility.January 2023$1,000 renewable for up to four years
Richland County Foundation Mansfield Noon Lions Club Scholarship FundThe Richland County Foundation Mansfield Noon Lions Club Scholarship Fund, established in collaboration with the Mansfield Noon Lions Club, is specifically designed to offer scholarships and educational assistance for those who are severely visually handicapped. Additionally, it supports junior and senior college students undergoing training to assist and educate individuals with visual impairments.To be notifiedVaries
Sertoma Hard of Hearing or Deaf ScholarshipSertoma’s Scholarship for the Hard of Hearing or Deaf is a unique opportunity for U.S. citizens pursuing a full-time bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 40dB bilateral hearing loss. This scholarship prioritizes academic excellence, requiring a minimum 3.2 GPA.
High school seniors and first-year college students should consider cumulative GPAs from relevant periods. The scholarship underscores Sertoma’s commitment to supporting education for those with hearing challenges.
March 2023$1,000
Anne Ford ScholarshipThe Anne Ford Scholarship is a notable program designed to provide financial support to outstanding high school seniors with documented learning disabilities or ADHD. This scholarship, established by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), is dedicated to empowering and enabling individuals with learning challenges to pursue higher education.April 2024$10,0000
The Armando J. de Moya ScholarshipThe Armando J. de Moya Scholarship, situated at the University of Florida, supports undergraduates pursuing a degree in civil engineering. The scholarship, requiring a 3.0 GPA, emphasizes full-time enrollment during the fall and spring semesters. Established by the de Moya Foundation, a non-profit committed to empowering individuals with special needs, this scholarship reflects their dedication to creating employment opportunities and fostering academic success in civil engineering.June 2024$5,000
UCB Family Epilepsy ScholarshipThe UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship is set to make a meaningful impact by awarding educational support to individuals living with epilepsy, their family members, and caregivers dedicated to pursuing higher education. A total of 30 scholarships, each valued up to $5,000, will be granted to applicants demonstrating outstanding academic and personal achievements. Additionally, the scholarship program will recognize the legacies of Dr. Sandra Helmers and Dr. John M. Pellock, influential figures in the epilepsy community, by awarding two Epilepsy Leader Scholarships of up to $10,000 each.April 2023$10,000
Alabama Scholarships for Dependents of Blind Parents programThe Alabama Scholarships for Dependents of Blind Parents program provides educational support and opportunities for individuals facing unique family circumstances. Established to address the specific needs of dependents of blind parents, this scholarship initiative aims to empower and uplift students in pursuing higher education. As Alabama recognizes the importance of fostering academic success within diverse family backgrounds, this scholarship is a testament to the state’s commitment to inclusive and accessible education.VariesVaries
GLHF Education ScholarshipGLHF Education Scholarship assists students suffering from a bleeding disorder or with parents/spouses going through the same situation.Open throughout the year.Amount Varies
BioMatrix Joe Holibaugh Memorial ScholarshipThe BioMatrix Joe Holibaugh Memorial Scholarship is a dedicated opportunity for individuals diagnosed with hemophilia A or B and an inhibitor. Exclusive to United States residents, applicants must have secured acceptance to a U.S.-based accredited college, university, or technical school on a full-time basis. Eligibility requires a minimum GPA of 2.5, and application criteria include a letter of medical verification, recommendation letter, transcripts, and, for incoming first-year students, ACT or SAT scores and proof of admission. This scholarship aims to provide financial support and recognize the strength of individuals facing hemophilia challenges.August 2023$1,000
Millie Brothers CODA International ScholarshipThe Millie Brother Scholarship is an annual opportunity designed explicitly for hearing children of deaf adults, supporting their educational pursuits during undergraduate studies. While these scholarships are one-time awards, eligible individuals can apply for each academic year they are in school. It’s important to note that applicants must not have yet received this scholarship award to be eligible.To be announced$300-$3,000

ADHD Scholarships

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) constitutes a unique form of disability characterized by hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. Scholarships specifically designated for individuals with ADHD are available to support students who demonstrate an interest and passion for academic pursuits. These scholarships are crucial in facilitating the higher education journey for students with ADHD, empowering them to advance in their chosen educational programs.

linkDescriptionApplication deadlineAward amount
Allegra Ford-Thomas ScholarshipThe Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship offers a $5,000 award to graduating high school seniors over two years ($2,500 annually). Intended for those with documented learning disabilities, including ADHD and LD, the scholarship supports students enrolling in community college, vocational or technical training, or specialized programs for students with disabilities. This opportunity aims to empower and enable individuals with diverse learning needs to pursue higher education.April 2024$5,000
Anne Ford ScholarshipThe Anne Ford Scholarship is a distinguished program financially supporting graduating high school seniors with documented learning disabilities or ADHD. Established by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), this scholarship aims to empower individuals who have demonstrated resilience and determination in overcoming learning obstacles. It reflects a commitment to fostering educational opportunities and recognizing students’ potential with learning challenges.April 2024$10,000

Mental Health Scholarships

Mental Health Scholarships are offered to students diagnosed with mental health conditions and pursue education, similar to those with no disability. These mental health scholarships aim to break down barriers, providing financial assistance to those who have demonstrated resilience and determination in their educational pursuits despite the challenges they may face. In this section, we will explore different mental health scholarships, shedding light on the opportunities available to foster academic success and personal growth for individuals navigating the complexities of mental health.

linkDescriptionApplication deadlineAward amount
The Baer Reintegration ScholarshipThe Baer Reintegration Scholarship is a program offered by the Center for Reintegration. This scholarship is designed to support individuals with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder in their pursuit of education. It encourages and empowers these individuals to reintegrate into society through academic and vocational achievement.January 2024Varies
The Buckfire Law ScholarshipThe 2024 Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. Disability Scholarship is now open for applications. Established in 2014, this scholarship supports U.S. citizens in accredited colleges or universities facing various disabilities. Applicants must have completed at least one semester of classes and have a disability diagnosis. The scholarship highlights the law firm’s commitment to providing financial assistance for educational purposes to students with diverse abilities.October 2024$1,000
The Jared Monroe Foundation ScholarshipThe Jared Monroe Foundation Scholarship supports students diagnosed with bipolar disorder currently in treatment. Scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2300, are available for graduating high school seniors and first-year college students, sophomores, or juniors. Funds can be used for tuition, fees, books, and room & board. To qualify, applicants must be enrolled full-time in a U.S. college, have a verified bipolar disorder diagnosis in current treatment, maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, and submit the application, transcripts, and therapist letter.May 2023$500- $2,300

Scholarships for Students with Autism

Numerous students today have a diagnosis of autism, yet their determination to pursue education remains unshaken. Various scholarships cater specifically to autistic students, offering valuable opportunities to support their educational endeavors. The following is a compilation of fellowships tailored for individuals with autism.

linkDescriptionApplication deadlineAward amount
ASD Ascend College Autism ScholarshipsASD Ascend College Autism Scholarships apply to students with autism and pursuing associate or bachelor’s degrees. This scholarship is granted to the student irrespective of them being a freshman, sophomores, and juniors.May 2024$1,000
Autism Can Do ScholarshipApplying for the Autism Can Do Scholarship is accessible for eligible candidates residing in the United States or Canada and on the autism spectrum. Whether having completed high school or in the final year, applicants can utilize the scholarship for any form of education or skill development. The application process involves a simple form, a brief personal statement, and a creative touch with submitting a sock design, making it an accessible and engaging opportunity for autistic individuals.March 2024$1,000-$5,000
Schwallie Family ScholarshipThe Schwallie Family Scholarship offers support to students pursuing two- or four-year undergraduate degrees. It is a popular choice for individuals with Asperger Syndrome. The application process is user-friendly, allowing flexibility to save and submit later. Requirements include basic information, essay responses (written, audio, or slideshow), proof of enrollment, and an optional but strongly encouraged non-relative recommendation letter.May 2024$3,000
Making a Difference for Autism ScholarshipThe “Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” is a significant opportunity to impact the lives of individuals with autism positively. By providing financial assistance, the “Making a Difference for Autism Scholarship” seeks to foster a brighter future for students on the autism spectrum, enabling them to make meaningful differences in their communities and beyond.April 2024$500

Dyslexia Scholarships

Individuals suffering from learning disabilities and pursuing higher education can use many available scholarships. Dyslexia Scholarships aim the same – to help students with learning disorders. Here are some learning disability scholarships that allow students to pursue their educational goals.

linkDescriptionApplication deadlineAward amount
John Lepping Memorial ScholarshipThe “John Lepping Memorial Scholarship” initiative is dedicated to assisting students with the financial challenges of a cancer diagnosis and its associated treatments. This scholarship is earmarked explicitly for U.S. citizens residing in the USA. Eligible applicants must provide a letter from a licensed physician confirming their cancer diagnosis, although this documentation should be submitted after the initial application, not concurrently.June 2024$5,000
Pine Cone Foundation ScholarshipThe “Pine Cone Foundation Scholarship” represents a unique opportunity for individuals seeking financial support for their education. This scholarship is designed to assist students in pursuing their academic goals, acknowledging the importance of education in personal and professional growth. The Pine Cone Foundation Scholarship aims to empower students, fostering their potential for success in higher education.September 2024$1,000-$3,500
Ralph G. Norman ScholarshipAn Arkansas resident and student with a documented learning disability or dyslexia seeking financial help to enroll in a two-year community college or vocational program is eligible for the Ralph G. Norman Scholarship.April 2024$2,500

Scholarships for Hearing Impaired

For students needing financial assistance, loans can pose a significant burden. On the other hand, scholarships alleviate the financial strain, allowing students to focus on their education and self-improvement. This is particularly crucial for students with hearing disabilities who shouldn’t have to halt their educational pursuits due to financial constraints. Numerous organizations provide scholarships tailored explicitly for students diagnosed with hearing impairment. Explore the following list of scholarships designed to support students overcoming hearing challenges in their educational journey.

linkDescriptionApplication deadlineAward amount
Dean Ritter Foundation ScholarshipThe Dean Ritter Foundation Scholarship is a valuable opportunity for at least ten graduating high school seniors in Illinois who are deaf or hard of hearing. This scholarship is designed to assist with tuition expenses for those continuing their education beyond high school. Eligible applicants must demonstrate significant hearing loss in one or both ears, display financial need, maintain good academic standing, actively engage in school or community activities, and provide a brief 500-word essay reflecting on the personal impact of hearing loss on their lives.May 2023$3,000
Graeme Clark ScholarshipThe Graeme Clark Scholarship represents a commendable opportunity for individuals seeking financial support for their academic pursuits. Named after the pioneer behind the cochlear implant, this scholarship acknowledges the achievements and potential of students with hearing challenges. Established to ease the financial burden of higher education, the Graeme Clark Scholarship provides valuable assistance for those demonstrating resilience, academic merit, and a commitment to their community.September 30th of each year$2,000
Sertoma’s Scholarship for the Hard of Hearing or DeafSertoma’s Scholarship for the Hard of Hearing or Deaf offers vital financial support to individuals facing hearing challenges, emphasizing equal educational opportunities. Eligibility requires U.S. citizenship, pursuing a graduate-level degree in speech-language pathology and audiology at a U.S. institution accredited by ASHA’s Council on Academic Accreditation, and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.March 31st Annually$2,500

Physical Disability Scholarships

Scholarships for individuals with physical disabilities are dedicated to supporting deserving students in pursuing educational and career aspirations, regardless of any physical challenges they may face. The following scholarships aim to empower students by providing financial assistance, allowing them to pursue academic excellence without debt.

linkDescriptionApplication deadlineAward amount
Ameriglide Achiever ScholarshipThe AmeriGlide Achiever Scholarship is specifically designed for students utilizing a manual wheelchair, power wheelchair, or mobility scooter. This scholarship is a valuable resource, aiding students in meeting the costs associated with tuition and books. It is a supportive initiative to empower individuals facing mobility challenges, ensuring they have the financial assistance needed to pursue their educational goals.Not mentioned$2,500
Craig H. Nielsen Scholarship Fund for students with disabilitiesThe Craig H. Nielsen Scholarship Fund extends support to students with spinal cord injuries and physical disabilities. This program offers financial assistance covering tuition, books, and college or university fees, aiming to empower and facilitate academic pursuits for individuals facing physical challenges.Application by invitation$7,000
DREAM Institute’s Higher Education Assistance Program (HEAP)DREAM Institute’s Higher Education Assistance Program is awarded to individuals seeking higher education despite physical disabilities. The scholarship program financially aids physically disabled students by providing funds for tuition, fees, books, and dorm fees.May 1st$500-$15000
Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation ScholarshipsThe Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation Scholarship provides essential financial support for female students with physical disabilities pursuing higher education in the United States. Eligible applicants must be accepted into a graduate program actively engaged in disability organizations, either locally or nationally, that offer services and advocacy for individuals with disabilities.June 2022$1000 – $2000
ChairScholars Foundation ScholarshipThe ChairScholars National Scholarship Program is open to high school seniors and college undergraduates across the continental U.S., offering up to $20,000 for college or university of their choice. Eligible applicants must have a significant physical challenge impacting daily activities, demonstrate unmet financial need, maintain at least a B average, and engage in meaningful community service. The scholarship prioritizes those with significant disabilities and excludes minor disabilities from consideration.N/AUp to $20,000

Colleges with Programs for Disabled Students

Securing financial assistance for a college education can be a hurdle for disabled students, making scholarships a crucial resource. However, searching for educational institutions that prioritize and support students with disabilities can pose a challenge.

At Online Masters Colleges, we firmly believe that disabilities should not be a barrier to pursuing higher education. Through thorough research, we’ve compiled a list of universities and colleges that offer dedicated programs and support for disabled students. These institutions provide an inclusive learning environment and the necessary assistance to ensure that students with disabilities can thrive in their academic pursuits.

Additional Resources for Students with Disabilities

In addition to seeking financial aid, students with disabilities can benefit significantly from various resources that offer networking opportunities, career guidance, and connections with like-minded communities that have overcome educational challenges to achieve academic and career success. 

Here’s an expanded list of resources tailored to support students with disabilities in their educational and professional journeys:

  1. ChairScholars Foundation:
    • Purpose: Created for students facing physical challenges.
    • Offerings: Provides scholarships for individuals pursuing vocational training or post-secondary education with disabilities.
  2. Rewarding Individual Success in Education (RISE):
    • Purpose: Non-profit organization offering scholarships for high school students with learning disabilities.
  3. Learning Disabilities Association of America:
    • Purpose: Supports individuals with learning disabilities in pursuing education.
    • Mission: Creating successful opportunities for students with physical or mental impairments.
  4. Organization for Autism Research:
    • Purpose: Understands and supports individuals with autism through comprehensive programs.
  5. California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED):
    • Purpose: Advocacy group focused on increasing educational access for students with disabilities at all levels.
  6. McBurney Disability Resource Center:
    • Purpose: Serves as an office for students with disabilities on the UW-Madison campus.
    • Offerings: Provides accommodations and opportunities for engagement, exploration, and participation in the Wisconsin idea.
    • Purpose: Federal information resource for citizens with disabilities.
    • Offerings: Contains valuable information for disabled students and their parents, detailing financial aids available in various formats such as scholarships, grants, and loans.

These resources aim to empower and support students with disabilities, providing them with the tools and networks necessary for overcoming challenges and achieving success in their educational and career pursuits.