Are There Special Scholarships for Disabled Students?

Are There Special Scholarships for Disabled Students?Living with a disability makes many normal activities more challenging, so scholarships for disabled students helps individuals get an education so they can find meaningful work in the community. There are merit-based scholarships that anyone can receive, and having a documented disability along with a high grade point average makes a person more likely to be awarded one of these scholarships. There are also merit-based scholarships available only for people with disabilities, so students who are hearing-impaired, vision-impaired, physically disabled or who have learning disabilities can distinguish themselves academically.

Financial Aid That Doesn’t Need to Be Paid Back

Not all scholarships are merit-based, however, and many programs exist simply to help students pay for an education if they need it. Like grants, scholarships don’t need to be paid back, but they usually only apply to a specific subsection of the population. In the case of disabled students, they’re intended to help even the playing field so that people who live with challenges aren’t prevented from having high-paying careers. There are scholarships specifically for students with every type of condition, including blindness, deafness, physical disabilities and learning disabilities, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and dyslexia.

There are also scholarships for students whose parents are disabled and scholarships for students with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hydrocephalus. Other awards are available for students who have been diagnosed with cancer or whose parents have been diagnosed. Students who have medically documented dwarfism have access to special scholarships, as do students with cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depressive disorder.

While there are many scholarships available for students with specific disabilities, there are also general awards for students with any type of condition. The best way to find out about available scholarships is to visit the U.S. Government’s website for disability information, the website or the financial aid office of a university.

Meeting the Deadline

Many scholarships for disabled students are non-renewable, which means they can only be awarded once, but because there are so many choices, it’s very likely that a disabled student can pay for a large portion of his or her education through these awards every semester. If possible, it’s also a good idea to maintain a GPA of at least 3.3 to be eligible for any merit-based awards, which make up a large portion of the available funds. The bottom line is that the U.S. government and a large number of private organizations are interested in making it easier for disabled people to attend college. It improves the economy and fosters a diverse society from which creative, innovative ideas can emerge.

Some of the organizations offering these awards include the American Foundation for the Blind, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the National Amputation Foundation, the Paralyzed Veterans of America Foundation, Little People of America, the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and the Organization for Autism Research. Companies such as Google and Microsoft offer awards, as well. As with any financial aid application, it’s important to submit a scholarship application before the deadline, and many scholarships have deadlines once a year rather than once a semester.

Disabled students have more challenges than most other students, but scholarships help to level the playing field for the disadvantaged people of society. If you have a hearing or vision impairment, learning disability or some other form of physical or mental disability, you should look into scholarships for disabled students to see which ones you’re eligible for.

For more information on college scholarships, please see: How Do I Find Scholarships for College?