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June 8, 2020

Obtaining an education shouldn’t have to mean also obtaining a bunch of financial debt. Finding alternative ways to fund your education may require a little extra work, but it’s worth it in the long run—sometimes it’s worth thousands of dollars.

Students with disabilities and non-normative neurology face exclusion from many funding programs. However, there are special scholarships and grants out there that are excited to support students with disabilities. Having a different body or mind shouldn’t mean that you’re not able to get an affordable education.

Take a look at these opportunities for financial funding and don’t let the expense of college deter you from applying.

1. Organization for Autism Research Scholarship Program

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: May 7, 2018

The Organization for Austism Research (OAR) has a scholarship program that supports students diagnosed with autism. In order to qualify, the student must be enrolled full-time in a secondary degree program in the United States. The program is highly competitive with about 500 students applying and about 10 percent receiving a scholarship. Although it is not asked that the student submit their medical diagnosis information, if the student does receive a scholarship they will eventually have to submit this proof. Read more on their website for details on the diagnosis qualification.

2. AbbVie Cystic Fibrosis Scholarship

Amount: Varies from $3,000 to $24,000

Deadline: May 27, 2018

Any student living with cystic fibrosis as a U.S. citizen qualifies for this scholarship program. Forty applicants will be awarded with the $3,000 scholarship and 2 outstanding applicants will be granted a whopping $24,000 scholarship to put towards their education. The student must be enrolled in an accredited education institution.

3. Prejax Foundation Scholarship for Students with MS or Children of Parents with MS

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 30, 2018

This scholarship is for students with MS or children of parents with MS. These scholarships are awarded based on merit, involvement in extracurricular activities, and leadership. For the application, students are required to submit a 500-word essay discussing how MS has had an impact on their lives.

4. Scott and Kim Verplank Foundation Scholarship

Amount: $10,000 per year

Deadline: April 15, 2018

This scholarship is specifically for students diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Once a student receives this scholarship, it is renewable for each enrolled academic year as long as basic requirements are met. The applicant must currently be a high school senior and have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

5. VSA Emerging Young Artist Program

Amount: Varies from $2,000 to $20,000

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Calling all visual artists: this is a promising program that supports artists with a wide range of non-normative developmental disabilities. Students between the ages of 16 and 25 qualify for this program. Not only do recipients receive funding to help pay for their education, but they are also given the opportunity to showcase their artwork in a traveling art exhibition. For the opening in Washington D.C., students will have the opportunity to attend an all-expenses paid workshop focused on professional artistic development.

6. Sertoma Scholarship for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

This scholarship is granted to students with hearing impairment. Any U.S. citizen pursuing a post-secondary education as a full-time student with a 3.2 GPA or higher is qualified. For this scholarship, anyone with a minimum of 40dB bilateral hearing loss in both ears can apply. The application is very straightforward with a required short essay stating how this money will help you achieve your goals.

7. AAHD Scholarship Program


Deadline: November 15, 2018

This scholarship is granted to students diagnosed with AAHD. The student must be enrolled in an accredited post-secondary educational institution and pursuing a degree related to health and disability. This can include engineering, technology, disability law, and any other major that will somehow help further improving people’s lives who have disabilities as well.

8. Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: November 13, 2018

This is a scholarship for one student with a documented learning disability who exhibits the financial need and motivation to overcome their learning obstacles in a unique way. The applicant must be a graduating high school senior and U.S. citizen enrolled in a post-secondary educational program. Although the application process for this coming year has ended, the open call for the next scholarship cycle will begin at the end of this year.