This is a resource post with direct links to scholarships for students with disabilities. All scholarships are for students with disabilities, but some are location-specific, some are disability-specific.
In and of itself, accessing higher education can be challenging. When you compound disability, it’s even harder.
There are sources that want to make this a little easier for us, organizations that have scholarships that are specifically designed for students who have disabilities.
Some of these scholarship applications have a lot of ableism in them, with inspiration porn built right in. This can be pretty hard to stomach, harder still to write those applications. It can make you want to take a shower afterwards…. whether or not you write them though, that’s just a call you have to make for yourself.
There are other avenues to explore in getting your higher education funding and we’ll talk about those a little later. Right now, let’s focus on the organizations that offer scholarships or fellowships to disabled students.
Each section and scholarship is directly hyperlinked in the table below, so you can jump directly to the scholarship that you are interested in.
General Disability Scholarships
Wells Fargo Scholarship Program for People with Disabilities
Amount Awarded: The program will award up to $2,500 renewable scholarships for full-time students and up to $1,250 renewable scholarships for half-time students.
Application Deadline: Opening January 2023. Only the first 700 applications will be accepted.
Description: The Wells Fargo Scholarship Program for People with Disabilities is designed to help students pursue the education or training they need to succeed in their chosen career path.
To Apply: https://learnmore.scholarsapply.org/pwdscholarship/
Microsoft Disability Scholarship
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Application Deadline: Check the website throughout January
Description: This scholarship will be awarded to promising high school seniors with disabilities who plan to attend a vocational or academic college and target a career in the technology industry. The scholarships are renewable – each winner who continues to meet the criteria is eligible to receive an annual award of $5,000 for up to four (4) consecutive years for a potential total $20,000 scholarship.
To apply: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/programs/microsoftdisabilityscholarship.aspx
Stephen L. Squires SWSIS Scholarship
Amount Awarded: $5,000 to $10,000
Application Deadline: Feb 1, 2023
Description: This award is for women pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in cybersecurity. Successful candidates must have overcome adversity, such as a learning disability, bullying, or discrimination. The award amount varies from $5,000 to $10,000. You must be a U.S. citizen to be eligible.
To apply: https://cra.org/cra-wp/scholarships-and-awards/scholarships/swsis
American Association on Health and Disability Scholarship Program
Amount Awarded: $1000
Application Deadline: March 1, 2023
Description: The American Association on Health and Disabilities awards $1000 to undergraduate/graduate students (at least a sophomore) with a disability pursuing studies related to the health and disability, such as, public health, health promotion, disability studies, disability research, rehabilitation engineering, audiology, disability policy, and special education.
To apply: http://aahd.us/initiatives/scholarship-program/
Spring 2023 National Scholarship Competition for College Students with Disabilities
Amount Awarded: $2,000
Application Deadline: March 15, 2023
Description: Any student with a disability enrolled in a 2 or 4-year accredited college or university in the US.
To apply: https://www.disabledperson.com/scholarships/35
Google Lime Scholarship for Computer Science Students with Disabilities
Amount Awarded: $10,000
Application Deadline: Not Stated (Check their Website!)
Note: As of writing (01/23), the scholarship information for 2023 has not been posted on their website but it will be.
To apply: https://buildyourfuture.withgoogle.com/scholarships/google-lime-scholarship
Also, for the Lime Pathways (High School to College) Scholarship for High School Seniors with Disabilities: https://www.limeconnect.com/programs/page/lime-connect-pathways-scholarship-for-high-school-seniors
Vitality Medical Scholarship
Amount Awarded: Varies.
Application Deadline: September 15, 2023
Description: Vitality Medical’s Student Disability Scholarship program is designed to encourage and support outstanding students who work hard and want to make a significant impact on their school and community. Must be enrolled as a senior in high school or in undergrad and GPA 3.0 or higher; at least 16 years of age.
To apply: https://www.vitalitymedical.com/scholarships-from-vitality-medical/disability-scholarship-program
Traumatic Brain Injury Scholarship by Bressman Law
Amount Awarded: $1,000
Application Deadline: June 15, 2023
Description: Scholarship for students with traumatic brain injuries
Eligibility: Any student with a documented brain injury diagnosis, 3.0 (minimum) GPA, currently enrolled or accepted to an accredited US college.
To apply: https://www.bressmanlaw.com/Scholarship/
Amount Awarded: Up to $2,500
Application Deadline: February 26, 2023
Description: Scholarship is open to high school seniors and current college students diagnosed or presumed to have a learning disability who are interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
To apply: https://morelli.foundation/scholarship/
The Guthrie-Koch PKU Scholarship
Amount Awarded: Not stated
Deadline to Apply: February 1, 2023
Description: Scholarships are open to any college-age undergraduate with PKU who is on diet treatment. Residents of any country are eligible to apply, but the application must be in English or translated into readable English.
To apply: https://pkuscholarship.org/
American Council of the Blind Scholarship
Amount Awarded: $2,000-$7,500
Deadline to Apply: February 14, 2023
Description: The American Council of the Blind is offering scholarships for the 2023 school year. Applications will be accepted from November 1 through February 14.
Eligibility: Legally blind undergraduate and graduate students, maintain a 3.0 GPA, full time student or part time who works at least 32 hours a week, involved in school and local community and attending post-secondary school in the United States.
To apply: https://acb.org/scholarships
Study.com Scholarship for Students with ADHD
Amount Awarded: $1000
Closing Date: May 1, 2023
Description: Scholarship is open to incoming and current students diagnosed with ADHD pursuing any undergraduate degree program.
To apply: https://study.com/resources/students-with-adhd-scholarship
Birth Injury Survivor Scholarship from Distasio Law Firm
Amount Awarded: $2,500
Deadline to Apply: June 15, 2023
Description: Scholarship is open to current college students who have a birth injury diagnosis.
To apply: https://distasiofirm.com/scholarship-opportunities/birth-injury-survivor-scholarship/
Location-Specific Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
These are scholarships for general students with disabilities. They are location-specific: only people living in these areas are eligible for the scholarships.
Look through them and run with it if you live in those areas. If you don’t. PLEASE REMEMBER to do your own searches in your own area. Google your location + disability + scholarship and see what comes up.
The William and Cordula Freese Scholarship – Saginaw County
Amount Awarded: Varies
Application Deadline: February 10, 2023
Description: Visual/physical disabilities. High School seniors or undergraduates.
Applicants must be Saginaw County residents.
To apply, please visit the United Advisory Scholarship Commission – https://www.saginawfoundation.org/site/united-advisory-scholarship-commission-scholarships/
Carolyn Balsa Hancock Memorial Scholarship – LA/East Side High School
Amount Awarded: $1500,
Application Deadline: February 28, 2023
Description: Applicants must be in the Special Education Program at the East Side Union High School District. Students must also have a plan for additional vocational or academic training after high school.
To apply: https://www.cappex.com/scholarships/carolyn-balsa-hancock-memorial-scholarship
Orion Fund Grants – California
Amount Awarded: Up to $3,000
Application Deadline: February 28, 2023
Location Specific: California
Description: Scholarships are open to California college students with serious illness or injury. Applicant must be under the age of 32 and have a serious medical condition affecting their ability to stay in school.
To apply: https://theorionfund.org/grants/
NCJW NY Jackson-Stricks Scholarships – NY Area
Amount Awarded: $5,000-10,000
Application Deadline: March 25, 2023
Location specific: New York Area
Description: Scholarships are available to students with physical disabilities that affect mobility, vision or hearing who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in the New York Metropolitan Area. If you have questions about the scholarship please email firstname.lastname@example.org”
Assistance League – Boise Idaho
Amount Awarded: $3,000
Application Deadline: April 1, 2023
Location Specific: Residents of Ada County, Idaho
Description: Tuition/textbook educational scholarships for graduating, hearing impaired, Idaho high school seniors or continuing higher education students who reside in Ada County. Recipients may renew their per-year scholarships up to three times depending on the approval of the Selection Committee of Assistance League of Boise.
To apply: https://www.assistanceleague.org/boise/philanthropic-programs/project-hearing-old/student-scholarship/
Cheryl D. Conkling Memorial Award – Many locations
Amount Awarded: $1,500 per semester (fall and spring only) for eight semesters or $12,000
Application Deadline: Check the website
Location Specific: Preference will be given to students with hearing or other physical impairments, financial need and students from Windsor, Colorado; Conroe, Texas; and Wilkinson County, Mississippi.
Description: Scholarships are provided to graduating high school seniors. Scholarship awards are.
To apply: https://www.brafscholarships.org/conkling
The Alex and Suzanne Rosenkrantz Scholarship Fund – WA
Amount Awarded: Not stated. Check back with the website
Deadline to Apply: Applications are accepted year-round, with those post-marked by July 15 reviewed in August
Location Specific: Washington State, with priority given to Grays Harbor residents; then residents of Pacific, Thurston and Mason Counties; then residents of other counties in Washington State.
Description: For blind, deaf, or deaf-blind. Higher education, vocational training, education in Braille, and computer-based education for the blind, deaf and deaf-blind will be funded.
To apply: https://new.expo.uw.edu/expo/scholarships/alexsuz
Incight Scholarship – WA, OR or CA
Amount Awarded: $500
Application Deadline: April 15, 2023
Location Specific: Current Washington, Oregon or California resident.
Description: Qualifying students with any type of disability. Must be attending higher education during the funding cycle following your application (2021-2022 School Year.) This includes college, university, community college, or vocational school. Any degree eligible.
To apply: https://www.incight.org/scholarship
The John Lepping Memorial Scholarship – NY, NJ or PA
Amount Awarded: Varies, up to $5000
Application Deadline: May 1, 2023
Location Specific: Residents of New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
Description: Must have one or more disabilities, including, but not limited to physical conditions (spinal cord injury, loss of limb, birth defects, etc.) and psychological conditions (autism, post- traumatic stress etc.).
To apply: http://www.lepfoundation.org/applications
Jack Scura Fund – NJ
Amount awarded: $10,000
Deadline to Apply: June 15, 2023
Location Specific: Must be attending or planning to attend a university in New Jersey
Description: Must be a disabled high school seniors who will be enrolling in an undergraduate program in the fall or who are currently enrolled.
To apply: https://www.scura.com/jack-scura-fund
Rochester Institute for the Deaf
Searching for Scholarships is Hard
I’m just not going to lie: this whole process is HARD. I know; I’ve done it, many times. It’s hard on many levels; the organization that is required through the process – creating spreadsheets, keeping track of where you’ve applied, where you need to still reach out – coupled with yucky feelings that can be stirred up when you need to write essays for many of the applications that seemed more geared for the ableist world.
And, full disclosure: I never did receive scholarships for disability myself. I ended up receiving scholarships for my good grades and for being the grandchild of veterans. That’s it, and with that in mind, here are some general scholarship sites for you to add to radar:
Connect with organizations that provide scholarships to students like you.
Fill out a free profile and uncover millions of dollars in scholarships from colleges, universities, private companies, foundations, and more.
Get matched with up to $3 billion in scholarships using Fastweb’s unique scholarship matching service.
Finding money for school has never been easier with GoodCall’s time-saving search functionality. You can search for scholarships that uniquely fit your interests and qualifications.
Find free resources on the types of scholarships available and information on how to find those that fit your unique circumstances.
Millions of scholarships, personalized results—check out the wide variety of scholarships in UniGo’s Scholarship Directory.
For more information on how to find scholarships and avoid financial aid scams, visit the Federal Student Aid website.
Take care, and good luck!
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.