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Published:March 27th, 2006 11:39 EST
Are you disabled?  In need of school funds?  These programs can help.

Are you disabled? In need of school funds? These programs can help.

By Andre Morse

Hi everyone, my name is Andre Morse.  I am a college freshman at Okaloosa Walton College, aspiring to be a Photojournalist.  As with many students, I am confronted with the daunting task of paying for my education.  Neither my parents nor I are independently wealthy, so I have been looking for different ways to pay for the astronomical costs of higher education.  At first, I thought about a job, but that is not very helpful to me since I am mentally disabled and need all of my time to concentrate on schoolwork.  What other alternatives do we, as students have, not many.  Therefore, I began the arduous task hunting down a program I can qualify for.

The first place I went to get help with tuition and other school related expenses was the counselor`s office.  I received a lot of advice and some internet links from my advisor.  Just looking at the list, I knew I had about a months worth of research to do.  Unfortunately, after looking at all the links provided by my advisor no programs were there for me.  So I started looking elsewhere, I started with a Google search which left me with 338,000 results to choose from.  

The following is the results of my month long research into scholarships for the disabled student.  I hope that this can help save some of you some time or maybe you know someone that could really use this information to help pay for school.  If so please pass it along I know I wish my counselor had had this when I went to see her, yes she has it now.  You will find grants for almost every kind of disability in the following pages.   This list is probably not the most complete one you can find, but it is a start I hope it helps you or a friend.

Rita M. O`Connell scholarship applications are now available at the Disability Resources front desk. The O`Connell scholarship is given annually to a woman undergraduate or graduate student who has, in spite of material and continuing physical or mental disability, not only achieved success as a student, but also demonstrated those traits of character and personal qualities of perseverance and indomitable spirit, which are likely to convince other disabled students that they can lead full and productive lives despite their disabilities. Applications are due by February 18, 2003 to:

New Student Programs
Dean of Students Office
P202 Peabody Hall
PO Box 114075
Gainesville, FL 32611-4075

The AAPD Congressional Internship Program will provide an opportunity for students with disabilities to work on Capitol Hill and acquire valuable work experience that will enrich their academic studies. Interns will gain insight into Congressional office operations, how public policy is developed, and the roles of the various constituencies in the legislative/political process. AAPD invites undergraduate students with disabilities to apply for this program.
Go to

Applications for the Cheryl Ziegert Memorial Scholarship are now available. The scholarship is for female graduate or undergraduate students with a learning disability. Deadline for the application is November 1st.

Applications for the Deb Richard Foundation Scholarship are now available. This new scholarship is for incoming freshman (Summer or Fall 2004) with physical or sensory disabilities. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2004.

American Council of the Blind

Deadline: March 1
Student must be legally blind and a U.S. citizen or resident alien. Approximately twelve scholarships are awarded per year ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 each.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

American Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
Type in the word "scholarship" in the search engine to discover numerous funding opportunities, including:
Delta Gamma Foundation Florence Margaret Harvey Memorial Scholarship: $1,000 to a legally blind junior, senior, or graduate student studying rehabilitation and/or education.

Ferdinand Torres AFB Scholarship: $1,000 to a full-time post-secondary student who is legally blind and presents evidence of economic need; the applicant must reside in the United States, but need not be a citizen.

Gladys C. Anderson Memorial Scholarship: $1,000 to a woman who is legally blind and studying classical or religious music. The Helen Keller Fund provides financial support through grants of $1,000 to $3,000 to help students who are deaf-blind with his/her reading, tutoring, or equipment acquisition expenses. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

The Karen D. Carsel Memorial Scholarship is an award of $500 awarded to a full-time graduate student who is legally blind and who presents evidence of economic need. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

Paul W. Ruckes Scholarship: $2,500 to an undergraduate or graduate student who is blind or visually impaired pursuing a degree in engineering or in computer, physical, or life sciences.

R.L. Gillette Scholarship: $1,000 to women who are legally blind and enrolled in a four-year undergraduate program in literature or music.
Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarship: $2,500 to undergraduate or graduate students who are legally blind and studying rehabilitation and/or education of people who are blind or visually impaired.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Billy Barty Foundation

Sponsors a scholarship fund to help promising college students who have a medical form of dwarfism. Provides $2,000 scholarships.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Christian Record Services Scholarships

Partial scholarships are offered to legally blind young people striving to obtain a college education.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Creating Options: A Resource on Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities (2005)

The latest edition of this popular resource paper features up-to-date information about federal financial aid programs, describes the relationship between state vocational rehabilitation agencies and the financial aid process, and lists organizations that offer disability-related grants and scholarships for postsecondary education. The paper suggests other sources of financial assistance for individuals with disabilities and recommends web sites where students will find additional financial aid information. Also included is a pre-college financial aid checklist to help students plan and manage a funding search.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Disabled and Handicapped Services Grants from the U.S. Government

Click on keyword and use the terms "disabled" or handicapped". Courtesy of the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

New federal website that is a portal to federal and federally funded programs and services.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Disability Resources Monthly Guide to Disability Resources on the Internet

Includes links to financial aid and grants resources.
(Last checked 09/15/05)
Ethel Louise Armstrong Fou

Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation (ELA)

Deadline : June 1
Supports professional organizations that work with people with disabilities through grants and scholarships that further their goals of education, advocacy, leadership development, mentorship and the arts. The Foundation especially seeks to support the work of organizations that are led by or support the work of women and girls with disabilities. The next deadline for applications is November 1 and grants are small, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. For more information, contact Ms. Deborah Lewis, 626-398-8840, email: executive
In addition, the Foundation is committed to expanding opportunities for female graduate students with disabilities and developing future leadership in the disability community. The foundation will award one or two scholarships of up to $2,000 each per academic year to supplement financial assistance received by a female graduate student(s). Visit the ELA Web site for complete eligibility information and application guidelines and forms.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

This list contains sources of financial aid where a primary criteria is that the student experience a disability. You should also search for financial aid based on other criteria such as: intended course of study or major, financial need, academics and leadership, personal characteristics, organizational affiliation, and local and regional sources. Compiled and surveyed by Tim Weiss. Revised 2/12/02
(Last checked 09/15/05)

HEATH Resource Center

George Washington University has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education`s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to operate the National Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities, known as the HEATH Resource Center. The web page contains information about funding opportunities along with many other resources.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Immune Deficiency Foundation Annual Scholarship Program

The Immune Deficiency Foundation has awarded scholarships to undergraduate students living with a primary immune deficiency disease.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Joseph P. Kennedy Jr Foundation

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, established in 1946 by Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, honors their eldest son who was killed in World War II. The Foundation has two major objectives: to improve the way society deals with its citizens who have mental retardation (intellectual disabilities), and to help identify and disseminate ways to prevent the causes of mental retardation (intellectual disabilities). The guiding strategy of the Foundation is to use its funds in areas where a multiplier effect can be achieved through development of innovative models for services and supports to persons with intellectual disabilities and their families, or for highly selective demonstrations of the prevention of intellectual disabilities. The Foundation operates by providing seed funding that encourages new methods of service and supports, and through use of the Foundation`s influence to promote public awareness of the needs of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families. Mission "The mission of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation is to provide leadership in the field of mental retardation and service to persons with mental retardation, both those born and unborn, and their families."
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Lighthouse International Scholarship Awards

Lighthouse International`s Scholarship Awards are designed to reward excellence, recognize accomplishments and help students who are blind or partially sighted achieve their career goals. There are four categories: College-bound Award, Undergraduate Award I, Undergraduate Award II and Graduate Award, and each carries a $5,000 prize. For more information, contact Kelly Boyle at the Lighthouse, tel: (212) 821-9428; fax (212) 821-9703; e-mail:
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Lilly Reintegration Scholarship

The goal of the Lilly Reintegration Scholarship is to help people with schizophrenia and related schizophrenia-spectrum disorders to acquire the educational and vocational skills necessary to reintegrate into society, secure jobs and regain their lives.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Lucent Pioneer Organization Scholarship
No URL: For more information, call 1-888-999-5877
The Lucent Pioneer Organization offers scholarships to assist with tuition for physically and mentally challenged students in pursuit of education. (As defined in The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992). Students may apply each January and applications should be mailed to the nearest Lucent Technologies Pioneer office.

Minnie Pearl Ear Foundation Scholarship

To qualify for the Minnie Pearl Scholarship, an applicant must
Currently be a high school senior with a least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. Be accepted, but not yet in attendance at a junior college, university, or technical school. Must attend on a full-time basis (12 hours per quarter or semester) Have significant (severe to profound) bilateral hearing loss. Be a mainstreamed hearing-impaired student. Be a United States Citizen
(Last checked 09/15/05)

National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program

Each year at its National Convention in July, the National Federation of the Blind gives a broad array of scholarships to recognize achievement by blind scholars. All applicants for these scholarships must be (1) legally blind and (2) pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time post-secondary course of study. In addition to these restrictions, some scholarships have been further restricted by the donor.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Pfizer`s Epilepsy Scholarship Award

One year $3000 award goes to 16 college students each year.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

This charity gives its trained animals to the blind at absolutely no charge. They also include four weeks of training in using the dog and will pay for room and board, all equipment, and round trip transportation. For more information, contact: Pilot Dogs, Inc.,

625 West Town Street, Columbus, OH 43215;
Telephone: 614-221-6367; Fax: 614-221-1577
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Postsecondary Resource Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities

Courtesy of the George Washington University Heath Resource Center. Pamela Ekpone. 11pp.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Special Needs/Disabilities Foundations

Courtesy of the fund-raising firm Custom Development Solutions (CDS), 1470 Ben Sawyer Blvd., Ste 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464; Toll Free: (800) 761-3833.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired in Postsecondary Education

Courtesy of the George Washington University Heath Resource Center. 15pp.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Postsecondary Education

Courtesy of the George Washington University Heath Resource Center. 16pp.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Summer Pre-college Programs for Students with Disabilities - 2005 Edition

This resource web page describes campus-based postsecondary orientation programs for students with various types of disability. The new edition describes 17 programs located in nine states throughout the country, and provides details about program features, curricula, tuition and contact information. (Other colleges not listed here may also have summer pre-college programs, but may limit admission to those students who have been admitted to that college. Therefore, interested students should also consult the college to which they have been admitted. Courtesy of the George Washington University Heath Resource Center. 9pp.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

United Student Aid Funds
Access to Education Scholarship

Deadline: March 15
Provides $1,500 to students with an annual family income of less than $35,000. Up to 50% of awards will be targeted to applicants who are members of an ethnic-minority group or who have a physical disability.

Also listed under Grants for Individuals -- Minorities.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Yes I Can Foundation for Exceptional Children

Offer a variety of programs, including:
Scholarships for individuals with disabilities who are entering college or vocational school for the first time. Four to ten scholarships are awarded annually for $500.00. Mini grants for Special Educators ($500) who develop innovative curricula and programs. Each year we award 5 -10 mini grants.
(Last checked 09/15/05)

Scholarship Application
Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)
Scholarship Program
Master of Science degree in Vocational Rehabilitation
College of Human Development

University of Wisconsin-Stout

The major purpose of RSA academic scholarship awards is to increase the supply of rehabilitation personnel available for employment as vocational evaluators in public and private nonprofit agencies involved in the vocational rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, especially those with the most severe disabilities. These scholarships are made available through a federal grant from Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), United States Department of Education.  In keeping with the priorities established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Vocational Rehabilitation Graduate Program is designed to provide the student competencies in the rehabilitation of adults who are severely physically, emotionally, or mentally disabled and to provide a special relevance to state vocational rehabilitation services and closely related cooperating private agencies and programs.
Scholarships are available to graduate students enrolled in the vocational evaluation concentration and in the rehabilitation counseling concentration of the Vocational Rehabilitation Master`s degree program. Awards are based upon an appropriate match of a person`s career objectives in relation to the purpose of the scholarship program. Potential for graduate work, as indicated by educational background, work experience, and references is also used in selecting scholarship recipients. In order to qualify for the portion reserved for financial need, the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA) must be completed and the analysis sent to UW-Stout`s Financial Aid Office. (More information found at: Persons with disabilities, the elderly, women, and members of racial or ethnic minority groups will be given priority, and are encouraged to apply for the RSA scholarships. Persons receiving a scholarship:
must document certain United States residency or citizenship status;

must state an interest in a career in the vocational rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities;

must agree to the employment obligation described in the application;

must not be concurrently receiving any other federal, state or local public or voluntary agency educational allowance when that allowance is conditional on a conflicting employment obligation;

must not be in default on a debt to the federal government under a nonprocurement transaction;

must not be declared by a judge (under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988) ineligible to receive federal assistance;

must be a full-time graduate student at UW-Stout;

must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or above;

must maintain satisfactory progress toward completing the degree requirements (see Graduate Bulletin for details); and

must meet program retention policies.
A scholarship recipient must be enrolled as a full-time (or equivalent) student and it is advised that they not be employed more than 24 hours per week while receiving a scholarship. Normal length of time which on-campus scholarships are awarded is one year (2 semesters and one summer session).

Individuals with severe disabilities or other complications that arise during the award period will be considered for extended support dependent upon availability of funds and individual circumstances. The recipient must submit a request for extended scholarship support to the RSA Project Director for consideration of unique circumstances that require extension of the program length.

All awards are contingent upon receipt of an annual award of an RSA Long-Term Training Grant. Should a grant award be received by UW-Stout, award levels for individual RSA Scholarships are dependent on the number of qualified applicants, the need demonstrated by these applicants, and the level of funding. Full scholarships would provide payment of a monthly stipend for ten months (no checks in Jan or August). Because of an extensive number of qualified applicants and limited financial support, partial scholarships may be awarded at times.
The following information outlines the terms and conditions of your employment obligation if you should receive an RSA scholarship.

A. Employment Obligation

The scholar will obtain and maintain employment -- in a state rehabilitation agency or in a nonprofit rehabilitation agency or related agency, including a professional corporation or professional practice group through which the individual has a service arrangement with the designated state rehabilitation agency -- on a full or part-time basis for a period of not less than the full-time equivalent of two years for each year for which a scholarship is received. The work requirement for portions of an academic year are prorated.

After completion of the training for which the scholarship is awarded, the employment obligation must be met within a period of not more than the sum of the number of years in the period described in item one and two additional years. If the degree is not completed, the student is considered to be in repayment status.

The employment obligation as applied to a part-time scholar is based on the accumulated academic years of training for which scholarship is received.

Until the scholar has been notified that s/he has satisfied the employment obligation described in item one, or has entered repayment status, the scholar will inform the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Department of Rehabilitation and Counseling, of any change of name, address, or employment status and will document employment satisfying the terms of the agreement.

Subject to the provisions regarding deferral or repayment exception, when the scholar enters repayment status, the amount of the scholarship that has not been retired through eligible employment will constitute a debt owed the United States that

a. will be repaid by the scholar, including interest and costs of collection; and
b. may be collected by the Secretary of Education by any means permitted in federal law for the collection of debts, in the case of the scholar`s failure to meet the obligation.
B. Deferral/Repayment Exception
Deferral or repayment exception to the above may be granted, in whole or part, by the Secretary of the Department of Education as follows:

1. Repayment is not required if the scholar

a. is unable to continue the course of study or perform the work obligation because of an impairment that is expected to continue indefinitely or result in death; or

b. has died.

Repayment of a scholarship may be deferred during the time the scholar is -

a. engaging in a full-time course of study at an institution of higher education;

b. serving, not in excess of three years, on active duty as a member of the armed services of the United States;

c. serving as a volunteer under the Peace Corps Act;

d. serving as a full-time volunteer under Title I of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973;

e. temporarily totally disabled, for a period not to exceed three years; or

f. unable to secure employment as required by the agreement by reason of the care provided to a disabled spouse for a period not to exceed twelve months.

Written application must be made to the Commissioner of the RSA, U.S. Department of Education,

600 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202

to request a deferral or exception to performance or repayment of a scholarship. Documentation must be provided to substantiate the grounds for deferral or exception.
C. Failure to Meet Obligation
In the event of a failure to meet the terms and conditions of a scholarship agreement or to obtain a deferral or exception, the scholar shall repay all or part of the scholarship.
Amount: The amount of scholarship to be repaid is proportional to the employment obligation not completed.

Interest Rate: The Secretary of Education charges the scholar interest on the unpaid balance owed in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3717.

Interest Accrual:

a. Interest on the unpaid balance accrues from the date the scholar is determined to have entered repayment status.

b. Any accrued interest is capitalized at the time the scholar`s repayment schedule is established.

c. No interest is charged for the period of time during which repayment has been deferred.

Collection Costs: The Secretary of Education may impose reasonable collection costs.

Repayment Status: A scholar enters repayment status on the first day of the first calendar month after the earliest of the following dates, as applicable:

a. The date the scholar informs the Commissioner of RSA he or she does not plan to fulfill the employment obligation under the agreement.

b. Any date when the scholar`s failure to begin or maintain employment makes it impossible for that individual to complete the employment obligation within the number of years required.

Amounts and Frequency of Payment: The scholar shall make payments to the Secretary of Education that cover principal, interest, and collection costs according to a schedule established by the Secretary.

D. Agreement is Subject to Change

Policies, regulations and procedures established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Department of Education, governing the scholarship, take precedence. The University of Wisconsin-Stout is not responsible to provide scholarships to students should this Federal funding be withdrawn.

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf Scholarship Awards for College Students available to students with profound or severe hearing impairment. The deadline to apply is December 1st. The amount available is from $500.00 to $1000.00.

AQEIPS Bursary Program available to students with disabilities. The amount of the bursary is $500.00

Carol Thompson Memorial Fund Scholarship and the Doreen Kronick Scholarship
available to students with learning disabilities. The deadline is May 15th . The amount available is $750.00.

Centennial Flame Research Award available to persons with disabilities that are conducting or planning to research. The amount available is $3000.00.

Copnick/Hilliard Scholarship fund available to students with severe mobility impairments that has shown outstanding initiative and scholarship ability. The amount available is $1000.00 and the deadline is August 31st .

Global Television Network Broadcasters of the Future Awards available to students with mobility impairments going into journalism, or radio and television arts. The amount is $15000.00 and the deadline is May 26th .

Telephone Pioneers of New Brunswick Foundation Scholarship for the mentally, physically, or sensory disabled or individuals working with the mentally, physically, or sensory disabled and will be attending a program at a post-secondary institution. The deadline is May 26th, and the amount is to be determined.

Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program available to students with disabilities under the age of 25. The deadline to apply is February 1st . The amount is $4000.00.

The Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship Fund available to students with disabilities and members of Rotaract Clubs. The amount of the scholarship is to be determined and the deadline to apply is July 15th .

Wayne and Walter Gretzky Scholarship Foundation available for the visually impaired. Must have a high academic standing. The deadline is August 1st, and the amount available is $5000.00.

These are not all of the programs that are out there for students.  There are many more that exist in the corners of the internet, not yet found by my very long searches.  Also, remember when you are searching online for information relating to scholarships for disabled students to be very specific in some cases, and not to be if you do not find what you are looking for.  Change the search string up to include your type of disability, sex, race, state you live in, or the state you wish to attend school. 

All of these factors do make a difference believe it or not.  More important than anything else is to never give up, there is a program, person, or group that will help you get through school even if it means having to get a job; it beats flipping burgers for the rest of your life. 

Right now, I am waiting for a response from the applications I have sent off.  I hope that I will get some good news within in the next few weeks.

The Autoimmune Disabilities Guide for Moms