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Disability Scholarships and Disabled Student Financial Aid Programs

Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2019/11/09

Synopsis: Information and list of disability scholarships for applicants including financial aid for the disabled and grant money for students with disabilities. Free scholarships exist for many minority groups, and having a disability is no different. Many institutions and organizations today offer financial aid for students with disabilities in the form of scholarships, opening the way for better educational opportunities.

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What are Disability Scholarships

A scholarship is defined as an award of financial aid for a student to further his or her education. The terms "scholarship" and "grant" are often used interchangeably, but there are usually differences between these two forms of aid.

Most scholarships are merit based. This means that they are awarded to students with certain qualities, such as proven academic or athletic ability. Many scholarships have rules, maintaining a certain GPA, for example, that you have to follow to continue receiving aid.

Scholarships exist for many minority groups, and having a disability is no different. There are thousands, of different scholarships available to those who suffer from all types of mental and/or physical disabilities. There are even scholarships designed for families with a parent(s) on disability allowance.

Students with disabilities can apply for awards and scholarships intended for disabled students in general, or in relation to a specific disability. Most grants are need based. This means that they are usually awarded based on your or your family's financial situation.

Additionally, many private organizations award scholarship money to ensure students with disabilities are able to achieve their college goals, despite learning issues, environmental challenges, or medical bills. These scholarships, loans, and grant programs help thousands of disabled people pay for school and college tuition every year.

Some scholarships cover full costs of education, including tuition, books, and living costs; some match financial need; and other scholarships are local, small, and intended to support students in making education or institution choices. Unlike college loans which must be reimbursed, disability scholarships, like all scholarships, should never cost the student (or his or her parents) any money and do not need to be paid back.

While federal governments provide money solely for those with some sort of physical or mental disability, which is estimated to be about forty million Americans, private organizations are where most of the scholarships for people with disabilities come from.

Many institutions and organizations today offer financial aid for students with disabilities in the form of scholarships, opening the way for better educational opportunities.

Bursaries

A woman wearing a graduation cap smiling and looking up at the sky.
A woman wearing a graduation cap smiling and looking up at the sky.

A bursary is a monetary award made by an institution to individuals or groups of people who cannot afford to pay full fees. In return for the bursary the individual is usually obligated to be employed at the institution for the same duration as the bursary.

There are two types of bursary awarded by institutions:

Financial Aid

The financial aid office at the school you plan to attend is a good place to begin your search for financial aid information. An administrator there can tell you about student aid available from your state, the school itself, and other sources.

Scholarships for persons with disabilities that help subsidize education expenses come in various types including:

(The above list will be expanded as we receive further disability scholarship submissions from institutions, schools, colleges, and private educational organizations)

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

A law was passed in the United States in 1975 called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The main intent was to make sure that over 40 million Americans would have more accessibility and mobility in the US. This law was amended to include other benefits which allowed other organizations to provide grants and free disability scholarship awards through (IDEA). A good example of this is the National Federation for the Blind and the National Association of the Deaf who both award scholarship and grant money for the disabled through (IDEA). After (IDEA) made the act of segregation of disabled students an illegal one a number of universities and colleges have stepped up and made education funding available for the disabled.

Searching Online for Disability Scholarships

If you have any sort of disability, you should look and see if you can get a grant, scholarship, or free money. You want to do an online search for "scholarships for (Your disability or condition)". Even if you feel it is something minor, there is always a possibility there may be some financial offers out there you will want to explore further.

If you are looking for information regarding a particular University or College in the United States our List of Universities and Colleges may be of assistance.

Disability Schooling Statistics

An astonishing 75% of children with a physical disability can't go to college or vocational school due to the financial burden of their disability. The results of this are alarming:

Also see: How do I Know if I Qualify for a Disability Scholarship?

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