A scholarship is defined as an award of financial aid for a person to further their 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. Students with disabilities may be able to apply for awards intended for people with disabilities. Those scholarships may be 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.
No two disability scholarships are ever quite the same and not every scholarship may apply to you or your current situation.
If, for example, you have a hearing impairment and the scholarship is for blind students, you obviously would not qualify. Therefore be sure you read the scholarship application details and requirements thoroughly before filling out the form(s).
The Learning Disabilities Association is a U.S. national organization committed to providing services, education, and resources for individuals with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and ADHD, among others. Students facing such challenges might benefit from contacting their state's chapter of the LDA.
Students with disabilities can qualify for a large number of unique scholarship types and Disabled World has assembled a few of the well respected organizations that provide disability scholarships. Funding can assist with approved education-related items and services such as tutors, note-takers, assistive computer software, and other equipment to accommodate your individual disability-related needs.
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.
They may be a few hundred dollars or a significant sum of money, and unlike student loans, they do not have to be repaid. Colleges and universities award a wide variety of scholarships so you will want to talk to the Student Financial Aid Office about what is available. There are also other scholarships available specifically for students with disabilities, including psychiatric disabilities.
The best source of information on student funding is always the Student Financial Aid Office at your college or university. Information and regulations change fairly frequently, but they will have the latest information. They can:
Run searches for "disability scholarships," "financial aid for disabled" "disability college grants," etc.
Your church, mosque, synagogue or temple may have scholarships available. Also check with the headquarters of your religious affiliation.
Your local Chamber of Commerce may offer small grants or scholarships to local students, often to those pursuing a career in business.
Parents can check with personnel administrators to see if their employers offer financial aid, tuition reimbursement, or scholarships for employees' children. If you are employed or volunteering, ask your company if they offer scholarships.
A good first step in your scholarship search is to check with your parents' employers, local organizations, your high school guidance counselor, your college or university's financial aid office, the department chairman at your chosen school, and your college or the local library.
The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is co-sponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). The PSAT/NMSQT gives you practice for the SAT, as well as a chance to qualify for scholarship and recognition programs.
Many professional or social organizations offer scholarships. The Elks Club, for example, offers millions of dollars each year in scholarships for graduating high school students. Some labor unions (AFLCIO, Teamsters, etc.) offer scholarships for members and their dependent children. If you are not a member of an organization, check with organizations that are related to your chosen field of study.
A network of national service programs that engage more than 50,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. AmeriCorps jobs are open to U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful permanent residents aged seventeen or older. Participants receive an education award to pay for college or graduate school, or to pay back student loans. For more information, call 1-800-942-2677 (TTY 1-800-833-3722) or consult www.americorps.gov
In addition you can perform a search on FastWeb.com, which provides a list of scholarships for students with disabilities and other related information for both parents and students.
Note: Financial assistance for students with a physical disability is generally separate from, for example, hearing and learning disability scholarships.