Scholarships for students with disabilities

If you live with any type of physical, mental, or learning disability, these scholarships can help. Explore scholarships for students with disabilities here!
Written by Ashley Reid, Contributor

In 2017, the National Disability Institute completed a financial survey. It showed that students with disabilities take out fewer loans than nondisabled individuals. However, 36% of respondents with student loan debt did not complete their degree. 

As someone living with a disability, you have other payment options — like scholarships. 

Scholarships for students with disabilities can help you avoid some student loan debt. They can also make your career goals (and a lucrative salary) more accessible. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with a bachelor's degree earn a median of $5,220 monthly. This salary totals $1,264 more than the national median for all full-time employees. 

Below we have compiled a list of scholarships for students with various disabilities. 

Some foundations grant awards to individuals with specific conditions or illnesses, while others accept applicants with any disability. 

Scholarships for students with disabilities

No matter your disability type, you can find scholarships that cater to you. Explore your options below, listed in alphabetical order. 

180 Medical scholarship

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: June 1, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Undergraduate or graduate student; has spina bifida, transverse myelitis, ostomy, neurogenic bladder, or a spinal cord injury

About: 180 Medical requests transcripts, diagnosis documentation, and a copy of a college acceptance letter. Students present a five-minute video or a 750-word essay sharing their story and goals. 

Apply now

1800wheelchair Scholarship Fund 

Amount: $500
Deadline: May 31, 2022
Eligibility limitations: High school senior or undergraduate/graduate student; 3.0 minimum GPA

About: Applicants must submit a visual poem and personal statement about overcoming challenges. They can use abstract representation, imagery, or text to convey their experiences.

Apply now

ABC Law Centers Cerebral Palsy Scholarship 

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: July 31, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Future or current undergraduate/graduate student; 3.0 minimum GPA; has cerebral palsy; not a ABC Law Centers client

About: Applicants prepare a project expressing their relationship with cerebral palsy. They may submit an essay, multimedia presentation, video, or performance piece.

Apply now

AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: March 1, 2023
Eligibility limitations: Full-time undergraduate student (no first-year learners or current high schoolers); part or full-time graduate student; has a documented disability

About: Students submit a personal statement, two recommendation letters, most recent college transcripts, and proof of disability. AAHD prefers health/disabilities majors and applicants with volunteer experience.

Apply now 

Anne Ford Scholarship 

Amount: $10,000 ($2,500 per year)
Deadline: April 10, 2022
Eligibility limitations: High school senior entering a degree program; has ADHD or learning disability

About: The National Center for Learning Disabilities requests proof of diagnosis, financial information, recommendation letters, and transcripts. This scholarship lasts four years. 

Apply now

Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar Award

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: July 31, 2022 (for fall semester); November 30, 2022 (for spring semester)
Eligibility limitations: High school senior or undergraduate college student; 2.8 minimum GPA

About: Students must write a short essay about living with a disability. Auger & Auger Attorneys review the essay and transcripts, looking for high-achieving individuals.   

Apply now

Baron & Budd Attorneys Mesothelioma Cancer Victims Memorial Scholarships

Amount: $2,500
Deadline: July 8, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Accepted to four-year institution; not a Baron & Budd employee or related to one

About: Applicants must submit an essay or short video about how cancer has affected them or a loved one. 

Apply now 

Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) academic scholarships

Amount: $10,000 per year
Deadline: April 29, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Undergraduate or graduate student with cystic fibrosis

About: BEF offers 15 scholarships across six designations. Each prioritizes certain characteristics, such as athleticism or a passion for life. Students submit transcripts, medical documentation, and tax information.

Apply now

Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. Disability Scholarship Program

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: October 1, 2022
Eligibility limitations: College or university enrollee; has completed at least one semester; has a disability

About: The scholarship committee accepts applicants with any type of disability. Students must submit a diagnosis along with transcripts and an essay about overcoming adversity.

Apply now

Cheryl D. Conkling Memorial Scholarship 

Amount: $12,000 ($3,000 per year)
Deadline: June 7, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Full-time college student in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana; Wilkinson County, Mississippi; Windsor, Colorado; or Conroe, Texas

About: The foundation may favor students with hearing loss or other physical disabilities. Applicants submit SAT/ACT scores, a recommendation letter, transcripts, and a personal essay.

Apply now

CURE — Cancer Support Scholarship

Amount: $5,000
Deadline: June 1, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Student diagnosed with cancer; significant financial need; accepted at a postsecondary institution

About: The scholarship supports students who have experienced financial setbacks due to their cancer diagnosis. Applicants submit three recommendation letters, transcripts, and an essay. 

Apply now

Disabled student scholarship from the Disability Care Center

Amount: $500
Deadline: August 1, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Undergraduate enrollee taking 12+ credits or graduate student taking 9+ credits; 2.5 minimum GPA; has a debilitating condition

About: Students must submit disability documentation, transcripts, a recommendation letter, and upcoming semester schedule. The required essay should discuss overcoming obstacles due to a disability.

Apply now

FACES College Scholarship Program

Amount: $250-$2,500
Deadline: June 27, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Undergraduate or graduate student; shows financial need; has seizure or epilepsy disorder

About: The program looks for students with epilepsy who have overcome challenges and contributed to the community. Applicants present a personal statement plus recommendation letters from academic and medical professionals. 

Apply now 

InfuCare Rx scholarship program

Amount: Varies
Deadline: May 1, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Diagnosis for neuromuscular, immunodeficiency, or bleeding condition; 3.5 minimum GPA; accepted to college, university, or vocational school

About: InfuCare Rx prefers applicants enrolled in healthcare, medical, or pharmacy majors. Students should apply for only one of InfuCare Rx's three scholarships. 

Apply now 

Jack Scura Fund

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: June 15, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Undergraduate student at a New Jersey institution; has psychiatric, intellectual, or physical disability; 3.2 minimum GPA

About: Learners must present disability documentation, a resume, transcripts, and a short essay about overcoming challenges. The scholarship lasts for one year.

Apply now 

Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation Scholarship 

Amount: $3,800 per year
Deadline: May 27, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Undergraduate student at nonprofit institution; has cochlear implant or bilateral 50 dB minimum hearing loss

About: This scholarship honors Louise Tumarkin Zazove, whose son became one of the first deaf physicians. Applicants must include an audiogram, a personal essay, and three recommendation letters. 

Apply now 

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) scholarships

Amount: $3,000-$12,000
Deadline: March 31, 2023
Eligibility limitations: Current or future student at postsecondary institution; legally blind in both eyes; at least 18

About: The NFB awards thirty scholarships of varying amounts. All finalists must attend the NFB conference to receive mentorship and support. They receive financial aid to cover attendance costs. 

Apply now 

Organization for Autism Research (OAR) scholarships

Amount: $3,000 
Deadline: May 2, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Full-time enrollee in an undergraduate, vocational, or life skills program; autism diagnosis 

About: OAR offers three awards: Schwallie Family Scholarship, Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship, and Synchrony Scholarship for Autistic Students of Color. Applicants should prepare letters of recommendation and an essay response.  

Apply now

Patient Advocate Foundation Scholarship for Survivors

Amount: $3,000 per year
Deadline: March 8, 2023
Eligibility limitations: Undergraduate or graduate student; diagnosis/treatment for chronic disease or cancer within past five years (ten years for graduate student)

About: This scholarship lasts up to four years (two years for graduate studies). Recipients must maintain a 2.75 GPA and annually complete 20 hours of community service.

Apply now

Pfizer Soozie Courter Hemophilia Scholarship Program

Amount: $2,500 (undergraduate); $5,000 (graduate)
Deadline: May 15, 2022
Eligibility limitations: High school senior or graduate, GED recipient, or college/vocational school enrollee; diagnosed with hemophilia A or B 

About: Pfizer awards one graduate and 16 undergraduate scholarships. Applicants must include a healthcare provider form, two recommendation letters, transcripts, and a personal essay.

Apply now 

Other scholarships to consider

Scholarships for students with disabilities form only a small portion of the available awards. You can also consider merit or need-based scholarships. Another option includes identity-driven scholarships. For example, LGBTQ+, African-American, and immigrant scholarships provide financial aid to underrepresented groups.

You can also look for scholarships specific to your major. Explore the following resources to find business and STEM-related scholarships.

Computer science scholarships: If you are pursuing a computer science major, this page offers dozens of CS scholarships, including identity-driven options. You can choose from general or concentration-specific awards.   

Information technology scholarships: As an IT student, you can find numerous STEM scholarships here. The awards range from $500-$30,000, and one even offers fully paid tuition.  

Scholarships for women in STEM: Women studying STEM degrees can apply to the various scholarships listed on this page. The general and identity-driven awards help increase women's representation in STEM programs. 

In conclusion

Whether you live with a mental health condition, a physical disability, or a chronic illness, you can benefit from scholarships. The above scholarships for students with disabilities can make postsecondary education more affordable. 

Review the eligibility requirements and start applying today — but do not stop there. Increase your options by exploring additional financial aid resources. You can also broaden your scholarship search at CareerOneStop. Ensure you apply for federal financial aid via the FAFSA and review your state's resources.

This article was reviewed by Susana Muñoz, Ph.D.

Susana Muñoz, a woman with medium-length brown hair, smiles at the camera

Dr. Susana M. Muñoz is an associate professor of higher education, program coordinator of the Higher Education Leadership Program, and co-director of CSU initiatives for the Race and Intersectional Studies for Educational Equity Center in the School of Education at Colorado State University. 

Her scholarly interests center on the experiences of minoritized populations in higher education. Specifically, Dr. Muñoz focuses her research on issues of equity, identity, and campus climate for undocumented Latinx students. She employs perspectives such as legal violence, racist nativism, Chicana feminist epistemology to identify and dismantle power, oppression, and inequities as experienced by these populations. She utilizes multiple research methods as mechanisms to examine these matters with the ultimate goal of informing immigration policy and higher education practices.

Dr. Muñoz has been honored by the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics for her teaching and research. She was also recognized as a Salzburg Global Fellow and named one of the "top 25 most influential women in higher education" by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. She also brings 13 years of student affairs experience in multicultural affairs, Greek life, diversity and leadership training, TRiO programs, and residence life. 

Dr. Susana Muñoz is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network. 

Last reviewed April 13, 2022.

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