Grants for Disabled People to Attend College
In much the same way that scholarships and grants have made higher education possible for people who were once marginalized because of their race or gender, there exist many financial aid incentives and rewards for disabled individuals to realize their academic dreams.
Organizations and charities offer significant scholarships and grants to help people suffering from a variety of disabilities to attend college and not be limited by their injury or medical condition. As examples, grants are available for:
- Wheelchair users
- Students with learning disabilities
- Students with autism
- Deaf and hearing-impaired students
- Blind, low vision, and visually impaired students
Ameriglide Achiever Scholarship
Ameriglide, which manufactures and sells home mobility products (such as wheelchair lifts, stair lifts, etc.), offers a $2,500 grant to a student to cover their college tuition and books, to “contribute to the future of a wheelchair user.” To be eligible, applicants must write a 500-word essay on the goals they have for their career, why they have those goals, and what inspires them to achieve those goals. Additionally, the applicant must also meet basic eligibility criteria, such as having a minimum GPA of 3.0, being a U.S. resident or international student visa holder, and using a manual or electric wheelchair or a mobility scooter.
Claude S. Weiler Scholarship for Amputee College Students
Sponsored by the National Amputation Foundation, the Claude S. Weiler Scholarship for Amputee College Students targets college students with “major limb amputations” who intend on enrolling at accredited institutions as full-time students. Applications for the scholarships require a letter from a physician attesting to the student’s status as an amputee, a letter from the student’s college attesting that they will be enrolling there, and a letter from the student explaining how their amputations have affected their life. Awards are $500 and sent directly to the applicant’s school.
180 Medical Scholarship Program
A student with spinal cord injuries, such as spina bifida and transverse myelitis, may be interested in the 180 Medical College Scholarship Program. Five $1,000 awards are offered to students attending graduate programs who “must be under a physician’s care” for certain spinal injuries. As part of their application, students must also submit a personal essay that explains the nature of their spinal injury and how overcoming that injury has influenced them in their lives.
Disability grants and scholarships also extend to students who have learning difficulties. The Ann and Matt Harbison Scholarship targets high school seniors who have a language-related learning disability (problems with age-appropriate writing, reading or spelling, a definition provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association). The scholarship is worth $1,500, and it can be renewed for three additional years. Eligible students have to be nominated by a member of the P. Buckley Moss Society, a charitable organization that supports children’s health and welfare. Applicants must also submit verifications of their learning disability, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay.
The P. Buckley Moss Society also offers its own scholarship, for students with a certified language-learning disability who have artistic talent and ability, and who want to pursue an education and career in the visual arts. Like the Ann and Matt Harbison Scholarship, the P. Buckley Endowed Scholarship offers accepted students awards of $1,500, renewable for three consecutive, additional years, and requires nomination by a member of the P. Buckley Moss Society, as well as photo-visual evidence of the student’s artistic talent.