Despite the rising costs of both tuition and health care, millions of America’s most affected—students with disabilities—are able to fulfill their dreams of a quality education without breaking the bank or foregoing vital treatment. Here’s how.
General Awards and Scholarships
Every college-bound student should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The results outline your eligibility for federal funding and tell you how much you should expect to contribute independently.
Once you’ve determined your overall financial need, start exploring funding sources in your back yard—those offered through employers, local businesses, your graduating high school/prospective college, religious organizations, volunteer groups, etc. Another great move is to research trusted scholarship sites such as www.FinAid.org. As you exhaust every resource, keep your grades up and take advantage of valuable test preparation tools and advice to help you maximize entrance exam scores for increased awards.
Scholarships for Disabled Students
Now you can begin to look at scholarship opportunities that cater to students with disabilities. A simple Web search can yield overwhelming results—and awards vary significantly in dollar amount and eligibility requirements—but you can start with a few examples of the awards that are out there:
- “Awarded based on the strength of candidates’ academic background, leadership, and passion for computer science…”
- Good for $10,000 ($5,000CAD for those studying in Canada) per year
- Extended to people with disabilities involved with science, math, technology, engineering, pre-medical/dental, and graduate/professional studies
- Includes awards of $1,000 each for fourth-year undergraduate and graduate science students with disabilities
- Awards $1,000 toward tuition, books, and supplies
- Applications due by May 1
- 12 to 15 scholarships of up to $15,000 extended to legally blind, college-bound students
- U.S. students 16 years or older can submit a 400 to 600 word essay on the prescribed topic for one of two $500 awards
- Offers awards “based on educational achievement, leadership, and financial need…”
- Consists of single- and multi-year awards of $1,000 each year
Other Targeted Resources
While grants and scholarships are often the most desirable of college funds, they are certainly not the only option. Here are some government-supported programs that have helped millions of Americans with disabilities better themselves through education:
- Allows students to receive SSI while setting aside funds for college and is administered through local Social Security offices
- Provides job training, assessment, counseling, and a variety of other support services for people with mental and physical disabilities
- Based on medical records and/or disability evaluations
Grants and Loans
Grant money and loan assistance are also available for students with disabilities. Talk to a college financial aid representative or high school counselor, or find the appropriate higher education agency for your area by clicking here.