Scholarships for Prospective College Students with Disabilities

A number of scholarships are available for students with dyslexia and autism.

By Arthur Murray

College – and paying for it – is tough enough for students who don’t face the challenges of physical or learning disabilities. But neither these disabilities nor financial barriers should prevent deserving students from pursuing college.

Earlier this year, the Scholarship Search Insider detailed scholarship opportunities that can help ease financial concerns for students with physical disabilities. Such opportunities also exist for those with a learning disability.

[Learn about scholarship opportunities for students with physical disabilities.]

The BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship for Students with Disabilities is open to current undergraduate and graduate students who have learning or physical disabilities and attend a four-year university in the U.S. or Canada. Applicants must be pursuing a degree in math, physics, business or commerce, statistics, engineering or a related field, and they must be interested in pursuing a career in financial services.

In addition to the application, students must submit a letter of recommendation, transcripts and an essay specifying their career goals and why they should be selected.

U.S. recipients receive $10,000, while Canadian winners receive $5,000. Applications will open this fall.

High school seniors with learning disabilities can apply for the Marian Huber Learning Through Listening awards. Learning Ally, a nonprofit that helps students with disabilities, presents six of these awards – three for $6,000 and three for $2,000 – to students with learning disabilities who are members of the organization.

Recipients must plan to attend a two- or four-year college or a vocational school. A selection committee chooses the winners. The application deadline is May 31.

For students with dyslexia, Gemm Learning offers the $1,000 Gemm Learning Dyslexia Scholarship twice a year. Applicants must be planning to enroll in or currently attending college in the U.S. or Canada and must submit a 500- to 650-word essay about living with dyslexia.

The next award period – for the fall 2017 semester – opens April 1 with a July 15 submission deadline. In addition to the monetary award, the winning essay will be featured on Gemm Learning’s blog. Note: The winner will be notified via email and must respond within three days or forfeit the award.

[Discover how to succeed in college as a learning disabled student.]

Each year, the Law Offices of Judd S. Nemiro PLLC also awards two annual $1,000 scholarships to students diagnosed with dyslexia. Applicants must complete an online application, including submitting a statement about their education goals and an essay describing how dyslexia has affected their education. Interested applicants should visit the firm’s website to apply.

The Perecman Firm PLLC of New York, a personal injury law firm, annually awards the Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism to a high-achieving student. Applicants must be undergraduate or postgraduate students currently enrolled at or accepted to an accredited university and must have either been diagnosed with or have a close family member who has been diagnosed with autism, including Asperger’s syndrome.

[Find college scholarships that support students with autism.]

The $1,000 scholarship is named for a 14-year-old autistic boy who wandered from school in 2013 and was later found dead in the East River. To apply, students must submit a 500 to 1,000-word essay on one of three autism-related topics. The deadline for fall 2017 applications is July 31.

Feldman & Royle, Attorneys at Law, a Phoenix law firm, also awards two annual $1,000 scholarships to students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. To apply, students must submit an essay detailing how their disorder has affected their education as well as a 100-word statement regarding their education goals. Be sure to check the firm’s website for updates on the 2017 application deadline.

In addition to these scholarships, which are open to students throughout the U.S. and, in some cases, Canada, many other scholarships for students with learning disabilities are granted on a regional or statewide basis.

For example, Incight, a Portland, Oregon, nonprofit that supports individuals with disabilities, offers the Incight Scholarship to students with disabilities who attending community colleges, universities, vocational schools or graduate schools in Oregon or southwest Washington. Documented disabilities include autism, developmental delay and specific learning disabilities.

Applicants must demonstrate outstanding community service and the ability to overcome personal struggles. Incight awards up to 100 scholarships at varying amounts. The application deadline is April 1.

Graduating high school seniors in Iowa who plan to attend college or vocational school can apply for one of three scholarships from the Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa. Each award is $500, and applicants must be current association members or be children of or recommended by active members. Applications are due March 31.

The Learning Disabilities Association of Arkansas awards the $2,500 Ralph G. Norman Scholarship to a student enrolled at a two- or four-year college or vocational or technical training program. Applicants must be current Arkansas residents with a documented learning disability who are ineligible for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability funding.

To apply, students must submit an application, including a written or video essay about how their learning disability has impacted their life and their education and career goals. The deadline to apply is April 3.

Finally, Landmark College in Putney, Vermont, is a private, accredited college specifically for students with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, attention deficit disorder or specific learning disabilities. The school offers two- and four-year programs.

As part of its financial aid program, the school awards 10 Endowment Scholarships, ranging between $500 to $8,000, to students with financial need. Students wishing to receive the awards must, as a first step, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by March 30.

Students with learning disabilities have a similar desire as other prospective college students to earn a college degree. These scholarships can help ease the financial burdens associated with this dream.

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