Financial Aid Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities


College is an exciting time, but it’s also quite expensive. And while student loans can help you afford your education at the time, repaying these loans can make it extremely complicated to save money and get ahead once you’ve graduated.

If you’re an individual with a disability, however, there are multiple scholarships, grants, and awards available to you that can make it simpler to afford your education. And here at ACLS Medical Training, we want to make sure you find all available options to enable you to pursue higher education.

Below, you’ll find general disability opportunities and others related to specific conditions. We hope that by the end of this article, you’ll have specific scholarships you can apply to as you further your education.

General Disability Scholarships

Like all scholarships, general disability scholarships are awarded on many different criteria including merit, financial need, interests, or any other relevant criteria.

The scholarships that follow are available to all individuals with disabilities, though each will have different eligibility requirements, award amounts, and application processes. Read on to find out more about each and how you can save on your education!


DisABLEDperson is a public charity that focused on disability employment and has done so since 2002. Part of the charity’s mission is to offer scholarships for students with disabilities to keep them in school and give more individuals the opportunity to find work. The charity offers two opportunities to obtain the $1,000 award, once in the fall and once in the spring.

  • Who’s Eligible: Applicant must be an undergraduate or graduate student currently living with any medically documented disability.
  • Award Amount: Up to $1,000
  • Deadline: March 4


The AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health of Disability is designed to reduce the disparity between those with disabilities and those without. Krause was a special education teacher for the Illinois Department of Education and designed a model educational and training curriculum that would one day become the model for the nation. Now, his scholarship fund is designed to uplift students with disabilities, just as Krause himself did throughout his professional career.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students with a documented disability enrolled full-time in an undergraduate school or enrolled part-time or full-time at a graduate school are eligible. Preference is given to students majoring in public health, disability research, or a field related to disability or health.
  • Award Amount: Up to $1,000
  • Deadline: November 15


Whether you’re about to begin college and have been accepted into a program or are currently enrolled, proudly offers a $1,000 scholarship to one recipient each year. The organization strives to raise disability awareness while improving schooling for those with disabilities, both those who receive the scholarship and the millions of others that don’t.

  • Who’s Eligible: Applications are welcomed and accepted from any undergraduate or graduate student, 17 years of age or over, who has been accepted to or is currently enrolled at an institution of higher learning.
  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: January 10, Annually

Chronic Health Condition Scholarships

Treating chronic health conditions can put a strain on any individual or family, especially when college tuition is thrown into the mix. Luckily, there are several chronic health condition scholarships you can apply for to lighten the financial burden of a college education.

Below, we discuss some of the most popular chronic health condition scholarships so you know what to apply for.


If you’re a prospective student with multiple sclerosis or have a parent with the condition, you may qualify for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Scholarship. Approximately 40% of all who enter are awarded a scholarship and scholarships are awarded on an annual basis (each scholarship is valid for one year only once awarded).

  • Who’s Eligible: First time college students who have MS, or have a parent with MS. Applicants must be United States citizens or legal residents living in the US.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Deadline: January 15


The Diabetes Scholars Foundation is designed for incoming college freshman seeking an education at a four-year university, college, or technical/trade school. Typically, recipients demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and are involved both in the diabetes community and extra-curricular activities. There are several different awards offered to those with Type 1 diabetes.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students who have diabetes and plan to study at an undergraduate program in the U.S.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 to $5,000
  • Deadline: April 15

Hearing Impairment Scholarships

Deaf, hearing impaired, and mute students face several obstacles most students don’t, making the transition to higher education even more difficult. This difficulty is sometimes even more exacerbated by the inability to afford a college education but with hearing impairment specific scholarships, you can make your education more affordable.

Check out just some of the many hearing impairment scholarships available below!


If you’re a full-time student with pre-lingual bilateral hearing loss that is moderately-severe to profound, use listening and spoken language, and are pursuing a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate Degree, the AG Bell College Scholarship Program is a great fit for you. Historically, approximately 16% of all applicants receive an award for this merit-based scholarship, making it a competitive, yet highly rewarding, program to apply to.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students whose primary mode of communication is Listening and Spoken Language with diagnosed prelingual hearing loss that is moderately severe to profound and bilateral.
  • Award Amount: Scholarships range from $1,000 to $10,000 for tuition, books and fees for undergraduate, graduate or doctoral study.
  • Deadline: March 20


Since 1994, Sertoma’s Scholarship for the Hard of Hearing or Deaf has been awarding scholarships with clinically significant bilateral hearing loss and who are pursuing four-year college degrees in any discipline. There are multiple recipients each year, making this scholarship an excellent option for your application.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students with clinically significant bilateral hearing loss who are pursuing undergraduate education in the US.
  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 1


The Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation awards scholarships to those with hearing loss at accredited non-profit schools located within the United States. The scholarship is intended for those pursuing an undergraduate education and the funds are applicable only for tuition expenses. More than one recipient is selected each year.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students with significant bilateral hearing loss who have been accepted to or are attending a college or university in the US.
  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 26

Visual Impairment Scholarships

Compared to many other disability scholarships, there are several more visual impairment scholarships to which you can apply. In fact, we’ve outlined six below, many of which award between $10,000 and $15,000 for qualified recipients. Now, let’s get into the details for each!


Specifically intended for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing education at one of 11 private colleges in New York and Northeastern New Jersey, students who are legally blind and financially needy qualify for this program. The program is currently operating through June 30, 2019, making it an excellent choice for students both present and future.

  • Who’s Eligible: Legally blind student deemed financially needy, studying at one of 11 participating colleges and universities.
  • Award Amount: Up to $15,000/academic year
  • Deadline: N/A


Intended for students of any academic discipline, the Christine H. Eide Memorial Scholarship Award is perfect for both undergraduate and graduate students seeking a scholarship to help support their pursuit of higher education. With no specific study discipline qualifying students for the award, this is another great option for all potential applicants.

  • Who’s Eligible: Full-time graduate or undergraduate students who are legally blind who are entering or attending an accredited college or university.
  • Award Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Deadline: March 31


Based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership, the National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program is an excellent option for any student seeking substantial financial assistance. There are 30 scholarships awarded each year in amounts ranging from $3,000 to $12,000, giving students who are legally blind in each eye profound financial support as they further their education.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students in the United States who are legally blind in both eyes who plan to pursue a degree program full-time at a U.S. college or university.
  • Award Amount: $3,000 – $12,000
  • Deadline: March 31


Lighthouse International is designed to support each student’s transition to college while also supporting post-graduate educational and career goals. Legally blind high school seniors seeking a college education are encouraged to apply to this program and will be awarded scholarships based on academic accomplishments and merit (and financial need, of course).

  • Who’s Eligible: Students whose visual impairment cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contacts who plan to attend college at a U.S. institution.
  • Award Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Deadline: March 15


  • Who’s Eligible: Blind individuals who plan to attend or are attending college, graduate school or vocational training
  • Award Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: March 1


The Christian Record Services for the Blind Scholarship is a scholarship opportunity designed to partially cover the financial needs of legally blind students. The actual amount of each reward will vary depending on the funds available during that application cycle and will be proportionate to the funding available at the time.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students who are legally blind who plan to attend college as a full-time undergraduate
  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: April 1

Intellectual Disability Scholarships

There are several options for individuals with intellectual disabilities when it comes to financial assistance and higher education. Most often, students will apply for federal assistance like Pell Grants, amongst others. However, there are also several options available when it comes to scholarships, many of which we discuss below.


Ruby’s Rainbow is an organization committed to giving individuals with Down Syndrome the potential to attend higher education or post-secondary enrichment classes. Those who receive the award will receive up to $3,000, or up to $5,000 for the Maudie’s scholarship (which is given to one applicant per year).

  • Who’s Eligible: Students over age 18 who have Down’s Syndrome and who wish to attend a class or program that will enhance their lives through education, employment or independent living skills.
  • Award Amount: Up to $3,000
  • Deadline: July 6


Since its beginnings, the Schwallie Family Scholarship has awarded $476,500 to 156 individuals throughout the United States. During the past five years, the program has been supported by the Lisa Higgins Hussman Foundation, allowing the Schwallie Family Scholarship to continue benefitting autistic students seeking higher education. As of recent, scholarship awards total $3,000 each.

  • Who’s Eligible: Individuals with a diagnosis of autism who are pursuing full-time education in a 2-year or 4-year college or university.
  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: May 2


Another scholarship for individuals with autism, the Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship is designed for those who would like to attend life skills programs, or schooling for a specific vocation or trade. This scholarship is designed specifically to benefit individuals with severe autistic disorders looking to better their lives through education.

  • Who’s Eligible: Individuals with a diagnosis of autism who are pursuing attendance in life skills programs or vocational, technical, or trade schools.
  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: May 2


Intended solely for tuition support, the Joe Cleres Memorial Scholarship gives physically or mentally challenged students the ability to enjoy attendance in a higher education facility located in the United States. The amount of the award varies depending on the applicant.

  • Who’s Eligible: Mentally or physically challenged students who want to attend a U.S. institution of higher learning.
  • Award Amount: $500 – $2000
  • Deadline: Varies

Learning Disability Scholarships

There are increasing numbers of college students with confirmed learning disability and attention deficit issues. And because this can make schooling difficult (particularly when it comes to balancing schooling with work or other means to afford higher education), financial support is often necessary.

Below, you’ll find a short list of just some of the scholarship opportunities you should consider as an individual with a learning disability (or as someone pursuing scholarships on behalf of such an individual).


Run by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Anne Ford Scholarship has been in place since 2002 to assist two graduating seniors pursuing post-secondary education. This allows those with disabilities to pursue realistic career goals through their perseverance. Candidates for this award must demonstrate financial need.

  • Who’s Eligible: Graduating high school seniors with a documented learning disability who will attend a 2-year college or vocational school.
  • Award Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: December 31


Also run by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Anne Ford Scholarship is a $10,000 award given to one high school senior that serves as a role model for others facing learning disabilities of their own. This individual should be committed to creating active change in society for those with disabilities to increase opportunities for others with similar conditions.

  • Who’s Eligible: Graduating high school seniors with a documented learning disability who will attend a 4-year college full-time in the fall.
  • Award Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: December 31


The RiSE Scholarship is designed specifically for those with documented learning disabilities and/or an ASD diagnosis. Traditionally, the scholarship has been awarded to five students with a one-time, $2,500 award that is given directly to each recipient’s college or university to be used for tuition, books, or housing expenses.

  • Who’s Eligible: High school seniors who will attend college in the fall with a documented learning disability (ADD/ADHD diagnosis alone will not be considered).
  • Award Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: February 15


Designed to award and honor students who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in spite of their learning disabilities and/or ADHD, the Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award is another great option for those with learning disabilities. Through this Award, most recipients are able to pursue higher education and accomplish even more both in college and the workplace once they have completed their education.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students under age 19 with a learning disability or ADHD.
  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: January 31


Specifically for those with ADHD and are looking to pursue higher education at a two- or four-year undergraduate program, the Michael Yasick ADHD Scholarship is unique in that up to 50 scholarships are awarded during each year. This makes it much more likely for applicants to secure the award and have financial assistance as they pursue further education.

  • Who’s Eligible: Individuals diagnosed with ADHD who are accepted to or will enroll into college or university, trade, technical or vocational school in the U.S. and who are under the care of an ADHD professional.
  • Award Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: Varies

Mental Illness Scholarships

For students who have been diagnosed and still suffer from (or are recovering from) mental illnesses, college is already a challenge. But with many available scholarships, these same students can lessen the stress and financial burden of affording college, all while working to better their futures.

Learn more about mental illness specific scholarships below.


Open to individuals with a range of different mental illnesses (listed below), the Baer Reintegration Scholarship is designed for those seeking medical treatment for their mental illness. Through active involvement in rehabilitative or reintegrative efforts, recipients will be able to attend high school equivalency programs, trade or vocational programs, or work to earn their Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Graduate degree with financial assistance that varies from recipient to recipient.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or major depressive disorder.
  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: January 25


Begun for those with bipolar disorder, the Charles A. Olayinka Scholarship is a partial college tuition scholarship for recipients committed to overcoming obstacles created by their disease. The organization seeks to share stories to diminish negative stereotypes that often affect those with bipolar disorder both inside and outside of the classroom.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or major depressive disorder are eligible.
  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: June 30


The Bipolar Lives Scholarship is unique in that all entrants must do is submit an essay related to bipolar disorder. The scholarship is entirely merit-based and is not related to each entrant’s unique circumstances, giving all entrants an equal chance to be awarded the $500 scholarship.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students attending college or a university in the United States who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: June 30


The J.C. Runyon Foundation has been awarding college scholarships to students since 2010, allowing those with behavioral health disorder the opportunity to pursue higher education. The scholarship was designed to lower the costs of tuition for families already facing high medical bills and is dedicated to the memory of John Charles “Jack” Runyon, a private practice psychologist, who dedicated his life to giving patients the opportunity to help themselves.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students attending college or a university in the United States who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
  • Award Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: May 2

Physical Disability Scholarships

Many scholarships for individuals with disabilities are directed at those with mental or behavioral conditions. However, there are also scholarships specifically for those with physical conditions, just a small selection of which we discuss below.


Little People of America is a nonprofit organization designed to assist individuals no taller than those who are 4’10” in height and their families. In accordance with this mission, LPA extends educational scholarships to prospective and current college or vocational school students. Preference is given to those with medically diagnosed forms of dwarfism, immediate family members of LPA members, and individuals with dwarfism who are not members of LPA.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students in undergraduate programs who have a form of dwarfism.
  • Award Amount: $250 – $1000
  • Deadline: April 22


Designed to help individuals with physical disabilities afford the ever-growing expense of college, the Independence Foundation Scholarship is given to three individuals each year. Along with each application, students must submit an essay describing how their physical limitations have created challenges and how they have overcome these obstacles.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students in undergraduate programs who are confined to wheelchairs.
  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: April 17


If you’re going to be attending a two-year, four-year, or graduate school program full-time and suffer from the physical conditions listed below, the 180 Medical Scholarship Program may be the right fit for your financial needs. Seven students will be awarded $1,000 each for the benefit of their college tuition needs.

  • Who’s Eligible: For students who have spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis and/or a neurogenic bladder who are attending a 2-year or 4-year program full-time.
  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: June 1


The ChairScholars Foundation Scholarship is available to students at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and the University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida. Through this scholarship, high school seniors and college undergraduates may be awarded up to $30,000 to attend either university involved in the program. Since its founding, the Foundation has awarded 368 National Scholarships in the United States.

  • Who’s Eligible: High school seniors or undergraduate students with a documented serious physical challenge, unmet financial needs with a B average GPA and significant community service.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 to $5,000
  • Deadline: April 15


If you’ve underwent a major limb amputation and will be attending an accredited university as a full-time student, the Claude S. Weiler Scholarship is a great option for you. There will be more than one student receiving the award and requires only a few elements to apply, making it simple to secure additional financial aid for your college aspirations.

  • Who’s Eligible: Students with major limb amputations (loss of limb beginning at or above the wrist or ankle).
  • Award Amount: $500
  • Deadline: August 31

Relieve the Financial Burden of Higher Education With Scholarships Designed for Your Unique Condition

As time passes and higher education becomes increasingly expensive, it’s important to pursue all scholarship options to make higher education more affordable. This is particularly important if you have a disability that causes frequent medical bills, making it even more difficult to afford advanced education on your own.

We hope that you’ve found at least one scholarship to apply to in this article and helpful as you search for additional scholarship options. If you have any questions as you work through the process, please contact us here at ACLS Medical Training so we can offer the support or training you need

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As Seen On: American College of Cardiology, U.S.News, JAMA, Circulation Research, The Lancet