Since 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates universities and post-secondary schools to provide equal access to higher education for students with disabilities as their peers. By accommodating the needs of their disabled students and providing the appropriate educational resources and services, many of the setbacks that once prevented students with disabilities from pursuing higher education are now being resolved.
Though more progress needs to be made, more and more disabled students are attending college, as the number of students with disabilities completing four-year college degrees has increased in recent years. In fact, 63% of students with disabilities were enrolled in college or vocational school compared to 72% of students without disabilities.
In fact, research has found that students with disabilities are an increasing subpopulation at postsecondary institutions. In the 2017-18 academic year, 19% of all enrolled undergraduate students informed their colleges of their disability, but the actual number of college students with a disability is probably 2 or 3 times higher. Of this total, 21% of disabled college students enrolled part-time and 17% of college students enrolled full-time.
However, paying for college is another challenge that all college students have to face. As the cost of college continues to rise, financial need is becoming another barrier keeping people from accomplishing their educational goals. Scholarship funds are one form of financial support that college students can use to pay off educational expenses.
A student disability scholarship is a type of scholarship focused on providing financial aid to students with disabilities that are pursuing their college education. This type of scholarship is meant to assist students with disabilities to pay for their college tuition and educational expenses so that they're able to complete their degrees.
There are many opportunities that award scholarships to support students with disabilities. The top five disabilities reported to college institutions by undergraduate students are learning disabilities, ADHD, psychiatric disabilities, mental or physical disabilities, health/chronic disabilities, and mobility restrictions.
From the student body in the United States, 31% of current college students with disabilities reported having specific learning disabilities, 18% reported having ADD or ADHD, 15% reported having a mental illness/psychological or psychiatric condition, 11% reported having a health impairment/condition, 7% reported having mobility limitation, and the final 18% reported having other types of impairments or disabilities.
Students with a disability under any of, but not limited to, these types are eligible applicants for scholarships for students with disabilities. Depending on one's background and identity, a disabled student can also be eligible for other types of scholarships.
Creating a profile on Bold.org is the first step to applying for scholarships. On your Bold.org profile, it is easy to find scholarships for students with disabilities. Using the filters, you can sort through the site's available scholarships by the 'Disability' category, or click on one of the disability scholarships listed on this page. Once you find available scholarships that you are eligible for, you can start the application process.
Select one scholarship that suits you and read through the description to find useful information like the eligibility requirements, the application deadline, selection criteria, and required materials.
You may even have to submit an essay based on a given topic. Be sure to put time and effort into your scholarship essays. Finding scholarships that best fit your experience can help make your essay more personal. Be diligent in the quality of your submissions and how you present yourself as it can make all the difference.
The application process is simple and conducted at your own pace. If you wish to complete the application process at a later time, the bookmark tool allows you to save scholarships so you can return later.
To apply, simply click the 'Apply Now' button once you've completed the application materials and you'll be entered into the scholarship.
Many federal aid scholarships exist to provide disabled students with financial assistance. Whether you are a high school senior or graduate student, earning your bachelor's degree or graduate degree, you may benefit from these scholarships for disabled students that can help you fund your post-secondary education so you can reach your academic goals.
Here are some of the best scholarships for disabled students exclusively on Bold.org with upcoming deadlines:
New scholarships are being added on Bold.org constantly. Be sure to come back and check for new opportunities, or discover over types of scholarships for students with disabilities.
The types of available scholarships for disabled students can range based on the scholarship's eligibility criteria. There are more general scholarships that disabled students can be eligible for and apply to. General scholarships are usually either essay or no-essay scholarships.
No-essay scholarships are typically the easiest to apply for since it requires less time and effort on the applicant’s part. However, that means that no-essay scholarships are also easy for everyone else to apply for.
You may have a better chance with essay scholarships where you can write about your personal experience with your specific type of impairment or disability. See the Bold.org Best Tips for Writing a Scholarship Essay for suggestions on how to make your scholarship essays better.
Look for scholarships specifically for your state or scholarships specifically available to those pursuing a certain major. Some scholarships have additional qualifications such as academic excellence, gender identity, race, age, etc. Some scholarships are for specific education levels and can be exclusively for high school students, high school seniors, undergraduates, or graduate students. Always make sure to check the requirements before spending time on your application.
According to a 2020 survey, one-third of students with mental health disabilities stated they were not aware they were eligible for accommodations. Students with mental health disabilities may also be eligible for some of the mental health scholarships on Bold.org.
Many military veterans who decide to pursue post-secondary education may have a documented disability that can affect their learning and require accommodation. 26% of undergraduate student veterans and 17% of graduate student veterans reported having a disability.
For any disabled veterans pursuing higher education who are in need of financial aid, you can also consider applying for military scholarships on Bold.org that may be applicable to you.
Depending on your type of disability or background, students may even be able to apply for "Mental Health" scholarships if their disability is mentally related. Or, disabled veterans can consider applying for "Military" scholarships. Other relevant or more general scholarship awards can be found on Bold.org.
Additionally, some institutions offer campus-based scholarship programs for disabled students that attend their college. Check with your university's financial aid office and campus disability resource office about any scholarship opportunities available for you.
Completing the FAFSA form also determines your eligibility for federal student aid and federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant and federal loans. The FAFSA also determines eligibility for annual scholarships awarded to support students attending an accredited college.
Be sure to try all of your options and utilize all of the resources and services available to you.
Eligibility is simple to check on Bold.org. Each scholarship will have a clear list of all eligibility requirements in the description. If your profile matches those requirements, then you'll be eligible to apply. If your profile information does not match the list of requirements, Bold.org may block you from applying for that scholarship. That's why it's important to fully complete your profile information.
Some disability scholarships may include in the eligibility requirements that the scholarship is exclusive to a specific disability or physical/mental challenge. The more specific the eligibility requirements are, the less competition there will be and the more likely your chances are of earning the scholarship.
Make sure that the scholarship you are interested in is applicable to your specific type of disability.
On Bold.org, there is no limit to how many scholarships you can apply for or earn. You can even apply and earn several scholarships in more than one category.
In fact, you are encouraged to apply for more than one scholarship in order to maximize your chances of receiving significant tuition assistance. Bold.org's mission is to combat student debt and help students that are in financial need through scholarships. Students with disabilities can apply for multiple scholarships to fund their postsecondary education.
No, scholarships awarded through Bold.org are not counted as income. Since scholarship money won through Bold.org is sent directly to the college you are attending, scholarships are not considered taxable income. If you are a high school student, your earnings will be held in an account for you until you go to college.
If you win a scholarship from another source, the money may be taxed if you receive an amount that's greater than your total educational costs. If you receive the money directly and apply it to costs other than tuition, books, or course fees.