Financial Aid Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities

There are few things that are as fulfilling as earning a college degree, and the experience alone is worth a lifetime of good memories. But after graduation, many degree holders are hit with the cold reality that, college debt have helped them afford higher education, they have the difficult responsibility of repaying what they owe. Many new graduates find themselves saddled with loan repayments that make it hard for them to start building the life they want.

The good news is that various financial aids are all readily available options to help differently abled individuals afford higher education. Here at CPR Certification Institute, we can help you find the best finance alternatives to help you manage the expenses that come with quality higher education.

Below is a list of excellent financial aid opportunities for individuals with a general disability and other specific conditions. We hope you find a few suitable ones that might interest you as you pursue higher education.

General Disability Scholarships

Scholarships and grants are awarded based upon various criteria determined by the institution granting the scholarship. These could include merit, financial need, interest, and other factors that are aligned with the values and vision of the donor of the award.

Student with disabilities may find the list of scholarships below as a suitable starting guide for applying for financial aid. Every one of these scholarships will have its own eligibility requirements. The award amounts also vary as well as the application process. Continue reading to find out how to apply for financial aid for your education.


The public charity, disABLEDperson, Inc. is an organization that has been around since 2002. Their primary focus is on disability employment. They offer scholarships for college students with disabilities. Applications are open for both the fall and spring semesters. Their mission is to help keep students with disabilities in school by providing them scholarship opportunities.

Eligibility: The applicant must be an undergraduate or graduate student currently living with any medically documented disability.

Award Amount: Up to $1,000

Deadline: March 4


This scholarship was named after Frederick J. Krause, who founded the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD), together with Dr Michael Marge. The AAHD is a non-profit organization dedicated to research, service and advocacy for better health and quality of life for all individuals with disabilities. Kraus started his very distinguished career in 1954 as a special education teacher and has since continued the advocacy to promote health and wellness for people with disabilities. Under his guidance, the AAHD seeks to identify effective intervention strategies to reduce health disparities between people with disabilities and the general population. The scholarship is awarded annually to a deserving student with a disability who is pursuing undergraduate/graduate studies in an accredited university who is pursuing studies related to the health and disability, leaning towards majors that will impact the quality of life of persons with disabilities.

Eligibility: To qualify, the applicant must have a disability as defined by the American with Disabilities Act. Furthermore, students majoring in public health, disability studies, health promotion or a field related to disability and health are preferred. The full list of requirements is available on

Award Amount: Up to $1,000

Deadline: November 15



The mission of is to support the advancement of disability awareness.

They do so by providing continued disability support and improving the schooling of those with disabilities. One successful applicant is awarded a $1,000 scholarship each year.

Eligibility: The applicant shall be at least 17 years of age and be accepted to and/or attending a full-time higher education program at an accredited institution of learning. Furthermore, the applicant must have a minimum of 3.0 GPA based on the previous year’s academic performance. More details are available here:

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January 10, Annually

Chronic Health Condition Scholarships

It is hard enough to be diagnosed with a chronic health condition, add to that the cost of medical treatment, and it can surely burden the finances of individuals and families. Many individuals with disabilities forego the dream of getting a college education due to the enormous costs. Fortunately, help is always at hand.

Here’s a list of scholarships that cater to the needs of those determined individuals who seek to pursue a college degree.


The National Multiple Sclerosis Society believes that people with MS can move forward with life when they are connected, supported, and informed. They help qualified applicants fulfil their dreams of getting a college degree by providing scholarships to 300 - 400 eligible applicants. These scholarships are awarded annually and are valid for one year only once assigned.

Eligibility: High school seniors with MS or has a parent with MS (or graduate of any age) who are planning to enroll in undergraduate study for their freshman year, are United States citizen or legal resident living in the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam or any other U.S. territory, may apply. More details are available here:´╗┐Who-is-eligible

Award Amount: $1,000 to $3,000

Deadline: January 31



The Diabetes Scholars Foundation awards scholarships to students who have proven time and again that they are successfully managing the challenges of living with diabetes. The grant is open to high school seniors who will be incoming freshmen seeking a higher education at an accredited four-year university, college, technical or trade school and have Type 1 diabetes.


Eligibility: High School Seniors who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents with Type 1 diabetes seeking a higher education at an accredited four-year university, college, technical or trade school.

Award Amount: $1,000 to $5,000

Deadline: April 15


Hearing Impairment Scholarships

While other differently abled individuals have most of their communication senses available to them, deaf, mute, and hearing impaired students battle challenges that make learning (the conventional way) very difficult. This impairment coupled with the predicament of an expensive college tuition makes it doubly tough for deaf, mute, and hearing impaired individuals to find an affordable option for obtaining a college degree.

There are a few scholarship programs open to deaf, mute, and hearing impaired students who wish to pursue a college degree.


Full-time students who are deaf and hard of hearing and who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited mainstream college or university can seek help from the Alexander Graham Bell College Scholarship program. It is a merit-based selection, and financial need has little impact on how awardees are selected. The committee seeks to award the scholarship to those who have high leadership potential with academic excellence and admirable character. It is a highly competitive but rewarding program to apply to.

Eligibility: Open to applicants in the US and other countries who have moderate to severe bilateral hearing loss. Applicants must meet ALL of the criteria listed here:

Award Amount: Scholarships range from $1,000 to $10,000 for tuition, books and fees for undergraduate, graduate or doctoral study.

Deadline: March 20



Sertoma is one of the oldest service clubs in the US. The club’s mission is to improve the quality of life today for those at risk or impacted by hearing loss through education and support. They have awarded scholarships for students who are hard of hearing or deaf since 1994. The scholarship application is open to graduating high school seniors, or undergraduate students must be pursuing a four-year degree.

Eligibility: Open to applicants who are US citizens who have a minimum 40dB bilateral hearing loss, as evidenced on audiogram by an SRT & PTA of 40dB or higher in both ears. A list of other qualifications is available here:

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 1, annually



The Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation awards scholarships to students who have a significant bilateral hearing loss, generally with at least a 50 dB unaided hearing loss in both ears, and do consider applicants who have a cochlear implant. This criterion is followed regardless of age, sex, race, geographic location or ethnicity. The scholarship is available for any student who wishes to enroll at one of the certified non-profit schools located in the US. The funds shall be paid directly to these accredited schools by The Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation.

Eligibility: Any citizen or permanent resident of the United States with a significant bilateral hearing loss is eligible. For the complete criteria, visit:

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 26


Visual Impairment Scholarships

We have outlined six scholarships that support students with visual impairment who are seeking financial aid for their college education. Scholarships range from $10,000 to $15,000.


The Brother James Kearney Scholarship Program for the Blind (formerly, the Lavelle Fund College Scholarship Program) seeks to help legally blind students who are looking for financial aid. This program is available to students who are attending any of 12 selected private colleges in North Eastern New Jersey, New York State, and Connecticut. Once admitted, Brother James Kearney Scholars who remain eligible for the scholarship and are in good academic standing will continue to be available for up to four years of Brother James Kearney Scholarship for the Blind support regardless of the end date of that support.

Eligibility: Financial aid seeking, legally blind students, studying at one of 12 participating colleges and universities.

Award Amount: Up to $15,000/academic year

Deadline: N/A



The Christine H. Eide Memorial Scholarship through the Lighthouse Guild Scholarship program aims to help legally blind young adults from all over the US to attend college with scholarships up to $10,000. The selection criteria include strong academic accomplishment and merit-based qualifications.

Eligibility: Legally blind full-time graduate or undergraduate students who are who are entering or attending a college or university accredited by a body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Award Amount: Up to $10,000

Deadline: March 31



The National Federation of the Blind scholarship program is the largest in the United States and has annually awarded thirty merits based, national level scholarships worth $3,000 to $12,000 to bright and deserving blind college students in the US and Puerto Rico.

Eligibility: Legally blind in both eyes students in the United States and Puerto Rico who are who aspire to pursue a degree program full-time at a U.S. college or university.

Award Amount: $3,000 – $12,000

Deadline: March 31



Outstanding legally blind students seeking financial aid to help achieve their dreams of attending college or university will find the Lighthouse Guild scholarship program one of the most rewarding scholarships to apply for. They award up to $10,000 annually to those deserving legally blind adults who are chosen as recipients of this scholarship.

Eligibility: 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 31



The American Council of the Blind awards over $45,000 in scholarships annually to legally blind students who wish to attend college. The selection criteria include academic excellence and involvement in your school or local community.

Eligibility: Blind individuals who aim to attend or are currently attending college, graduate school or vocational training

Award Amount: $3,000

Deadline: Feb 15



The Christian Record Services for the Blind Scholarship is awarded to legally blind individuals who wish to pursue college or university schooling but are in need of financial aid.

Eligibility: US Citizen students who are legally blind and who plan to attend college as a full-time undergraduate. More details can be found here:

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: April 1


Intellectual Disability Scholarships

Differently abled individuals with intellectual infirmity who wish to attend college or university have several options available regarding financial assistance. Assistance could come in the form of grants, such as the Pell Grants, or any of the other scholarships listed below.


Ruby’s rainbow is an organization that supports the dreams of individuals with Down Syndrome in seeking higher education or post-secondary enrichment classes. They award up to $4,000 per individual.

Eligibility: Applicants with Down Syndrome have to be 18 years or older to apply. The eligibility requirements are listed on their site:

Award Amount: Up to $4,000

Deadline: July 6



Since its introduction by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) in 2008, the Schwallie Family Scholarship has been supporting the dreams of seeking post-secondary, undergraduate education of qualified individuals with an autism spectrum diagnosis.

Eligibility: Open to all applicants across the autism spectrum. More details are listed here:

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 5



The Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship Program is an expansion of the Schwallie Family Scholarship and since 2016, has awarded a total of $698,500 to 229 students from across the country.

Eligibility: Individuals diagnosed with autism who are pursuing classes in life skills programs or vocational, technical, or trade schools. More details can be found here:

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 2



The Joe Cleres Memorial Scholarship is intended for students with either a physical or mental disability. Any college student is eligible to apply.

Eligibility: Mentally or physically challenged students who want to attend a U.S. institution of higher learning.

Award Amount: $500 – $2000

Deadline: Jan 15


Learning Disability Scholarships

Learning disabilities and focus issues can admittedly make schooling more challenging than it already is. But because of the widespread information campaign on learning disabilities, more and more young adults are finding out that their learning disabilities are not hindrances to acquiring a college or university education. When before, these individuals were just deemed “unteachable” or “inattentive”, now they are finding support from various organizations that can help them pursue and finance a higher education. A few of these organizations are listed below.


The National Center for Learning Disabilities has two scholarship programs that are awarded to graduating high school senior with a documented learning disability (LD) and/or ADHD. The first one is The Anne Ford Thomas Scholarship which has been awarding a $10,000 ($2,500/year over four years) scholarship since 2002. The scholarship is awarded to a deserving recipient who will be enrolled in a 4-year bachelor’s degree program for students with LD and/or ADHD in the fall.

Eligibility: Graduating high school seniors with a documented learning disability who will attend a 4-year college full-time in the fall. The complete eligibility information can be found here:

Award Amount: $2,500/year over four years

Deadline: Dec 31



The Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship is a one-time $2,500 scholarship and is the second scholarship program being run by The National Center for Learning Disabilities. It is an expansion of the Anne Ford Scholarship with Allegra Ford Thomas being Anne’s daughter. In 2009, Allegra made a generous donation to the program that has since funded the Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship.

Eligibility: Graduating high school seniors with a documented learning disability who will attend a 2-year college or vocational school.

Award Amount: $2,500

Deadline: Dec 31



Since its creation in 2010, the RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization, has awarded over 110 scholarships all around the country. RiSE has provided resources and scholarship opportunities for high school students who learn differently.

Eligibility: High school college-bound senior with a documented learning disability (ADD/ADHD diagnosis alone will not be considered). The criteria can be found here:

Award Amount: $2,500

Deadline: Jan 2018



The Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award honors students who persevere despite their learning disabilities and/or ADHD to achieve outstanding accomplishments. The Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award celebrates the amazing things these students have attained and the active involvement they have in their schools and communities.

Eligibility: Students under age 19 with a learning disability or ADHD.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January 31



The Michael Yasick ADHD Scholarship supports students pursuing a higher education, specifically those who have ADHD. Aside from a scholarship award of $2,000, the program also provides each of the 50 recipients from across the US one year of ADHD coaching.

Eligibility: Individuals diagnosed with ADHD who are accepted to or will enroll into college or university, trade, a 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

Mental Illness is a genuine issue, and individuals suffering or are recovering from mental illness know that there is a long road ahead of them regarding getting well. It is essential that those who suffer from mental illness are well supported and know that there is a bright future for them. Those who dream of pursuing a college education will find that many organizations can and will help their dreams of bettering their future.


The Baer Reintegration Scholarship is for individuals currently receiving treatment for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder. Applicants must be actively involved in rehabilitative or reintegrative efforts, such as clubhouse membership, part-time work, volunteer efforts or school enrollment or in competitive employment. The program focuses on reintegration and proving that despite mental health challenges, achievable goal and dreams are possible for those who have been diagnosed with mental illness.

Eligibility: Students who are currently receiving medical treatment for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder, including medications and psychiatric follow-up.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 12



Not all students have the financial resources to seek higher education, and The JC Runyon Foundation exists to help students move forward after behavioral health issues have drained their financial resources. Inspired by the late John Charles “Jack” Runyon, a private practice psychologist, the foundation hopes to continue his legacy by giving students who have dedicated their lives to mental stability and sobriety a chance at an education

Eligibility: Students attending college or a university in the United States who have completed an inpatient program after being diagnosed with behavioral health issues. The complete eligibility requirements can be found here:

Award Amount: $3,000

Deadline: March 2


Physical Disability Scholarships

Differently abled individuals who dream of getting higher education come in all sizes and shapes. Some are diagnosed with mental, behavioral conditions, or other physical impairments. Some individuals have physical disabilities. They will find that there are a lot of organizations which are designed to help support their dreams of achieving a college degree.


Little People of America, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to individuals affected with dwarfism and their families. The Little People of America Scholarships are part of their service to people with dwarfism and the community at large.

Eligibility: Students in undergraduate programs who have a form of dwarfism.

Award Amount: $250 – $1000

Deadline: Scholarship applications for 2017 are now closed. The next application cycle will begin in January 2018



The Independence Foundation Scholarship primary mission is to help individuals with physical challenges finance the expenses of going to college. Successful awardees have shown how they have persevered despite physical limitations to serve as an example to the community.

Eligibility: Students in undergraduate programs who are confined to wheelchairs.

Award Amount: $500

Deadline: April 17



The 180 Medical Scholarship Program honors young adults who strive to pursue higher education despite being diagnosed with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, transverse myelitis, neurogenic bladder, or ostomy (ileostomy, colostomy, or urostomy).

Eligibility: 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: This year's scholarship deadline has passed. Information for next year's program will be available in December 2018.



The ChairScholars Foundation Scholarship supports the bid of physically challenged students to acquire a university degree from the prestigious institutions of the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and the University of Tampa. Scholarships of up to $30,000 for tuition are awarded to successful applicants every year.

Eligibility: Graduating high school seniors or college undergraduate students with a documented serious physical disability, in need of financial aid, with a B average GPA, and significant community service. A list of requirements is available here:

Award Amount: $1,000 to $5,000

Deadline: April 15



Students with a major limb amputation who aspire to get a college education may apply for the Claude S. Weiler Scholarship. The scholarship supports the dreams of these students to follow their hopes of getting a degree.

Eligibility: Students with major limb amputations (loss of limb beginning at or above the wrist or ankle).

Award Amount: $500

Deadline: August 31


The Dream of Pursuing and Obtaining a College Degree can be Realized with the Help of Scholarships that Cater to Your Particular Status.


You don’t have to give up on your dream of pursuing a higher education if you are an individual with unique medical needs. There are institutions and foundations who understand the position of differently-abled individuals and their families who have allocated their resources to medical bills and have found that pursuing a college degree is going to be difficult. These institutions seek to support these individuals by providing them with financial assistance to pursue their dreams of getting higher education and being able to contribute to society as an exemplary citizen and a role model for other who have the same challenges.