You have felt the disadvantage all your life, and unfortunately, nothing seems simple and easy when you are someone with a disability. But, there still are opportunities out there just for you, especially if you are looking to cover the costs of your education. In fact, people with disabilities will often have some of the highest award amounts when dealing with grants and scholarships.
If you are someone with a disability, then you are in the one demographic that statistically needs these monies the most, which is one reason why there have been several activists and thinkers in the federal government that have come to your aid. If you need money for college, then just ask the people that you’ve been paying your taxes to.
Obviously, the first place you should always go is to check Pell Grants and other low-income opportunities. Most likely, you probably wouldn’t be looking for grant funding if you did not really need the money. In addition to that, Pell grants also look at disability as a factor, so there is a good chance that you will get a hefty sum of grant funding from this direction.
In addition to that, there are lots of government organizations and agencies that exist for the express purpose of helping those in disabled demographics. So, if you are looking for someone to pay for your schooling, then always make sure you hit up the various departments, organizations, and agencies of local, state, and federal governments. This is likely to be where most of the money comes from, and it is likely to have the highest rate of success.
Federally Funded Organizations
There are quite a few organizations out there that aren’t necessarily considered a federal organization, but they do take federal funding. So, it still is considered a “grant” and not a “scholarship” if you were to receive money from these organizations. Many of them exist for the primary purpose of assisting those with disabilities in society, so make sure that you are utilizing these as resources.
Below is a list of both private, federally funded organizations and government organizations. As always, this list is not exhaustive by any measure, but it will give you some necessary direction. When you reach what appears to be a “dead end”, simply ask someone who is apart of the organization you just inquired about, and they may be able to point you in the right way.
The Disability Grant List
Students with disabilities are advantaged when it comes to grants and scholarships. Since the IDEA made it illegal to segregate disabled students, there has been a concerted push to offer incentives for students with disabilities to pursue their educational and career goals. Many organizations are outstanding supporters:
- National Federation for the Blind – a variety of scholarship and grant awards for blind students
- Jewish Guild for the Blind – grants available for undergraduate students
- National Association of the Deaf – scholarships and grants for graduate students
Colleges and Universities
Colleges and universities know their campus environments are more fulfilling academically, intellectually and socially when they provide a diverse student body. As a means to those ends, colleges have not only ramped up grants and scholarships to underrepresented populations, but they solicit and invite disabled students to join their communities:
- George Mason University – contact the Disability Resource Center
- George Washington University – contact Disabilities Support Services, ask for their brochure, “Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities”
- Western Michigan University – fellowships for disabled students pursuing degrees in rehabilitation sciences.
- Gallaudet University is a college for the deaf or hearing impaired
Not only are there grants for individual students, but the technological support that enables disabled students to participate matters as well. Grants also provide many institutions with the funds to cover the cost of cutting edge captioning equipment. There are even some universities that are implementing videoconferencing capabilities or virtual classroom to engage students with disabilities.