The rising cost of a college education can bring financial distress to students and their parents. Even prior to postsecondary education, students with learning disabilities may need supplemental resources that come at an extra cost. Financial aid for students with learning disabilities helps to open doors to accessible education.
Thankfully, there are many scholarships and grants for students with learning disabilities. These opportunities make it easier for students with special learning needs to attend a good college without breaking the bank. Here is a list of scholarships, schools, and resources for financial aid for students with learning disabilities.
Does FAFSA Help Students with Learning Disabilities?
Yes, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) helps students with learning disabilities. FAFSA is a government education program that can ease a student’s financial burdens. Check if your child’s school accepts federal student aid through the financial aid office or student services.
How to Find Financial Aid for Students with Learning Disabilities
- Check for federal aid programs. The US Department of Education has several financial aid programs that students with a learning disability can qualify for if they meet the eligibility requirements. You can choose to apply for a Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity, or student loans which you have to pay back after graduation.
- Apply for state aid. Some states offer financial aid and scholarships for people with learning disabilities. Keep in mind that state financial aid requirements are less flexible than federal student aid programs and you have to maintain a certain GPA score to qualify.
- Apply for institutional aid. If you are enrolled in a college or a university, talk to the financial aid department to ask if the school offers institutional aid for students with learning disabilities. Some schools offer scholarships and tuition subsidies funded by charities and private organizations that cater to students with special needs.
- Consider federal loans and credit union loans. Federal loans have a low-interest rate and some only require repayment after graduation. You can also ask your school if it has a credit union. Credit unions usually offer low interest rates.
- Enroll in Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary programs. CTP programs are offered to students with learning disabilities to prepare students for future employment through academic, career, and independent living instruction. CTP programs also offer academic advising and a structured curriculum.
Financial Aid: The Best Scholarships and Grants for Students with Learning Disabilities
|Scholarship or Grant Name
|AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability
|American Association of Health and Disability Scholarships
|Karina Eide Memorial College Scholarships
|$500 to $2,500
|Joseph James Morelli Scholarship
|Joseph James Morelli Legacy Foundation
|$500 to $2,500
|BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship
|$10,000 for US residents, $5,000 for Canadian residents
|Google Lime Scholarship
|$10,000 for US students, $5,000 for Canadian students
|Microsoft Disability Scholarship
|Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships
|National Center for Learning Disabilities
|$2,500 to $10,000
|Schwallie Autism Research and Jernigan Blind Student Scholarships
|Organization for Autism Research
|P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship
|P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education
The Best Financial Aid Resources for Students with Learning Disabilities
Your learning disability should not hinder you from earning a post-secondary education. There are many financial aid programs that provide scholarships to students to help finance their associate degree or four-year university program. Here are some financial aid resources for college students and scholarships for high school seniors with learning disabilities.
AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability | American Association of Health and Disability Scholarships
If you are a full-time student with a learning disability enrolled in an accredited university, you can avail of the AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability. Students who apply to this scholarship program should be pursuing undergraduate studies related to health and disability such as public health, disability studies, and special education.
Karina Eide Memorial College Scholarships | Dyslexic Advantage
Undergraduate and graduate students with dyslexia documentation are eligible to apply for the Karina Eide Memorial College Scholarship. Eligible applicants must be attending a US college, vocational school, or technical school and should have a demonstrated financial need. You also need to have completed one term in college.
Incight Scholarship | Incight
Current residents of Washington, Oregon, or California are eligible to apply for the Incight Scholarship if they have a documented learning disability. Incight scholars are current undergraduates in a community college, a university, vocational school, and graduate programs. You must also have demonstrated outstanding community service despite your obstacles.
Joseph James Morelli Scholarship| Joseph James Morelli Legacy Foundation
Dyslexic high school students who will be attending an accredited college, university, or technical school and pursuing a degree in a STEM field are eligible for this scholarship. The Joseph James Morelli Scholarship awards a $500 to $2,500 scholarship fund, which can be used for tuition, books, testing, assistive technology, and other school resources.
BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship | Lime Connect
If you want to start a career in business and you have a learning disability, you can apply for the BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship. Applicants should be pursuing a degree in finance, business, commerce, STEM fields, or other related disciplines. You should also be interested in starting a career in Financial Services.
Google Lime Scholarship | Lime Connect
An undergraduate student with learning disabilities who qualifies for the Google Lime Scholarship is eligible for an internship at Google. A $10,000 award is provided to US students and a $5,000 award is available for Canadian students. To qualify, you should be pursuing a computer science or related technical degree.
Microsoft Disability Scholarship | Microsoft
College-bound students with learning disabilities who will be pursuing a career in technology at an accredited post-secondary institution are eligible to receive $5,000 annually for four years. The total amount is $20,000 when you qualify for a renewal every year. You should be studying a major in engineering, computer science, or a related field.
Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships | National Center for Learning Disabilities
Qualified students who have a documented learning disability or are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can benefit from the Anne Ford Scholarship Award. If you are a graduating high school senior and will pursue a full-time bachelor’s degree program at an accredited institution, you are eligible for a $10,000 fund distributed in increments of $2,500 over four years.
Meanwhile, a graduating high school senior who is going to enroll in a two-year community college, vocational or technical training program, or a specialized program for students with learning disabilities can qualify for the Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship. Eligible candidates will receive a $5,000 scholarship fund over two years.
Schwallie Autism Research and Jernigan Blind Student Scholarships| Organization for Autism Research
The Organization for Autism Research will be providing a deserving student on the autism spectrum with a $3,000 scholarship. This includes students with Asperger’s Syndrome. Students attending four-year or two-year colleges, or a trade or vocational school are eligible. You must show documentation of the autism spectrum disorder to qualify.
P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship| P Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education
If you want a career in visual arts and have a documented case of dyslexia, you can apply for the P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship during post-secondary education. Eligible students will be awarded an annual scholarship of $1,000 toward college tuition. For these renewable scholarships, the amount may vary from year to year and the renewal is based on eligibility.
Schools That Offer Financial Aid for Students with Learning Disabilities
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University’s Disability Resource Center helps students, instructors, and the university as a whole provide students with disabilities with an inclusive and accessible learning environment. Considerations are given to disabled students so they can have a successful campus experience. Scholarships and other financial aid are accepted to help students.
Landmark College is exclusive to students with learning disabilities. It offers individualized support for writing, reading, and study skills. It also has special centers dedicated to business, computer science, math, and education technology. It prepares students with learning disabilities for employment and accepts financial aid from both private and federal institutions.
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona has pioneered the SALT center to provide individualized educational planning and learning strategies for its students. The university ensures that students with learning disabilities have a successful college career by empowering them and helping them to become more independent. Need-based scholarships are offered to help finance tuition costs.
University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut has a dedicated Center for Students with Disabilities. The center ensures that students with disabilities enrolled in the University of Connecticut will have access to all programs, opportunities, and activities despite their circumstances. It also offers access to different scholarship programs to finance the cost of attendance.
University of Iowa
The University of Iowa’s Student Disability Services help to provide students with access to all programs and services regardless of their learning capability. Accommodations are given to students with learning disabilities, including time extension for exams and quizzes and a distraction-reduced environment. Scholarships for students with disabilities are also available.
Should You Apply for Learning Disability Financial Aid?
Yes, you should apply for financial aid and scholarship opportunities available to students with learning disabilities. These funding sources take into consideration specific learning challenges and educational expenses. Financial aid helps students succeed and improve their quality of life by easing college expenses and allowing them to strive for academic excellence.
Financial Aid for Students with Learning Disabilities FAQ
The most common types of learning disabilities in students are dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you suspect you may have a learning disability, speak with a licensed healthcare professional.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) accepts student-athletes with disabilities. However, the member institution must seek, on behalf of the student-athlete with a disability, a reasonable accommodation of playing rules. In 2014, the Eastern College Athletic Conference approved a championship sports opportunity for student-athletes with disabilities.
Of the undergraduate students with select disabilities enrolled during the Fall 2021 school year, 3.6 percent reported having a learning disability, 12.1 percent reported having ADHD, and 2% reported having Autism Spectrum disorder, according to Statista.
Individuals with disabilities face challenges such as finding adequate housing and transportation, consistent resources such as qualified teachers or aids, difficulty connecting with student peers, and personal or family issues.
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