Financial Aid Resources
 College tuition, room and board can be an expensive proposition. A student with a disability may face additional expenses which should be taken into consideration during the college planning process. These additional expenses could include special equipment related to the disability itself, services of readers, note takers or personal care attendant, transportation if regular transportation is not available, and medical expenses not covered by insurance.
Colleges and Universities may offer merit scholarships, grants, low interest loans and work-study jobs through their Financial Aid Office. Each state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Office or DVR office offers a multitude of services for post-secondary students depending on qualifications. Services can include tuition, fees, books and supplies, and possibly room and board. There is usually no fee to apply.
Since there are a limited number of scholarships specifically designated for students it is a good idea to look into scholarships available for other criteria as well. This could include consulting the national office for the professional association related to the career you are preparing to enter. These groups sometimes have scholarships available to people with disabilities or from under represented minorities.
As in other areas of planning for college, starting early and doing a thorough job of research are the keys to success.
Internet Resources for Financial Aid and Scholarship Information
  • Student Gateway to the U.S. Government
  • U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education,
    Financial Aid for Students
    Information and links relating to federal student assistance programs
  • The Financial Aid Information Page
    This site provides mailing lists, news groups, loan information, and scholarship information for special interest groups including a section under “Other Types of Aid” for students with disabilities.
  • The College Board Home Page
    Provides access to a profile search of available grants and scholarships.
  • FastWEB
    This site is one of the largest scholarship databases.
  • CASHE (College Aid Sources for Higher Education) or
    A free service through Sallie Mae’s Online Scholarship Service, this site provides information about scholarships, grants, loans, internships, and work-study programs.
  • CollegeNET MACH25
    This is a free version of the Wintergreen/Orchard House Scholarship Finder database. Lists more than 500,000 private sector awards.
  • The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators ( NASFAA)
    This site includes free downloadable publications for students and parents.
  • College Quest
    A comprehensive site providing information about searching, applying and paying for college.
  • Other popular web sites
Scholarships and Financial Aid Resources
  • HEATH Resource Center
    The George Washington University
    2134 G Street NW
    Washington, DC 20052-0001
    HEATH is a national clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities. See their publications Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services: A Consumer Guide for Postsecondary Students.
  • Foundation for Exceptional Children; Stanley E. Jackson Award for Gifted/Talented Students with Disability
    1110 North Glebe Road
     Suite 300
     Arlington, VA 22201
    (limited to entering freshmen who have a disability)
  • Undergraduate Scholar Program Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
    P.O. Box 12727
    Arlington, VA 22209-8727
  • Foundation for Science and Disability, Inc.
    Richard Mankin, Grants Committee Chair
    502 NW 89 Street
    Gainesville, FL 32607-1400
    (limited to science students entering a graduate program in science)
  • Entry Point
    American Association for the Advancement of Science internship programs and mentors for students with disabilities. Outstanding opportunitites.
  • Chairscholars Foundation, Inc.
    Hugo and Alicia Keim
    16101 Carencia Lane
    Odessa, FL 33556
    (for high school seniors and college freshmen who have a serious physical disability)
  • Billy Barty Foundation
    929 West Olive Avenue, Suite C,
    Burbank, CA 91506
    Applicants must be US or Naturalized Citizens, accepted or currently enrolled in an accredited four year college or university in the US, and be a Little Person (stature 4’11” or under) or related to a Little Person (parent or child). 
  • Gore Family Memorial Foundation
    Scholarship Coordinator
    4747 North Ocean Drive, #204
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
    (limited to students with a severe physical disability)
  • National Clearinghouse on Careers and Professions Related to Early Intervention and Education for Children with Disabilities; The Council for Exceptional Children
    1920 Association Drive
    Reston, VA 20191-1589
    703-262-9480 (TTY)
    (for students preparing to enter the field of special education)
  • Tony Orlando Yellow Ribbon Scholarship; National Tourism Foundation
    546 East Main Street
    Lexington, KY 40508
    (students with a physical disability preparing for a career in the travel
    or tourism industry)
  • VSA Arts
    Very Special Arts Young Soloists Program
    1300 Connecticut Avenue, NW
    Suite 700
    Washington, DC 20036
    202-737-0645 (TTY)
    (students studying selected musical instruments)


  • Dollars for College: The Quick Guide to Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities (1998), Elizabeth A. Olson editor.
    Contains lists of organizations, including colleges, that offer financial aid for students with disabilities as well as information about organizations that assist people with disabilities in areas other than financial aid. For information or to order contact Garrett Park Press, P.O. Box 190, Garrett Park, MD 20896. Telephone: 301-946-2553.
  • Financial Aids for Higher Education, published by W.C. Brown.
  • Financial Aid for the Disabled and Their Families, (2006-2008)
    Gail Ann Schlachter and R. David Weber, Reference Service Press.
    This is a useful and comprehensive resource providing contact information for programs in every state.
  • College Financial Aid for Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy and Dr. Herm Davis (1997).
    While not specifically for students with disabilities, it is a comprehensive and useful guide to the financial aid system and application process, and suggests strategies for locating and obtaining scholarships, grants, and gifts.
       Other Sources of Financial Aid and Scholarships
  • US Department of Education/Federal Student Aid Programs
    1-800-433-3243 or 1-800-730-8913 (TTY)
    Offers information about federal student financial aid.
  • Local Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary Clubs and Lions Clubs.

Updated April 2007

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