College costs are increasing, and parents often feel responsible for ensuring that their children have a college education. This sense of obligation may be stronger with a disabled child. Fortunately, scholarship programs are available that can provide for the education of a disabled child, either on a partial or full basis. This type of educational funding can provide relief to parents wanting the best opportunities for their disabled child.
Types of Scholarships
Disability scholarships can cover various parts of continuing education expenses and are available based on factors other than a student's disability status. Some scholarships are intended to cover a disabled person's complete education expenses, including tuition and living expenses, and may or may not be based on financial need. Other scholarships match contributions that the student makes to his own education. Scholarships for disabled children may also be small scholarships to local schools that support the students continuing education, even on a part-time basis.
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
In 1975 the U.S. passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The purpose of this law was to ensure that disabled students have access to the same educational opportunities that students without disabilities have. An amendment to the law allows organizations to provide grants and scholarships to students based on disability status. The National Organization for the Deaf and The National Federation of the Blind are two organizations that offer scholarships through IDEA.
State Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Vocational rehabilitation services are designed to help people with disabilities train for a new or different career that is better suited to their abilities. To receive one of these scholarships, a student must have a verifiable physical or mental disability, and this disability must keep the student from getting or keeping a job. A state vocational rehabilitation counselor makes this determination using interviews and medical records. Once he has established that the student has a disability, he will help facilitate the funding for the needed education.
The HEATH resource center at George Washington University maintains information on any available scholarships for individuals with disabilities and their parents. This information is available in a guide format that is updated each year and provides valuable information to parents about scholarship opportunities for disabled children. If a group is available to offer support for your child's particular disability, it may offer additional information about available scholarships.