Qualified students with physical or mental disabilities may be eligible for an array of scholarship assistance that can be used to help pay for tuition, fees, books and transportation. Awards are often dependent on the financial needs of the student. Also covered by grants are services such as counseling and job placement. From multiple sclerosis to spina bifida, hemophilia to epilepsy, no matter what the condition, resources are available to overcome those challenges.
State Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Most vocational rehabilitation grants are handled at the state level through the state Vocational Rehabilitation office. They develop programs that are custom designed to the individual himself, as well as his particular needs. The student is evaluated on the basis of his disability and whether that hinders his ability get or keep employment. The need is then assessed on the vocational services that would match the student's needs, strengths, capabilities and interest. This assistance is used to help with college tuition and is based upon the program in which the student enrolls, as well as the student's financial need. Depending on what other financial award is allowed for the student, this can affect how much money is provided.
Supplemental Security Income and Plan for Achieving Self-Support
For those individuals who already receive Social Security benefits for a disability and demonstrate financial need, Social Security offers a Social Security Supplemental Income that can, as the name suggests, supplement what the student already receives in benefits. How much a person can receive varies from state to state and could be increased because of cost of living. The program known as the Plan for Achieving Self-Support allows the individual to set aside resources to cover such things as college tuition. Any earnings made from employment can affect the payments.
Disability-Related Scholarships and Awards
Depending on an individual's particular need, several grants are catered toward specific physical challenges, in addition to those that have grants that cover across the board. In addition to general disability, the Disaboom Scholarship Network offers grants for those who are hearing or visually impaired, or have physical/mobility impairments. They also offer grants for those with learning disabilities. The Lilly Reintegration Scholarship offers aid for those with mental health issues. Organizations such as IDF Scholarship Program offer aid through the Immune Deficiency Foundation. The Jewish Guild for the Blind offers a Guild Scholar Award and Lighthouse International offers Lighthouse Scholarships for students with vision loss.
- ED.gov The Department of Education: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
- University of Washington: College Funding for Students with Disabilities
- Disability.gov Connecting the Disability Community to Information and Opportunities: Vocational Rehabilitation
- Washington.edu: College Funding for Students with Disabilities
- College Foundation of North Carolina: Vocational Rehabilitation Program
- Dirk Ott/iStock/Getty Images