In the 12+ years that I’ve been working with high school students to help prepare them for college and beyond I have had the privilege of partnering with families who have a family member on the autism spectrum. In many cases, the parents talk about how difficult it is to find financial resources for college or trade school. This list was created with those families in mind. The scholarships on this list are either specifically created for students with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) or are applicable to many students with an ASD.
#1. Disability Awareness Scholarship
MilitaryVALoan.com proudly offers scholarships in support of disability awareness. Every year, a prospective or current college student is selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship to help with the costs associated with attending school. Applicants should submit an essay between 500 and 1000 words about how they or someone they knew overcame disability to do something great. Applicants need to be 17 years of age or older either currently accepted to a college program but not yet started, or currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies.
#2. Google Lime Scholarship
The Google Lime Scholarship is administered by Lime Connect. This scholarship is available to undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing a computer science or IT degree, who have displayed a high level of academic success, and who have a visible or invisible disability. According to Lime Connect, “We know that 90% of disabilities on campus are invisible, and candidates with all disabilities are encouraged to apply.” The scholarship for students in the U.S. is $10,000. The scholarship for students in Canada is $5,000.
#3. Adults with Autism Scholarship
Offered by the organization, Autism Delaware, this scholarship is for eligible adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who want to pursue post-secondary education. Students must have an ASD diagnosis, must either have a GED or a high school diploma, and must be accepted into a college, university, trade school, community college, or vocational training program. To apply, students must submit a cover letter describing future professional goals, a resume, a transcript from high school or a GED program, explanation of how his or her support system will ensure academic success, evidence of ASD, and two letters of recommendation.
#4. Autism Society of Iowa Chapter
Students residing in Iowa have several scholarship options provided by the Autism Society of Iowa Chapter. Applicants interested in Automotive Technology, Collision Refinishing, Diesel Technology, Marine Technology, Motorcycle Technology, HVAC or Plumbing & Heating fields should look into the The Zach Paulsen Memorial Scholarship. Students wanting to study outside of those fields should look into the general scholarship for a student who resides in Iowa, who is on the autism spectrum. The Autism Society of Iowa Scholarship Program, administered by the Autism Society of Iowa, provides the following scholarship in the minimum amount of $500 to be applied toward thecompletion of an accredited, post-secondary educational or vocational program of study.
#5. Incight Educational Scholarships
Incight is a non-profit organization that supports and empowers key life aspects of education, employment, and independence for people who possess disabilities. Each year, the organization typically awards 100 scholarships amounting to around $500. Scholarship renewals begin at $750. Applicants must have a documented disability. This can be any type of disability as it is defined by the ADA, DSM-V, IDEA, or other governing body. Furthermore, applicants also must be attending post-secondary education during the funding cycle following application to the scholarship. This includes college, university, community college, or trade school. Residents of California, Oregon, and Washington are eligible for this wonderful opportunity.
#6. P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship
P. Buckley Moss was an artist who struggled with dyslexia during her school years. This scholarship is for students who aspire to have a career in the visual arts but who have a learning disability. In order to qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be a graduating high school senior, possess a verified specific language-related learning disability, demonstrate financial need, posses visual arts talent, be accepted to an accredited four-year college or university or two-year community college, and intend to pursue career in a visual arts field.
Contact: Email Form
#7. Disability Scholarship Program
The Disability Scholarship Program is sponsored by a law firm in Michigan named Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. The scholarship is worth $1,000 and will be awarded to a student who is a U.S. citizen and is currently attending an accredited college or university. The scholarship is open to students with any type of disability, including but not limited to medical conditions, physical disabilities, mental and psychiatric conditions, learning disabilities, speech and language, behavioral conditions, and all other conditions. To apply, students must simply fill out an application and submit a one-page typed essay describing how he or she overcame a personal challenge or adversity in his or her life.
Contact: (248) 569-4646
#8. NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
This scholarship is made possible by contributions from NBCUniversal and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Students must have a disability and be pursuing a communications or media-related degree to qualify. The scholarship is open to eligible students who are either in their 2nd year of an associate program or who are undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Graduate students are also eligible. Each recipient will receive $5,625 for tuition and fees at their college or university.
#9. KFM Making a Difference Autism Scholarship
Kerry Magro is the CEO and Founder of KFM Making a Difference. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4. He now holds advanced degrees, is a motivational speaker, and an advocate for people on the autism spectrum. Because is his passion for education he created a scholarship program for to be awarded to individuals with autism. To apply, students must submit a resume, two essays, and a cover letter that includes a 250 word bio.
#10. Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship
The Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship is awarded by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). These non-renewable annual scholarships amount to $3,000. Applicants must have an autism diagnosis (DSM-IV or later criteria). This particular scholarship is offered to eligible students who are attending life skills programs, or vocational, technical, or trade schools. If you are enrolled in a four-year college/university or a two-year undergraduate college, check out the Schwallie Family Scholarship.
#11. Schwallie Family Scholarship
Each year the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) offers non-renewable scholarships amounting to $3,000 each. In addition to having an autism diagnosis (DSM-IV or later criteria), applicants must be attending a two or four year university or college. Students are expected to complete the applications on their own. If you are enrolled in a trade school, vocational school, or technical program, look into the Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship.
#12. Kelly Law Team Autism Scholarship
With a head quarters in Phoenix, Arizona, the Kelly Law Team is offers two annual $1000 scholarships for individuals ages 16-30 who are on the autism spectrum. The scholarship can be utilized to enroll in any secondary education program such as community college, trade school, college, etc. Applicants must fill out a disclosure and submit a 600-850 word article that describes the applicant’s “story.” The idea is that the applicant describes things he or she has had to overcome.
Contact: (602) 283-4122
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#14. Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism
Inspired by the story of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, an autistic boy who went missing after he wandered away from school in 2013, The Perecman Firm, PLLC, established a scholarship in his honor. This scholarship is open to high-achieving students who meet two key criteria: Either the applicant or a close family member has been diagnosed with a form of autism, and the applicant is currently enrolled or has been accepted to an accredited university or college, either at the undergraduate or post-graduate level. The applicants must fill out an application and submit a 500 word essay on a topic assigned by The Perecman Firm.
Contact: (212) 390-0542
#15. AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability
The AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability is awarded annually to a student with a disability. The person must be pursuing undergraduate/graduate studies (must be at least enrolled as a Junior in college) in an accredited university. The student must also be working towards a degree related to health and disability, to include, but not limited to disability studies, disability policy, public health, health promotion, rehabilitation engineering, disability research,audiology, special education and majors that will impact quality of life of persons with disabilities.
#16. Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship
The National Center for Learning Disabilities provides the Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship. The program awards a one-time scholarship of $2,500 to a graduating high school senior with a documented learning disability who will be enrolled in a two-year community college, a vocational or technical training program, or a specialized program for students with LD. Students must be a graduating senior who plans to enroll in an eligible program in the fall. The student must have a demonstrated financial need, be able to articulate his or her LD and the need for self-advocacy, and be committed to post-high school academic study with realistic goals.
#17. Anne Ford Scholarship
The Anne Ford Scholarship is provided by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. This particular scholarship is a $10,000 ($2,500/year over four years) award granted to a graduating high school senior with a documented learning disability who will be enrolled, in the fall of, in a full-time bachelor’s degree program. To qualify, students must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, a documented learning disability, demonstrate a financial need, and be a U.S. citizen. Anne Ford Scholars are expected to be willing to mentor future Scholars and be role models and advocates for individuals with learning disabilities.
#18. BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship
Administered through Lime Connect, this scholarship opportunity is open to undergraduate students and graduate students in the U.S. and Canada who have a visible or invisible disability. The students must be pursuing a degree in business/commerce, engineering, math, physics, statistics or a related discipline. Preference is given to students who are interested in a career in Financial Services with a focus on Capital Markets preferred. Note, students residing in the U.S. are eligible for a $10,000 scholarship. Students residing in Canada are eligible for a $5,000 scholarship.
Contact: Email Form
#19. Science Graduate Student Grant Fund
Each year the Foundation for Science and Disability offers a $1,000 scholarship for graduate or professional students who possess a disability. The Student Award Program of FSD is intended to increase opportunities in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and pre‑medical/dental areas for individuals with a disability. Awards of $1000 each are made to qualified college or university students in any field of Mathematics, Science, Medicine, Technology, or Engineering. Students must submit two letters of recommendation and an application that includes a 250 word essay stating professional goals.
#20. Will Rogers Memorial Scholarship Fund
The University of Texas offers this wonderful scholarship opportunity for eligible UT students. To qualify, students must either be considered disabled or must be non-disabled students studying to work with individuals who are disabled. In this context, “disabled” means a person with a physical or non-physical disability, including mental and spiritual hardships or obstacles caused by the environment and lack of opportunity. Financial need may be used to distinguish among applicants. Note that the December deadline is for high school graduating seniors. The deadline for transfer students is in April.