20 Great Scholarships for Disability Studies

Scholarships for disability studies offer free financial support to students choosing this relatively new major to expand society’s understanding of disabilities.

From the bachelor’s to the Ph.D. level, disability studies programs immerse advocates in researching the effects of ability-based marginalization and unfair treatment. Students work to develop actionable goals for improving equality among the United States’ more than 56.6 million disabled citizens.

20 Best Deals on Colleges for Disability Studies

Choosing the disability studies major segues into gratifying careers like rehabilitation counselor, social worker, case manager, health educator, group home administrator, and ADA specialist. The BLS reports that disability studies majors are entering a human services sector poised for faster-than-average job growth at 10 percent through 2024.

If you’re passionate about removing barriers to inclusion, the following disability studies scholarships are for you.

1. Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship

Deadline: June 30th

The Center for Disability Studies at SUNY Buffalo created the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship to gift $7,000 stipends to outstanding graduate students who are pursuing the M.A. in Humanities with the formal Disability Studies Concentration. Qualified scholars must register full-time with 9+ credits, apply for New York State residency, obtain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, have overcome an impediment or disadvantage to higher education success, and attach three recommendations.

Contact

Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship

552 Park Hall

Buffalo, NY 14260

(716) 480-6156

marembis@buffalo.edu

Scholarship Link

2. Bethesda Lutheran Communities Scholarships

Deadline: May 1st

Founded in 1904, Bethesda Lutheran Communities is a Christian nonprofit serving over 2,000 disabled people across 14 U.S. states and awarding $20,000 in scholarships. Four members of the Lutheran faith who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees full-time are selected yearly. Eligibility criteria requires attending accredited U.S. colleges, having at least one year remaining, excel academically with a 3.0 GPA or better, and intend to share Jesus’ love with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Contact

Bethesda Lutheran Communities Scholarships

600 Hoffmann Drive

Watertown, WI 53094

(920) 261-3050

julie.timm@mailblc.org

Scholarship Link

3. Bishop Charles P. Greco Graduate Fellowship

Deadline: May 1st

The Knights of Columbus manages 650 scholarship funds for nearly $2 million, including the $2,000 Bishop Charles P. Greco Graduate Fellowship. Since 1973, it has supported United States citizens who are enrolling full-time in accredited master’s programs for special education, inclusive teaching, or related disability studies to teach children with intellectual disabilities. The application is reserved for the spouses and children of KofC members in good standing.

Contact

Bishop Charles P. Greco Graduate Fellowship

P.O. Box 1670

New Haven, CT 06507

(203) 752-4332

gary.nolan@kofc.org

Scholarship Link

4. Bonnie Watson-Peterson Scholarship

Deadline: March 31st

The Rehabilitation Association of Nebraska (RAN) bestows the Bonnie Watson-Peterson Scholarship for $500 annually upon a local Cornhusker who’s enrolling full-time in a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral program for rehabilitative occupations. Acceptable majors include social work, human services, rehabilitation counseling, disability studies, and psychology. Applications must be accompanied by a grade transcript, statement of disability, letter of recommendation, and personal goals essay.

Contact

Bonnie Watson-Peterson Scholarship

301 Centennial Mall South 6th Floor

P.O. Box 94987

Lincoln, NE 68509

(402) 471-3644

Scholarship Link

5. Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: March 6th

Named after the late AART Fellow at Syracuse University, the Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship is presented by the Society for Disability Studies (SDS) for up to $1,000 . It’s designed for non-white racial minority scholars who are conducting thesis or doctoral research at accredited U.S. institutions that broadens the field’s empirical-based knowledge about ethnicity. Other disability studies scholarships offered at the SDS Conference include the Tanis Doe Prize and Irving K. Zola Award.

Contact

Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship

P.O. Box 5570

Eureka, CA 95502

(510) 206-5767

sds@disstudies.org

Scholarship Link

6. Dennis Lang Award for Disability Studies

Deadline: May 7th

To honor the founder of the University of Washington’s Disability Studies Program, the Dennis Lang Award grants $500 to deserving undergraduate or graduate students on any UW campus who are devoted to resolving social injustices against people with disabilities. Eligible candidates must be taking at least one disability studies course with a minimum “B” average. To apply, submit a resume or curriculum vitae, academic transcript, and brief personal statement of activist endeavors.

Contact

Dennis Lang Award for Disability Studies

A210D Padelford

Box 354335

Seattle, WA 98105

(206) 543-7580

sgoering@u.washington.edu

Scholarship Link

7. Edith Weingarten Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: December 4th

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation offers several scholarships that post-baccalaureate disability studies majors could utilize for finishing an AOTA-accredited program in occupational therapy to serve people with disabilities. For example, the $1,000 Edith Weingarten Memorial Scholarship assists two disability advocates who’ve completed at least one year of occupational therapy courses with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Also consider the NorthCoast Medical Scholarship and Kappa Delta Phi Scholarship.

Contact

Edith Weingarten Memorial Scholarship

4720 Montgomery Lane Suite 202

Bethesda, MD 20814

(240) 292-1079

scholarships@aotf.org

Scholarship Link

8. Florence Margaret Harvey Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: April 1st

Valued at $2,500, the Florence Margaret Harvey Memorial Scholarship is funded by the American Federation for the Blind’s (AFB) Delta Gamma Foundation to support visually impaired undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing disability-related majors. To qualify, students must be United States citizens, attend accredited four-year colleges, have best corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less, and specialize in the rehabilitation or education of blind persons.

Contact

Florence Margaret Harvey Memorial Scholarship

2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102

New York, NY 10121

(800) 232-5463

info@afb.net

Scholarship Link

9. Frederick J. Krause Scholarship

Deadline: November 15th

The American Association on Health and Disability (ADHD) distributes the Frederick J. Krause Scholarship for $1,000 to honor the Illinois special education teacher who was appointed Executive Director of the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation in 1969. Suitable applicants will be full-time undergrad or post-grad students with disabilities who are majoring in any field related to disability awareness. Being a U.S. citizen or legal resident, attaining at least sophomore status, and actively participating in community service is required.

Contact

Frederick J. Krause Scholarship

110 N. Washington Street Suite 328-J

Rockville, MD 20850

(301) 545-6140

contact@aahd.us

Scholarship Link

10. Karman Healthcare Mobility Disability Scholarships

Deadline: September 1st

Karman Healthcare, a leading wheelchair manufacturer, offers two Mobility Disability Scholarships for $500 annually to physically disabled students who’ve helped build disability awareness in America, perhaps as a disability studies major. Candidates must be at least 16, be matriculating full-time at an accredited U.S. university, use mobility devices regularly, and hold a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. The application process involves writing an essay describing the biggest challenges of living with a mobility disability.

Contact

Karman Healthcare Mobility Disability Scholarships

19255 San Jose Avenue

City of Industry, CA 91748

(626) 581-2235

scholarship@karmanhealthcare.com

Scholarship Link

11. Lurie Doctoral Fellowship Program

Deadline: January 1st

At Brandeis University, the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy offers a three-year, full-time Doctoral Fellowship to cover tuition and bestow a stipend for advanced scholars in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Future policymakers must be admitted for the Ph.D. in Social Policy program with a concentration in Behavioral Health, Children and Youth, or Assets and Inequalities with hopes of improving the disability service system. Fellows are assigned mentors to complete a disability-focused research project.

Contact

Lurie Doctoral Fellowship Program

415 South Street MS 035

Waltham, MA 02453

(781) 736-3928

slp@ brandeis.edu

Scholarship Link

12. Marie Newton Sepia Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

The Pilot International Foundation initiated the Marie Newton Sepia Memorial Scholarship for $1,500 to assist 10 outstanding graduate students who are preparing for careers helping youth diagnosed with disabilities, especially neurological disorders. Eligible master’s and Ph.D. programs include nursing, health science, disability studies, special education, rehabilitative therapy, and psychology. Selection is based upon academic merit with a minimum 3.25 GPA and dedication to encouraging brain safety.

Contact

Marie Newton Sepia Memorial Scholarship

102 Preston Court

Macon, GA 31210

(478) 477-1208

communication@pilothq.org

Scholarship Link

13. Mary Switzer Research Fellowships

Deadline: May 15th

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) created the competitive Mary Switzer Research Fellowships in 1973 to provide up to $75,000 for doctoral candidates who are undertaking projects relevant to disability studies. Early-career fellows affiliated with accredited U.S. graduate schools could conduct research on psychiatric rehabilitation, assistive technology, special education, disability rights, and similar topics. The 12-month fellowship is full-time for 40 hours per week.

Contact

Mary Switzer Research Fellowships

400 Maryland Avenue SW

Washington, DC 20202

(800) 433-3243

Patricia Barrett@ed.gov

Scholarship Link

14. Michael Morrison Visionary Scholarship

Deadline: February 10th

Founded in 2008, the Michael Morrison Visionary Scholarship honors the dedicated disability rights advocate at the Vision Center in Columbus by providing $500 to $1,000. The Ohio Rehabilitation Association (ORA) seeks “Buckeye State” residents who are matriculated full-time in accredited undergraduate or graduate programs related to the rehabilitation profession, including disability studies. Applications must include a typed, 500-word scholarship essay, which will be published in the Interchange newsletter.

Contact

Michael Morrison Visionary Scholarship

6111 Chaney Drive

Toledo, OH 43615

(419) 841-8889

ora@bex.net

Scholarship Link

15. NAJA Graduate Scholarship Program

Deadline: February 1st

Since 1962, the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA) Inc. has honored Betty W. Robbins’ memory by providing over $1.24 million in graduate scholarships to students intending to serve the special needs of exceptional children. United States citizens hailing from the Southeast from Florida to Missouri can only apply. These scholarships for disability studies welcome diverse majors though, such as speech pathology, psychology, special education, school counseling, and hearing impairment.

Contact

NAJA Graduate Scholarship Program

845 S. Main Street

Greenville, MS 38702

(662) 332-3000

najanet@bellsouth.net

Scholarship Link

16. Price Benowitz Social Justice Scholarship

Deadline: March 1st

Disability studies majors could pursue the $1,000 Social Justice Scholarship from Price Benowitz LLP, a Baltimore-based personal injury law firm. Interested applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED, register full-time at accredited U.S. colleges, maintain a cumulative “B” average or better, and actively work to make the world a more equitable place. The application and resume must be accompanied by a 750-word essay describing the major challenges people with disabilities face.

Contact

Price Benowitz Social Justice Scholarship

108 W. Timonium Road Suite 333-A

Timonium, MD 21093

(410) 970-6530

info@pricebenowitz.com

Scholarship Link

17. Rehabmart.com Disability Studies Scholarships

Deadline: May 31st

Rehabmart.com, a medical supplies retailer, contributes $25,000 annually to providing Disability Studies Scholarships to disabled and non-disabled students who are majoring in education or healthcare fields to work with individuals with disabilities. Qualified recipients can receive $250 to $2,500 based on unmet financial need to attend any accredited two- or four-year college in America. Scholarship essays must clearly explain how medical technology improves the lives of disabled children or adults in 250+ words.

Contact

Rehabmart.com Disability Studies Scholarships

1353 Athens Way

Elberton, GA 30635

(706) 213-1144

assistance@rehabmart.com

Scholarship Link

18. Rick Fleetwood Scholarship Fund

Deadline: March 31st

Worth $1,500, the Rick Fleetwood Scholarship Fund is one of several disability studies scholarships managed by the Arkansas Rehabilitation Association (ARA) to reward students who care deeply about disabled persons. Appropriate applicants must be full-time undergrad (12+ credits) or graduate (9+ credits) with at least junior standing who hold a minimum 3.0 major GPA in studies like rehabilitation science, speech therapy, and deaf education. There’s also the R. Lewis Urton Scholarship and Vincent H. Bond Scholarship.

Contact

Rick Fleetwood Scholarship Fund

525 W. Capitol Avenue

Little Rock, AR 72201

(479) 644-7346

arrehabassociation@gmail.com

Scholarship Link

19. Scott and Paul Pearsall Grant

Deadline: October 1st

The American Psychological Foundation (APF) awards the Scott and Paul Pearsall Grant for $10,000 each year to M.S. and Ph.D. students from diverse majors who have devoted their graduate research to studying the psychological effects of stigma on physical disabilities like cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. Eligible candidates must submit a project proposal with IRB verification, one-page budget plan, faculty mentor recommendation, and curriculum vitae.

Contact

Scott and Paul Pearsall Grant

750 First Street NE

Washington, DC 20002

(202) 336-5843

foundation@apa.org

Scholarship Link

20. William and Dorothy Ferrell Scholarship

Deadline: March 25th

The Association for Education and Rehabilitation (AER) of the Blind and Visually Impaired gifts the William and Dorothy Ferrell Scholarship for $1,000 yearly. It’s designed to support post-baccalaureate scholars who are legally blind with visual acuity of 20/200 or worse. Funding can reduce tuition at any accredited post-secondary institution worldwide for career training to serve blind individuals. Don’t forget to attach two references, physician certification, and an autobiographical sketch.

Contact

William and Dorothy Ferrell Scholarship

1703 N. Beauregard Street SUite 440

Alexandria, VA 22311

(703) 671-4500

scholarships@aerbvi.org

Scholarship Link

Being committed to lessening the negative emotional and social consequences of disability is a noble goal. Altruistic students majoring in disability studies may struggle under the burden of rising collegiate tuition though. Disability studies degrees in the United States are primarily found at private, nonprofit institutions where costs are higher. For example, Syracuse University charges $33,312 yearly on average for its M.S.Ed and Ph.D. in Disability Studies. Scholarships, along with fellowships and grants, are extremely helpful to lower costs without building insurmountable debt. Consider these scholarships for disability studies that generously support tomorrow’s social justice pioneers.