10 Disability Scholarships You Need to Look Into

The costs of living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) can put a lot of financial strain on you and your family. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), individuals with high tetraplegia spinal cord injuries can find themselves facing average yearly expenses of $1.1 million and more than $191,000 for each subsequent year. As a result of these mounting costs, many SCI survivors might think that pursuing a degree will be out of their reach. 

However, the good news is that there are disability scholarships available that can help you cope with some of the costs you may face in your daily life. There is an abundance of scholarships for students with disabilities available online based on a variety of factors, including disabilities, race, financial needs, and interests. While the awards are for academic purposes, there also are disability grants available from spinal cord injury grant programs that can help to cover some of the costs relating to medical and personal care, assistive devices, and prescriptions.

We’ve put together a list of some of the best spinal cord injury disability scholarships. Note: These scholarships are not listed in any particular order.

Disability Scholarships for People with SCIs and Other Disabilities

These scholarships for students with disabilities vary in both the award amount and the needs that they can fund. The scholarships include opportunities for existing students with spinal cord injuries and other injuries, as well as those who are looking to return to school.

1. Swope, Rodante P.A. Research Scholarships

Spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury law firm (and founder of SpinalCord.com) Swope, Rodante P.A. awards a bi-annual research scholarship worth $2,500. The scholarship is awarded once in July and once in December to “students who go out of their way to help others, with the hope that, upon completion of their education, these students will continue with philanthropic efforts as leaders of the community.”

2. Will2Walk Scholarship Program

The Will2Walk Foundation offers scholarships of up to $5,000 per applicant to individuals with spinal cord injuries to cover part or all of the cost for certain items and services. According to the website, the costs can cover fees relating to “fitness memberships, team dues, everyday living supplies, work related equipment, educational expenses or participation in a special event related to spinal cord injuries.” Applicants are eligible to receive up to one scholarship per calendar year.

3. American Association on Health and Disability Scholarship

The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) offers the AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability for up to $1,000 per award. The scholarship for disabled students is awarded annually to a deserving student (who is at least a sophomore) who is pursuing undergraduate/graduate studies in an accredited university. The student must be:

“pursuing studies related to the health and disability, to include, but not limited to public health, health promotion, disability studies, disability research, rehabilitation engineering, audiology, disability policy, special education and majors that will impact quality of life of persons with disabilities.”

4. Tighten the Drag Foundation Scholarships

The Tighten the Drag Foundation offers scholarships for students with disabilities who have either suffered catastrophic spinal cord injuries while residing in the Southeastern United States (specifically Alabama, Florida, Georgia, or Mississippi) or attend an adaptive sports program located there. According to the website, the Foundation was created because they believe that recovery is possible through “activity based exercise programs, recreational adaptive sporting events, good health and nutrition and a positive state of mind.” The application guidelines form states that “there are no maximum benefits” for the scholarships they offer.

5. 1800Wheelchair.com Scholarship Fund

Each year, the 1800Wheelchair Scholarship Fund offers one to two $500 scholarships for students who explore mobility issues on campus, overcoming personal challenges, and other related topics. Applicants must submit a “visual poem” in a style of your choosing, on the theme of overcoming a personal challenge. The application does not specify whether preference will be given to individuals with disabilities.

6. Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation Scholarships

The Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation offers scholarships for students with disabilities that range from $2,000 to $4,000 for post-high school education. According to the website, preference will be given to individuals who live in Wisconsin and who have:

“direct spinal cord injuries and diseases resulting in paralysis such as spinal tumors, strokes or aneurysms affecting the spinal cord, or spina bifida. Other diseases and disorders that would be considered include MS, traumatic brain injuries, Parkinson’s and cerebral palsy.”

7. NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship

The NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship, which is offered through the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), offers $5,625 scholarships for disabled students for up to eight undergraduate and graduate students per year. The students must be interested in pursuing a career in the communications, entertainment, or media industries.

8. 180 Medical College Scholarship Program

180 Medical offers seven $1,000 scholarships to individuals with spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, neurogenic bladder, an ostomy (such as a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy), or transverse myelitis to pursue their higher education.

9. Foundation for Science and Disability Scholarships

The Foundation for Science and Disability (FSD) Student Award Program offers awards of $1,000 to support research projects of qualified university students in any field of engineering, mathematics, medicine, science, or technology. Scholarship applicants must be fourth-year undergraduates who are disabled and have been accepted to a graduate or professional school in the sciences or graduate science students who have a disability.

10. RehabMart.com $25,000 Scholarship Fund

RehabMart.com offers a variety of individual scholarships ranging from $250 to $2,500. The scholarships for disabled students, or those majoring in health sciences or special needs education, are awarded annually.

We’ll conclude by stating that this is not a complete list; there are many other disability scholarships available online for people with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other disabilities who are either in school or are looking to return to school. There also are many grants available that can help pay for adaptive technologies, accessibility home renovations, and other injury-related costs.

To learn more about the Swope, Rodante P.A. scholarship we mentioned first, click on the link below. The application period for the December 2020 scholarship is open through Sunday, Nov. 15.


Learn More About the Award  ❯ 


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