Autism Scholarships

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Are There College Scholarships for Students with Autism?

There are many college scholarships for those with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism scholarships usually offset the costs of going to junior college or college. But they may instead pay for trade, technical or vocational school.

The Organization for Autism Research is one provider. OAR scholarships pay for all the above and for cooperative life skills programs. These $3,000 awards are available to students across the autism spectrum.

Can you get a scholarship for having autism?

Some scholarships are only for those with Autism, PDD-NOS, and Asperger’s. While others are more general and for people with disabilities of various kinds.

The Lime Connect is one example. To apply for this scholarship, you need to have a visible or invisible disability. These include ADD, Dyslexia, medical conditions, mental health conditions and more.

To qualify for an autism scholarship, applicants may need to:

  • Be on the autism spectrum and have a valid diagnosis from a licensed physician
  • Be an advocate on campus for disability student rights
  • Be enrolled in community college, a 4-year university or graduate program
  • Instead of college, be enrolled in a TPSID (Transition and Postsecondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities)
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a resident of a specific state

Still other providers recognize that autism impacts the family. These scholarships may be available to you if you are the sibling of someone with autism.

One example is a partnership between the Siblings of Autism and the Autism Society. To apply for their scholarship, you need to develop a short video. It should describe what you as a sibling think of as the gifts of autism.

Do you plan to work with people who have been diagnosed with autism? Possible providers of these scholarships are colleges in your state. To qualify, you may need to show a strong interest in civil rights activism. Plus, dedicated support to the autistic community.

Why Consider Autism Scholarships?

More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. But 35 % of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school.

One reason is the high cost of education. A recent study shows it costs more than $8,600 extra per year to educate a student with autism. These costs often pay for support and care giving beyond the classroom.

Another reason may relate to the high stress of transitioning to college. Nonetheless, 29% of autistic youth do take college entrance tests.

While not as likely to pursue a college degree as their peers, many young adults with disabilities do. About 55% enroll in an education program after high school.

If you are one of these college-bound students, a scholarship is money you do not have to pay back. It is one way to work towards more independence.

Top Autism Scholarships for College

Many state education boards and agencies offer scholarships for autistic students. But there are many funds available from private sources too. Here’s a list of the top autism scholarships with upcoming deadlines:

Anne Ford Scholarship

This award is for high school seniors with a documented learning disability who have maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and intend to enroll in a bachelor's degree program.

Total: $2500 Awards:  1
Deadline:  January 17
2020

Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship

U.S. graduating high school seniors with a documented learning disability who demonstrate financial need are eligible for this award. The student must plan to enroll in a two-year community college, a vocational or technical training program, or a specialized program for students with learning disabilities.

Total: $2500 Awards:  1
Deadline:  January 17
2020

Whitfield, Bryson & Mason Autism Scholarship

The Whitfield, Bryson & Mason Autism Scholarship is available for students in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with autism.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  February 10
2020

RJT Autism Scholarship Program

The RJT Criminal Defense Autism Scholarship is available for U.S. citizens who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  February 14
2020

Feldman Law Autism Scholarship

This scholarship is provided by the Feldman Law Firm and is available to U.S. students who have been diagnosed with autism.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  February 21
2020

Black Wynn Autism Scholarship

The Black Wynn PLLC Autism Scholarship is available for U.S. citizens who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Applicants must be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited vocational school, college, or university within one year.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  February 24
2020

Jack’s Dollars Scholarship

Jack’s Place for Autism Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Its mission is to provide families services for persons at any age with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through a full menu of supportive, educational and referral services. The Foundation is a single source to provide families with needed support services, community initiatives, grants, scholarships, and referrals. Jack’s Dollars is a scholarship program that provides financial assistance to families who are looking to get their loved...

Total: $250 Awards:  10
Deadline: 

Kelly Law Autism/ASD Scholarship

The Kelly Law Autism/ASD Scholarship is available for U.S. students who have been medically diagnosed with autism or a related spectrum disorder.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  March 08

Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who have been, or who have a family member who has been, diagnosed with a form of autism (including Asperger Syndrome). Students must submit an essay on topic related to autism in order to apply.

Total: $1000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  July 31

Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability

This award is available for U.S. college sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students who have a disability and are majoring in a health-related field.

Total: $1000 Awards:  3
Deadline:  November 15