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
  • Enrolled in community college, a four 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 to 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.

List of Autism Scholarships

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: