ADHD is a Learning Disability: Find Scholarships for LD Students
College-bound students who have been diagnosed with ADHD face many challenges. In addition to overcoming a learning disability that makes concentration, problem-solving and impulse control difficult, they face the common obstacle of paying for their post-secondary education. Students with ADHD, or other learning disabilities, can find many scholarship and grant programs dedicated to helping them achieve their goals of a college education.
Over the last twenty years or more, the diagnoses of ADHD have been on a dramatic rise. Many more children and adults are afflicted with this learning disability than previously believed, with as many as 1 in 10 students being subject to the affects of ADHD. School can be particularly challenging for students with ADHD, and dropout rates are disproportionately high amongst those struggling with this learning disability.
For students diagnosed with ADHD, reaching college is a major accomplishment. It also brings with it new challenges, and new stresses. The National Research Center on ADHD recommends that college-bound students with this condition contact the Student Disability Support Office at their college of choice to find out if they can offer the necessary support for students with learning disabilities. Students should assure themselves that their college of attendance can offer :
- Disability services that specialize in students with ADHD
- Faculty and staff that are aware of the problems and needs of ADHD students
- Support groups for students with ADHD and other learning disabilities
- Mentoring programs for students with learning difficulties
- Curriculum flexibility appropriate for students with ADHD
College-bound students with ADHD, or other learning disabilities, should begin their search for college funding with the Federal government’s many educational grant programs. Government supported college grants offer financial assistance to a wide range of students. While there are no specific programs devoted to students with ADHD, Federal educational grants should be every students first stop in the search for college funding.
Before applying for any Federal education grants students must first fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid . The information supplied on the FAFSA is used to generate a Student Aid Report, which outlines the levels of Federal financial aid available to the student. The FAFSA and SAR are required for all students applying for Federal and state-based aid, and are used by the majority of independent grant, scholarship and student loan providers.
The following Federal grant programs are available to all college-bound students, including those with ADHD and other learning disabilities.
- The Federal Pell Grant provides financial aid to students who can demonstrate the requisite level of financial need. Students must be enrolled either full, or part-time, at an accredited college or university. Award amounts are decide on the basis of financial need, and total cost of attendance. Maximum award amounts are currently set at $5,500.
- The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or FSEOG, is available to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. The FSEOG is campus based, and all awards are determined by the college or university’s financial aid department. Award amounts range from $100 to $4000. Funds are limited, and students are encouraged to apply as early as possible at the college of their choice.
In addition to these Federal grant programs, many states offer grants and scholarships to resident students with extreme financial need. All students are encouraged to visit the dedicated website for their state’s Department of Higher Education to learn more about what financial aid programs may available at the local level.
Scholarships for ADHD Students
While scholarships and grants for college-bound students with learning disabilities may not be as high profile as other financial aid programs, there are still a number of valuable sources of funding for students with ADHD. These scholarship programs are supported by charitable foundations, private associations, corporations, and a variety of colleges and universities. Students looking for ADHD specific scholarships will also want to widen their search to include general scholarships for all students with learning disabilities.
The following examples will give college-bound students with ADHD an idea of the scholarship possibilities that are available to them.
- Disabled Person, Inc. sponsors an annual National Scholarship Competition for students with disabilities. Applicants must write a 1000 word essay on a given topic. The scholarship award amount is $1000 for the winning applicant.
- The Anne Ford Scholarship is supported by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. The $10,000 scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors with a documented learning disability. Students must be enrolled full time in a bachelor degree program at an accredited college or university. The scholarship is disbursed in four annual installments of $2500.
- The Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship is also supported by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. This one time award of $2500 is open to students with learning disabilities who are enrolled in a 2 year community college, vocational school or technical training program.
- The Incight Scholarship is a $500 renewable award for students with a documented learning disability. Incight also administers the Scrubs Gallery Scholarship for nursing students with learning disabilities.
- The Novotni Scholarship Fund is administered by the Attention Deficit Disorder Association. Applicants must have been diagnosed with ADHD by a licensed physician or mental health professional. The annual awards range from $1000 to $5000. Applicants must submit two letters of reference, and may reapply for the scholarship each year they are enrolled in college.
- The Moulton-Farnsworth Scholarship provides two annual $1000 awards to college-bound students with documented ADHD.
- The Shire ADHD Scholarship Program is administered in cooperation with the Edge Foundation. 50 graduating seniors with documented ADHD receive $2000 scholarships to help them pursue their higher education at either a community college, university or vocational school. Scholarship recipients also receive a full year of counseling and coaching services from the Edge Foundation to help with the transition into college.
These are only a few of the many national programs dedicated to helping students with ADHD and other learning disabilities achieve their goal of a college education. Many more programs are available at local levels, and students with ADHD are encouraged to consult the financial aid department at their college of choice to learn about programs that may be sponsored by regional support groups, local philanthropists or the university itself. There are many financial aid programs dedicated to helping students with all types of learning disabilities to make their dream of a college education a reality. With time and diligence, students with ADHD can find the funding they need to help pay for college.