Scholarships for the Visually Impaired
There are a Variety of Scholarship Sources for Blind Students
Being visually impaired doesn't necessarily mean that the Halls of Higher Learning are closed to you; in fact, scholarship monies are available to help you reach your academic goals.
The American Council of the Blind
Legally blind, full-time students at the post-secondary level (both academic and vocational programs) may be able to receive funds from the more than two dozen scholarships offered by the American Council of the Blind, or ACB.
To be eligible, applicants must be legally blind in both eyes and have achieved a GPA of 3.3 or higher. The John Hebner Memorial Scholarship is available to part-time students who are employed full-time.
Association of Blind Citizens Scholarship Program
$10,000.00 in college scholarships is offered by the Association of Blind Citizens each school year. The breakdown of funding is as follows: seven scholarships valued at $1,000.00 each and one valued at $2,000.00. These funds can be used for tuition, accommodation, or expenses incurred as a result of the student's blindness.
In addition to a completed application form, interested students must submit a transcript (high school or college), a letter or certificate confirming the diagnosis of blindness, and two letters of reference. A 300-500 word essay (submitted by e-mail and on disk) explaining how the receipt of these funds will help the applicant achieve his or her goal of attending a post-secondary institution is required.
American Foundation for the Blind Scholarships
The American Foundation for the Blind offers several scholarships ranging from $500.00 - $1,500.00. Interested individuals may use a single application form to apply for one or more scholarships.
In addition to a completed scholarship application form, proof of US citizenship and legal blindness is required. Also required is a personal essay outlining goals, work experience, how the student proposes to use the funds, etc. Official transcripts, documentation showing proof of acceptance to a post-secondary institution, and two letters of recommendation complete the list of necessary supporting documentation.
Georgia Council of the Blind
Funding of up to $1,000.00 is offered by the Georgia Council of the Blind to students who are legally blind or have parents who are legally blind. Students must be financially dependent to qualify.
Georgia residents who wish to attend a vocational school, college or university (including Master's or Doctoral program) in the field of study of their choice are eligible to apply. The scholarships are for one year; students can reapply for funding under this program for subsequent school years. Successful applicants will attend the annual GCB Convention to accept their scholarships.
All applicants are required to provide a current financial statement, official transcripts, a letter or statement verifying the applicant's or applicant's parents' legal blindness, and two letters of recommendation. A written statement setting out the applicant's academic goals and a list of extracurricular activities the applicant is involved in are to be submitted. Please note that a taped recording of the applicant reading his or her statement regarding academic goals is also required.
The Jewish Guild for the Blind GuildScholar Program
The Guildscholar Program awards scholarships of $15,000.00 each to a maximum of 15 high-school students each year. The goal of the program is to allow high-achieving blind students the opportunity to attend post-secondary institutions that they might not otherwise be able to afford.
The program is open to legally blind US citizens who have earned high marks in their academic programs. Academic transcripts, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation are to be submitted with a completed application form for review by the selection committee.