Are there college scholarships available for students with learning disabilities?

Julia Frost



Are there college scholarships available for students with learning disabilities?


Here are some sources we have found that may help you find financial aid for college. This link is to information prepared by LDA’s Adult Topics Committee in the article Financial Aid for College Students with Learning Disabilities.

Scholarships that are available for students with learning disabilities include (click on the link for more information):

The Anne Ford Scholarship. A $10,000 award given to a high school senior with an identified learning disability (LD) who is pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Marion Huber Learning Through Listening (LTL) Awards. Learning Ally will present three $6,000 scholarships and two special honor $2,000 scholarships to high school seniors with learning disabilities.

Microsoft Scholarships for Students with Disabilities. Students with disabilities interested in obtaining an undergraduate degree in computer science or related technical disciplines are requested to apply for the Microsoft scholarship program.

RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit resource and scholarship opportunity for high school students who learn differently.

Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center (AALRC) also offers scholarship dedicated to students with disabilities in the first section of their website.

Please check with your State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. An individual with a learning disability who is seeking an education leading toward employment may find support there. This support varies considerably depending on the state, but they may provide books and tuition equal to tuition at a public state university. More information can be found in the LDA article Rehabilitation Services Administration.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine eligibility for federal grants and loans. FAFSA also provides federal aid for work-study funds. Eligibility for most federal student aid depends on a variety of factors, including Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the student’s year in college, enrollment status, and the cost of attendance at the college selected. See the website for more information

Check back on the LDA website under Adult/Post Secondary for more scholarship opportunities that might arise in the future.

Julia Frost | Director, Jones Learning Center | University of the Ozarks | Clarksville, Arkansas

Julia Frost has been the director of the Jones Learning Center at the University of the Ozarks since July 1994. The Center is a comprehensive support program for students with learning disabilities, AD/HD, and ASD. From 1986 through 1991 she was the Center’s director of assessment. She is a nationally certified school psychologist and worked eight years as a school psychologist in public schools. Julia is the chair of the Adult Topics Committee for LDA. She has three adult children, two of whom have helped her to experience more closely the challenges of living with disabilities.


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  1. Kathryn Blair says

    When my son was in pre-school, at age 4, I felt he had a learning problem. Two years after begging the prinpipal to have him tested, and turned down, because they thought he was too young, testing started. It was a very long, years long, process because of scheduling for all involved in the process.

    As a mother, and the key person involved in his education, I have been extremely frustrated, angry and disheartened ny the school system. In the 14 years my son has been in school, I have found the schools Administration and educators do not have the skills or desire to learn how to teach a student who has learning disabilities, such as dyscalculia and dysgraphia. As a matter of fact, up until this school year, I have had to address my sons learning disabilities with each of his teachers. When I ask the teachers if they reviewed my sons file before school started, their answers were all, “No, I want to give each student a fresh start at the beginning of the school year. That may be fine and dandy for some, but for the student with LD it is the beginning of another hellish school year and setup for failure, again.

    As I write, my son, who is 18.5 years old and a public high school senior. He is not attending the “regular” high school. He goes to the online, or “alternate” school, which is in the upstairs of a government building, several miles from the high school. Last year his principal gave him the option to either stay at the high school where he would most likely continue to get failing grades, or go to the new online school, which was miles away from the high school and work at a slower pace. My son was finally accepted by a group of kids who participated in the sports he enjoyed and wanted him to be part of their team. For a kid who has been humiliated by fellow students and teachers because of his problems, this is huge. As a high school junior, he had a big decision to make. He chose the online school.

    The first year was a total fiasco. The online school must have only been a thought when my son was approached, because nothing was set up and ready for the first week of school. The program was the sole responsibility of the principal. My son started school three weeks after the regular high school students. The computer system was not ready when he started. Lunch was not provided until I asked why lunch was nit being provided and that is a different issue. He did not start at the same time as the regular students, but 1.5 hours later. The best was no transportation. As a tax paying citizen, I had to provide my sons transportation to and from his online school. He went to ISD and I had to provide his transportation to that school which is in an adjacent city, 10 miles away.

    It is the first week of my son’s senior year, and already the principal has given me the wrong information for the beginning of the school year. I am not longer a working mother, so I will be able to dedicate more time toward my sons education and hopefully be able to help other families eho are going to go down this dark, narrow road for parents who want their child to have the same learning experience as children without learning disabilities.

  2. Is there a limit on scholarships as my daughter is add and learned she had to cage her major after being in college 5 years. She is now going partime, taking only no more than 3 classes but her Pell grant has run out. She is living in the dorm and we would like her finish her last 29 units. What can we do to get monies for her disabilty. She has received extra time on tests and a note taker, but the school now informs us that her Pell funds are no longer available. She has struggled repeating classes and has gotten this far. Does she have anymore avenues to help her with financial aid?

  3. Children who struggled in school from the very beginning faced many obstacles that the average 5/6 year old student didn’t experience. My daughter was tested for a learning disability near the end of kindergarten. She scored very low in reading comprehension. There were lots of tears from the both of us for many years. Commitment and determination led to success by high school. Young adults facing learning disabilities had a much harder fight to get to a place to even qualify for college. In return a scholarship in any amount is very well deserved. These young adults beat the odds against them. The outcast of learning differently from their peers. To work hard and overcome that title of “disability ” is why these kids with learning disabilities deserve a scholarship over YOU the average student. I believe in my opinion you have NOT fully walked in the shoes of a student with learning disabilities. My daughter has learned to be more determined and goal obsessed than some of the high ability students in her grade. She is not standing here crying about what someone else has or does. She’s to busy fighting to be successful. Because it has NEVER been an easy fight for her or any other young adult with a learning disability.

  4. Martha Davidson says

    I am a 28 year old woman and growing up from elementary school all the way until college I knew I wasnt as smarter then the other students. I have always found way out of things without people knowing I wasnt as smart as I should be. Not until about three years ago I got tested and discovered that I am Dyslexic and ADD. Almost all of the college classes that I have taken I had to take them two or more times just to pass them, when the average person only had to take them once. Since I have found out what the problem is now I am ready to go back to college and finish to become a special education teacher. Are there and scholarships that I may qualify for at the age of 28? I really need this help.

  5. Jane Kelly says

    Two students I know who have diagnosed learning disabilities that give them extra time during the SAT and other tests at school have both been admitted to Princeton University. Can you explain how someone with a learning disability can also be in the top 1/1000% of students applying to college? Isn’t a learning disability something that, by definition, says an individual will struggle with learning? If you are one of the top students in the country, how is learning a disability for you, and how can extra time for these students not be unfair to those of us who study just as hard but have no hope of attending an Ivy League school? Thanks!

    • Sabrina says

      I am a student with LD. LD ever once measured my intelligence, nor has it created a box for LD students only. I have struggled alone the way but, with great one on one help from awesome educators I have been very successful. No, i didn’t attend an Ivy League school but, I have my doctrine Degree. It’s sad for people such as yourself to be bitter and evil to one who struggle greatly with education. Furthermore, we all have LDs to a certain degree in something.

    • People with LDs struggle with one or more aspects of the way our traditional school systems teach. With assistance and even on their own, many develop skills to work around their problems. There are many extremely bright people with learning differences related to basic reading and writing. In our schools we rely heavily on the written word which makes life difficult for many with LD. To compensate many learn to memorize quickly, type quickly, use youtube or other video media to learn. Learning by listening to audio books, watching others and having a 3 dimensional experience are other examples of adaptive behavior.
      My son has diagnosed Dysgraphia and I suffer from it as well though in my day they didn’t have a name for it. My son learned to type 75 wpm by 7th grade and is over 90 now in High School. They still make him hand write exams, which is stupid in this day and age, but he requires and is given extra time on finals. Reading goes a bit slower for him too but improved after wearing prism glasses in grade school to train his eyes and brain. He learned to film and edit videos early in his school life because that medium comes easier to him. Even before his learning difference was diagnosed and he was given extra time on exams, he scored in the top 10% on standardized tests.
      I suspect many with LDs have trained their brains to run algorithms to work around their problems by college and their mental processing speed becomes much faster as a result of the LD.

    • Although this thread is older, I figured I’d still reply should others still see this post and wonder why accommodations are necessary for those with learning disabilities. My son has an IQ of 136 on his verbal . . . but a 98 on his non verbal. He is strong on English, History, and any subject that is heavily based on reading, comprehension, and writing (and scored extremely well on the written and language sections of the SAT). Yet math, chemistry, physics, or any other subject that relies on math or formulas, or multi-step processing, he struggles greatly with, often failing tests and quizzes.

      He was accepted to Mensa, having scored in the 99th percentile on the language portion of his elementary standardized tests, yet often can’t find his books, or remember where he left his shoes, or know when a test is coming up or what chapter he’s supposed to be studying. He has ADHD and deals with multiple seizures each day; his seizure medications further interfere with his cognition and slow his processing speed down..

      A student who struggles with a learning disability is given additional time, or other appropriate accommodation, in order to level the playing field. Accommodations really shouldn’t be perceived as “unfair” as these students are already starting out with a disadvantage. Intelligence and learning disabilities are two very separate issues,


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