Each year, more and more students with autism are graduating from high school and enrolling in colleges, universities, vocational schools, and other educational programs. To help these students overcome yet another challenge — the financial challenge — many businesses and organizations sponsor educational scholarships specifically for those diagnosed with autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Keep scrolling for 20 great scholarships for students on the autism spectrum, updated for 2020.
AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship On Health and Disability
2020 Deadline: November 15
Adult With Autism Scholarship
2020 Deadline: April 30
Funded by Autism Delaware, the Adult With Autism Scholarship is a $1,000 award offered to adults on the autism spectrum who are pursuing a college degree. To be eligible, an applicant must be a high-school graduate, have been accepted into a post-secondary program, and be a resident of the state of Delaware. The application process includes submission of a cover letter and resume, a high school transcript or GED, a personal statement, and a letter of recommendation.
Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship
2020 Deadline: December
The National Center for Learning Disabilities sponsors the Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship for high school seniors with documented learning disabilities and/or ADHD. The $5,000 award will be given out over two years. Successful applicants will be planning to enroll in a two-year community college, a vocational training program, or a specialized program for students with learning disabilities. The application process includes an application with personal statement, financial information, and an interview for semifinalists.
Anne Ford Scholarship
2020 Deadline: December
Like the Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship, the Anne Ford Scholarship is sponsored by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. The scholarship is a $10,000 award which will be given out over four years. To apply, students must be U.S. citizens, have a documented learning disability and/or ADHD, and be a high school senior with plans to enroll in a full-time bachelor’s degree program. Successful applicants will prove financial need and complete an interview.
Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship
2020 Deadline: July 31
The Perecman [law] Firm sponsors the Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship, which recently increased to an award of $5,000. The scholarship is named for the 14-year old boy with autism who wandered away from school in 2013 and was tragically killed. It is open to any student living with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, or to a student whose loved one is on the Autism Spectrum. All applicants must be enrolled in, or accepted to, an accredited college, university, or vocational school for Fall 2020. The winner will be chosen based on a 500 to 1,000-word essay on an assigned topic.
BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship
$10,000 (U.S. Residents)
2020 Deadline: October 14
BMO Capital Markets and Lime Connect have teamed up to offer current undergraduate and graduate students with a visible or invisible disability this very generous scholarship. $10,000 (or $5,000 for Canadians) is available to current college or university students who are pursuing degrees in:
- business or commerce
- computer science
- or a related subject
The application process includes submission of a current resume, university transcripts, an essay, and one letter of reference.
Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. Disability Scholarship Program
2020 Deadline: October 1
Sponsored by the Michigan-based law firm Buckfire & Buckfire, the Disability Scholarship Program is an award of $1,000. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens, currently attending an accredited college or university, and have a documented disability. An application and a one-page essay describing how the applicant has overcome a challenge are required.
CAPED Excellence Scholarship
2020 Deadline: August 16
The California Association for Post-Secondary Education and Disability (CAPED) sponsors a variety of scholarships each year, one of which is the CAPED Excellence Scholarship. This $1,500 scholarship is awarded to a current college student who has a documented disability, demonstrates high academic achievement, and is active in his or her community and/or college campus. To be eligible, applicants must be currently enrolled in a college or university in the state of California, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and have a verifiable disability, which can include autism.
Dan Archwamety Scholarship
2020 Deadline: February 4
Named for the sophomore in college who died in 1997 in a bicycle/truck accident, the Dan Archwamety Scholarship is a $500 award that a student on the autism spectrum may use to fund their education at an accredited post-secondary institution.
Feldman Law Firm Autism Scholarship
2020 Deadline: February 21
Each year, the Arizona-based Feldman Law Firm Autism Scholarship offers its Autism Scholarship to students who have been diagnosed with autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Applicants must be enrolled or planning to enroll in a college or vocational program. The $1,000 award is meant to help ease the financial burden of tuition. The application process includes an online questionnaire, a short statement, and an optional 700-word essay.
Google Lime Scholarship
2020 Deadline: December 5
Google and Lime Connect have teamed up to offer the Google Lime Scholarship to computer science students with disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. To be eligible, students should be a current undergraduate, graduate, or Ph.D. student enrolled in a college or university in the U.S. or Canada. Winners will be chosen based on:
- academic background
- four essays that exhibit a passion for computer science
- one letter of recommendation
In addition to the monetary award, winners of the Google Lime Scholarship will be invited to attend the Google Scholars’ Retreat at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California.
2020 Deadline: April 1
Incight is a non-profit which aims to empower people with disabilities through education, employment, and independence. It sponsors around 100 scholarships each year. Students with a documented disability, including autism, and who live in California, Oregon, or Washington are eligible. Applicants must also be currently enrolled in a post-secondary institution. The application consists of basic information, plus two essay questions which can either be written or submitted as a 1-3 minute video.
Joseph James Morelli Legacy Foundation Scholarships
2020 Deadline: March 13
To honor the life and spirit of Joseph James Morelli, the legacy foundation in his name offers a variety of scholarships to students struggling with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and/or dyscalculia. To be eligible for a scholarship — which ranges from $500 to $2,500 — applicants must provide documentation of a learning challenge, and be a current high school or college student pursuing a degree in a STEM field. Winners will be chosen based on:
- an online application
- a letter of recommendation
- an official academic transcript.
KFM Making a Difference Autism Scholarship
2020 Deadline: April 27
Named for Kerry Magro, the founder of KFM Making a Difference, this program offers multiple scholarships three times per year. To be eligible, applicants must be on the Autism Spectrum and enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution. The application process includes a questionnaire and two essays, and submission of a resume and cover letter.
Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship
2020 Deadline: May 4
Sponsored by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), the Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship is a $3,000 award for students with an autism diagnosis. This particular scholarship is specifically for students enrolled in a vocational, technical, or trade school, or a life skills program.
P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship
Up to $1,000
2020 Deadline: March 31
Named for an artist who struggled with dyslexia throughout her school years, the P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship is open to students who have a language-related learning disability, which can include autism. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate an interest in the arts. Successful applicants will submit:
- a short nomination letter
- high school transcript
- evidence of financial need
- two letters of recommendation
- a sample of their portfolio
- three short essay responses.
Schwallie Family Scholarship
2020 Deadline: May 4
Like the Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship, the Schwallie Family Scholarship is sponsored by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). The $3,000 award is for students on the autism spectrum, including those with Asperger Syndrome, who are attending or planning to attend a 2- or 4-year university.
The Tommy Tranchin Award
Up to $1,500
2020 Deadline: March 27
Organized by The Dallas Foundation, The Tommy Tranchin Award is intended to support students “with physical, emotional, or intellectual disabilities who have shown promise or passion in a chosen field of interest.” Unlike most other scholarships, which are meant to help offset the cost of a college education, The Tommy Tranchin Award aims to help a student participate in an activity they’re are interested in. To be eligible, applicants should be between the 8th grade and a senior in high school, and live in north Texas.
Varghese Summersett PLLC Autism Scholarship
2020 Deadline: April 1
The Texas-based law firm Verghese Summersett offers its Autism Scholarship “to honor a deserving autistic child who is in need of financial aid towards his or her educational or recreational opportunities.” The $500 award may be used to offset educational expenses, or for tutoring, a camp, or other tools that will enable the applicant to live a full and happy life. The application process includes submission of:
- a letter or video
- at least one letter of recommendation
- a photo.
The Zach Paulsen Memorial Scholarship for Students With Autism Disorders
2020 Deadline: March 15
The Zach Paulsen Memorial Scholarship is an annual $500 scholarship sponsored by the Autism Society of Iowa Chapter. It’s open to students on the Autism Spectrum who are currently residing in the state of Iowa, and who are interested in:
- Automotive Technology
- Collision Refinishing
- Diesel Technology
- Marine Technology
- Motorcycle Technology
Award winners may use the scholarship to help fund their accredited, post-secondary education or vocational program.