School isn’t a breeze for everyone. If you are someone living with ADHD, you probably know that first hand. But an ADHD diagnosis is not the end of the story – far from it, in fact! You deserve to be celebrated for your educational successes! Below you will find 20 of the best academic scholarships for students with ADHD. 

In 2018, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) recorded over 7 million students who were receiving special education services for learning disabilities. Put another way, learning disabilities affect over 14% of young students in the United States

In its most basic definition, a learning disability is a neurological disorder that makes it difficult for individuals to process problems. Typically, learning disabilities interfere with the essentials of learning – writing, reading, math, critical thinking, attention span, etc. 

There are many types of learning disabilities. You’re probably familiar with dyslexia, a condition that makes it difficult to read. Other common learning disabilities are dyscalculia (difficulty with mathematical equations) and dysgraphia (difficulty with spelling and writing). 

But one of the most common learning disabilities among young students today is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Students with ADHD can have a hard time focusing in the classroom, which can have a ripple effect on their educational journey. 

Let’s get one thing straight before we continue: learning disabilities (and ADHD, more specifically) have zero bearing on intelligence or the desire to learn. In fact, folks with learning disabilities are considered across-the-board to be of average or above-average intelligence. Their brains are just designed differently than their peers’! 

Lucky for you, there are key ways to make life easier on yourself if you’re struggling with ADHD – academic scholarships are a great place to start. 

What Are the 20 Best Scholarships for Students with ADHD?

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If you’re ready to see your learning disability as an asset rather than a hurdle, you’ve come to the right place! Below, we’ve outlined 20 of the best scholarships for students with ADHD. That’s right, your learning disability can open the door to a network of academic resources and financial support! 

You’ll find that all 20 of the scholarships are different; they differ in monetary amount, application requirements, financial need specifications, academic performance, and more. With that said, they all share the same purpose: to help you succeed in your educational journey! 

If you’ve gone through most of your life thinking ADHD is the factor keeping you from your goals, then this is the time to reverse course. An academic scholarship can be the boost you’ve needed to take hold of your future. 

FAQ

There’s a lot to consider before applying for an academic scholarship. How much financial support do I need? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What are my educational goals? What kind of documentation for my ADHD do I need? What are my chances of getting a scholarship? 

Don’t worry! We’ve got answers to all your questions. Before you jump into the scholarship deep end, here’s a quick FAQ overview for you to get a sense of the process. 

What Is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects your ability to pay attention or focus and limits your control of impulsive behavior. It is typically diagnosed at childhood, however, there are many cases of late diagnoses among adults. 

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in the United States. In fact, the CDC reported that about 6.1 million (or 9.4%) of young people between ages two and 17 have ADHD. It tends to affect boys slightly more than girls (by a 3:1 ratio). The symptoms of ADHD vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms, however, include: 

  • Daydreaming
  • Over-talking
  • Fidgeting
  • Interpersonal difficulties
  • Impulsiveness or risky behavior
  • Forgetfulness

ADHD is not a condition that a child simply “grows out of” by the time they are an adult; however, it can be treated with medication and behavioral strategies, especially if it is diagnosed early. 

In popular culture and everyday discourse, ADHD has become a common scapegoat or easy joke for hyperactivity. For folks with an ADHD diagnosis, however, the symptoms can be a huge challenge when it comes to the classroom, workplace, or relationships. In particular, students with ADHD must often seek out additional resources and assistance to find success in the classroom. 

Is ADHD Considered a Learning Disability? 

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Even though folks with ADHD know that it affects virtually every aspect of their lives in some way, the rest of the world is still undecided on whether or not to classify ADHD as a learning disability. 

This is a big factor to consider as you look for academic scholarships. Some schools make it clear that ADHD is included in its list of learning disabilities; others go so far as to explicitly exclude students with ADHD from scholarship eligibility. 

Don’t let the semantics or politics of learning disabilities keep you from a scholarship, though. Bear in mind that ADHD is labeled as a learning disability and protected against discrimination under two official voices of authority: 

  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990

If you read the fine print, the ADA law clearly states: “Disability means, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. 28 C.F.R. § 35.104; 29 U.S.C. § 794(b)(1)(A).”

Another interesting dynamic at play is the close connection between ADHD and other learning disabilities. Research shows that 30-50% of students who are diagnosed with ADHD also have another more specific learning disability

If you’re someone who has been diagnosed only with ADHD but continues to struggle in school, then it might be time to have a conversation with your doctor. It could be that you have another learning disability that has gone undiagnosed. Regardless, just make sure that ADHD is acknowledged as a learning disability by your specific scholarship before applying

How Do I Apply for a Scholarship? 

Now to address the elephant in the room: the application! The application process can definitely be daunting. The requirements vary, but some can get quite involved. Before you get lost in a mess of forms, let us help you get organized! 

The secret to assembling a winning application is . . . in reading the fine print. Of course, this can be a hard task for someone with ADHD. If that’s the case for you, enlist a parent, teacher, or trusted friend to help guide you through the process. The worst thing that could happen is that you miss out on a scholarship because of a silly mistake or forgotten form. 

You’ve probably noticed from looking through the scholarship options that most of the application packets ask for the same core elements: 

  • General application form
  • Academic transcripts (high school or college depending on your age)
  • Documentation / proof of learning disability or ADHD
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Documentation of financial need
  • A short personal essay

Out of all of these requirements, the most important one, and perhaps the scariest one for you, is the personal essay. This is your chance to shine! Rather than bland financial information and objective letter grades, a personal essay paints a more accurate picture of who you are as a person. 

Some scholarship applications have a specific prompt for the personal essay, but if you’re drawing a blank on how to get started, try answering some of these questions: 

  • How has ADHD affected your academic journey (in good or bad ways)? 
  • How would this scholarship help you achieve your future career goals?
  • In what ways have you engaged with your academics or community?  
  • What are your academic, career, and personal goals? 

In the spirit of reading the fine print, make sure your essay is free of errors. Spell check is your friend! Even better, have someone else read over your essay and offer suggestions or revisions. The personal essay requirement might feel like the biggest hurdle of your application, but once you get started, you’ll likely find that you have lots to say about how ADHD has impacted your life. 

How Will I Use the Scholarship Money? 

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In addition to the honor of being selected for a scholarship, the “main event” of an academic scholarship is the monetary award. These financial gifts range from $500 to sometimes $40,000.  

No matter the amount, it is important to be informed of the details behind the money. Are there expectations for how you will spend it? Will the check be made out to your academic institution or directly to you? Is the scholarship tax exempt? 

If your scholarship money is going directly to your higher education institution, it will most likely apply to your tuition. Some, however, are given purely as gifts to help you along the way. You could use it on books or a tutor, or simply to pay rent! Just make sure you know exactly what is expected before applying. Again, read the fine print! 

Beyond the financial boost, you should view an academic scholarship as a personal victory. A diagnosis of ADHD is not the end of the road for your academic journey. Earning a scholarship could, in fact, reveal that your journey is just beginning! 

Accredited Online Colleges uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online Colleges considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. For more information, see our Methodology page.

20 Best Scholarships for Students with ADHD

1. Disability Care Center Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents DisabilityCareCenterScholarship
  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: August 1
  • Website 
  • Contact: Contact@disabilitycarecenter.org

The Disability Care Center is a nationwide organization that advocates for Americans with disabilities through Social Security applications, networking, and financial support. The Disability Care Center Scholarship is a $500 award for students who live with a mental, learning, or physical disability. 

This particular scholarship hinges on your ability to communicate the impact of your ADHD diagnosis in a written essay that is 500-1,500 words. How has ADHD affected your education? What is an obstacle that you have needed to overcome because of it? What are your hopes for the future? In addition to the essay, here’s what you’ll need to include in your scholarship application:

  • Completed application form
  • Statement of diagnosis from your physician
  • Proof of college enrollment 

2. AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability  

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents AAHD FrederickJ.KrauseScholarshiponHealthandDisability
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: November 15
  • Website 
  • Contact: scholarship@aahd.us

The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) offers an annual award of $1,000 through the Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability. This scholarship is intended for a full-time undergraduate student – at sophomore status or beyond – who both has a disability, as defined by the ADA, and is pursuing a major related to health and disability. If you count yourself in these three requirements, you qualify! 

The application requirements include a number of steps. First, you need to sign off on possibly being included in AAHD scholarship materials and publication if you win. If that’s okay with you, here’s what to include in your application:

  • Two-page personal essay
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • College transcripts
  • Documentation of disability

3. Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Award

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents LearningAlly
  • Amount: $2,000-$6,000
  • Deadline: November 30
  • Website 
  • Contact: naa@LearningAlly.org

The Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Award, offered through Learning Ally, ups the ante in terms of financial support. This scholarship grants $6,000 to the top three winners and $2,000 to an additional three “special honors” winners. Learning Ally is at the forefront of disability research and classroom behavior. 

This award is specifically aimed at high school senior Learning Ally members with a learning disability. The scholarship goes toward continuing their educational success in college. The following requirements are needed in your application: 

  • Personal narrative in essay or visual form
  • List of honors, awards, and volunteer experiences
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Official high school transcript 

4. Google Lime Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents Lime
  • Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: December 5
  • Website 
  • Contact: Alissa Brower-Severini – (212) 521-4469

The Google Lime Scholarship is life-changing. It offers a $10,000 award to a deserving student with a visible or nonvisible disability who is currently pursuing a degree in a technical field (e.g. computer science or software engineering). In addition to the monetary award, the winner of this scholarship will attend the Google Scholars’ Retreat in California and be considered for an internship at Google. 

Understandably, the application process for this competitive and generous scholarship is quite involved. Applicants must: 

  • Include a current resume and transcripts
  • Demonstrate academic excellence
  • Write four essays about their disability and computer science
  • Provide one letter of recommendation

5. Microsoft disAbility Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents MicrosoftdisABILITYScholarship
  • Amount: $20,000 ($5,000 per year)
  • Deadline: March 1
  • Website 
  • Contact: scholarships@seattlefoundation.org

High school students with a passion for technology, take note! The Microsoft disAbility Scholarship could be your ticket to a successful career in the industry. This $20,000 award gives high school seniors with disabilities the chance to plan for the future. The award is granted over the span of your four-year college career at $5,000 per year. 

In order to qualify, you need to show your academic record (minimum GPA of 3.0) and financial need (FAFSA qualified). Additionally, you’ll include the following in your application: 

  • Three essays about technology, Microsoft, and financial need
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Full-time acceptance to a college or university
  • Declaration of intended major

6. Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents AllegraFordThomasScholarship
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: March 2020
  • Website 
  • Contact: AFScholarship@ncld.org

One of two major student scholarships delivered by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship offers $5,000 to a deserving high school senior with a documented learning disability and/or ADHD. The $5,000 award is divided into two $2,500 payments over two years. 

The financial award is slightly lower than the Anne Ford Scholarship because this one is specifically intended for students headed to a two-year vocational program or community college. In order to apply, students must demonstrate and document the following requirements: 

  • Plans to attend a two-year community college
  • Financial need
  • Proof of learning disability and/or ADHD
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship

7. Anne Ford Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents AnneFordScholarship

Another stand-out scholarship from the National Center for Learning Disabilities is the Anne Ford Scholarship, which delivers $10,000 to a high school graduate heading to a four-year college or university. The money is delivered in $5,000 segments over two years. 

Besides the monetary and college difference, the Allegra Ford and Anne Ford scholarships differ in that this one requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 on high school transcripts. As you’re putting together your application, make sure to include:

  • High school transcripts 
  • Proof of learning disability and/or ADHD 
  • Explanation of community involvement and self-advocacy 
  • Demonstration of financial need

8. P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents P.BuckleyMossEndowedScholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: March 31
  • Website 
  • Contact: foundation@mossfoundation.org

The P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship is a unique award that is set aside for a high school graduate who has a language-related learning disability and a passion for visual arts. This $1,000 award is contingent on the student being enrolled in at least one art class per semester. 

There is one important thing to keep in mind: in order to be an applicant for this scholarship, you must be nominated by a member of the P. Buckley Moss Society. You can get in touch with a member to suggest your nomination. Your application will blend together your personal, academic, and visual abilities, including:

  • Proof of financial need
  • High school transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Portfolio of your artwork
  • Personal essay

9. Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents FredJ.EpsteinYouthAchievementAward
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: February 15
  • Website 
  • Contact: alison@smartkidswithld.org

This scholarship is funded by Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, a nationwide organization that provides resources and support for young adults with learning disabilities and ADHD. Each year, the organization recognizes learners who go above and beyond through the Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award. Similar to other scholarships, this award requires applicants to be nominated (though you can formally recruit a nominator). 

Students are given a $1,000 financial award as well as recognition at the annual spring gala. In order to qualify for this achievement award, you’ll need to provide the following information: 

  • Nominator’s name and information
  • Proof of your learning disability or ADHD
  • Personal statement or essay
  • A recent photo

10. Ralph G. Norman Scholarship 

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents RalphG.NormanScholarship
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: March 30
  • Website 
  • Contact: info@ldarkansas.org (Note: this is the email address of the Scholarship Chair)

The Ralph G. Norman Scholarship is specific to students living in Arkansas. Sponsored by the Arkansas chapter of the Learning Disabilities Association, this award is given annually to a post-secondary student with a documented learning disability who is attending a four-year, two-year, or vocational college. 

Scholarship-winning students will receive $2,500 to use toward their education. The financial award is divided into separate payments of $1,250 per term. Out of ten finalists, three will be chosen each year. The main requirements for your application include:

  • Application form
  • Documentation of your disability
  • Personal essay of 1,000 words or less
  • High school transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation 

11. Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa Scholarship

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  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: March 30
  • Website
  • Contact: Shirley Sinnott  – sas7074@gmail.com

The Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa Scholarship narrows down the applicant pool significantly. The Iowa chapter of the Learning Disabilities Association offers high school seniors living in Indianola, Iowa, the chance to receive a $1,000 scholarship. The intent is to help a graduating senior with a learning disability succeed in higher education. 

The money will come directly to you, the student, first as a $250 check and then as a sum of $750 once you complete your first year of college. Here’s what the panel of judges are looking for in your application: 

  • A current IEP (documentation of your learning disability)
  • Personal essay describing community involvement
  • One letter of recommendation
  • High school transcript

12. IU Bloomington Scholarships

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents IUBloomingtonScholarships
  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: March 2020
  • Website
  • Contact: Teresa Weimann – tweimann@iu.edu

The Office of Disability Services for Students at Indiana University Bloomington is teaming with scholarship resources. Out of the nearly 15 available scholarships, six of them are options for students with ADHD: 

  • Anita F. Boorda Scholarship
  • Class of 1952 Disabled Student Scholarship
  • Estate of Anne Gurecki
  • Homer E. Marsh Student Scholarship
  • Liff Family Foundation Scholarship Fund
  • William H. Morris Scholarship

The monetary values range from $1,000 annual scholarships to four-year funded scholarships. In order to be eligible for any of these scholarships, you need to be a full-time student at IU Bloomington and be registered with the Office of Disability Services. For all of the awards, preference is given to students who are in financial need. 

13. Incight Scholarship

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Since its inception in 2004, the Incight Scholarship has benefited over 850 students with learning disabilities in the Pacific Northwest. This award is specifically for college-enrolled students in Washington, Oregon, or California. The award covers a huge range of learning disabilities, but your disability must be included in the ADA. 

The number of awards granted and the financial amount is at the discretion of the Incight team. However, scholarships are based on financial need. The application process can be fully completed online. In addition to showing documentation of your learning disability and residence, you must complete:

  • Online application form
  • Two personal essays or a video essay 

14. FSU Theodore and Vivian Johnson Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents FSUTheodoreandVivianJohnsonScholarship
  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: April 1
  • Website
  • Contact: Jennifer Mitchell – jmitchell2@fsu.edu

For current students enrolled in the State University System of Florida and living with a learning disability, the Theodore and Vivian Johnson Scholarship can be a lifesaver. The monetary amount off this scholarship varies depending on financial need and availability, but it goes a long way in helping out with educational costs. This scholarship specifically includes ADHD in the list of learning disabilities. 

In order to qualify for this scholarship, you must be a first-time applicant, a Florida resident, and enrolled in at least nine credit hours at FSU. The application requirements include the following: 

  • Enrollment in FAFSA
  • Documentation of your ADHD
  • Willingness to participate in Johnson Scholarship orientation
  • Ability to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0

15. National Scholarship for College Students with Disabilities

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Each year, disABLEDperson, Inc. awards the National Scholarship for College Students with Disabilities. This is a $2,000 scholarship that goes to a student with a disability, as defined by the ADA, who is enrolled in a two- or four-year college university. It is preferred that you attend full-time, but if you are a part-time student because of your disability, that is acceptable. 

This particular scholarship leans heavily on the essay requirement. Applicants will write a 1,000-word essay answering the question, “the Americans with Disability Act was set into law to ensure [the] inclusion of people with disabilities into everyday activities of society – is it working?” Beyond the essay you’ll need to submit the following: 

  • Formal application
  • Documentation of disability
  • Proof of college attendance

16. Wells Fargo Scholarship Program for People with Disabilities

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  • Amount: $2,500 (renewable)
  • Deadline: December 10
  • Website
  • Contact: pwdscholarship@scholarshipamerica.org

The Wells Fargo Scholarship Program for People with Disabilities is a hugely generous award that will support you throughout your entire college career. Winners receive $2,500 per year and can renew the scholarship up to three additional years. If you are a part-time student, you’ll receive $1,250 and can renew the scholarship until you graduate. 

This award is dependent on both your eligibility and your academic performance. You must have an identified disability, a minimum GPA of 3.0 (and be able to maintain it upon receiving the award), and be a high school graduate. Your application package will feature: 

  • Formal application
  • Current high school transcript
  • IRS form documenting financial information
  • Personal essay

17. Bennett A. Brown / Margaret A. Staton Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents BennettA.BrownMargaretA.Staton Scholarship
  • Amount: $10,000-$40,000
  • Deadline: March 20
  • Website
  • Contact: GSU Scholarship Resource Center – (404) 413-1560

Georgia State University sponsors numerous student scholarships through the Margaret A. Staton Access and Accommodations Center. One scholarship in particular, the Bennett A. Brown Scholarship, awards anywhere from $10,000-$40,000 to students with a language-based disability; this is defined as “a learning disability which substantially limits your ability to read, write, or comprehend spoken language.”

Georgia State University is known for its generous financial aid opportunities. In fact, over 92% of students receive some sort of aid. Students interested in the Bennett A. Brown award should submit the following: 

  • Documentation of disability
  • Proof of financial need
  • Formal application

18. Lorraine Nelson Herrick Scholarship in Arts and Sciences

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  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: March 13
  • Website
  • Contact: Disability Services – dsinfo@colorado.edu

For students attending the University of Colorado Boulder, the Lorraine Nelson Herrick Scholarship in Arts and Sciences may be of interest. It is reserved specifically for undergraduate students who are enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, have a demonstrated disability (ADHD included), and who have displayed academic excellence. 

The Lorraine Nelson Herrick Scholarship in Arts and Sciences is just one of many academic scholarships available through CU Boulder. In addition to the general application form, you’ll be asked to provide the following information: 

  • Personal essay
  • Recommendation letters
  • Documentation of disability
  • Official transcripts

19. BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents BMOCapitalMarketsLimeConnectEquityThroughEducationScholarship
  • Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: October 19
  • Website
  • Contact: Alissa Brower-Severini – (212) 521-4469

Delivered through the powerhouse Lime Network, the BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship fulfills a niche role for students with a disability who are interested in banking. At $10,000 available, this is one of the biggest scholarships in terms of monetary value! It is intended to go to a student who is pursuing a degree in business, commerce, computer science, or a related area. 

The Lime Network defines a disability as a visible or nonvisible recurring issue that impacts major activities of daily living. Applicants are also encouraged to apply for a summer internship at BMO Capital Markets. Your application will need to include the following: 

  • Current resume or CV
  • College or university transcripts
  • Personal essay
  • One letter of recommendation 

20. Lime Connect Pathways Scholarship for High School Seniors

EDU AOC Linkbait ScholarshipsforADHDStudents LimeConnectPathwaysScholarshipfor HighSchoolSeniors
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: N/A
  • Website
  • Contact: Alissa Brower-Severini – (212) 521-4469

Another student scholarship delivered through the Lime Network is the Lime Connect Pathways Scholarship for High School Seniors. This is a much smaller award of $1,000, but it nonetheless goes a long way in supporting the futures of students with ADHD and other disabilities. This is a relatively new scholarship, having been unveiled in 2019. 

In order to qualify, you need to be a high school senior with a disability and headed to a four-year college in the fall. This is a merit-based scholarship, though the review board will also consider financial need. Here’s what you’ll include in your application:

  • General application form
  • Resume or CV
  • Personal essay
  • One letter of recommendation