Living with visual impairment can make certain things in life more challenging. But don’t let paying for college be one of those things! There are tons of amazing scholarships for visually impaired students out there  – we’ve included a guide to 30 of the best scholarships below. 

Paying for college is a daunting task. According to U.S. News & World Report, the average tuition cost of the 2019-2020 school year was $23,158. And that’s just for one year, folks. Ouch. Of course, you’ll find a range of tuition costs depending on where you decide to attend. Here’s how the average tuition costs break down:  

  • Public, In-State: $10,116 
  • Public, Out-of-State: $22,557
  • Private: $36,801

Regardless of the price tag, it’s really stressful to plan for that kind of investment. On top of it all, if you’re someone who is visually impaired or legally blind, you’re going to encounter some unique educational hurdles when it comes to navigating college. 

If you or a family member or friend fall into that category, we’ve got good news for you! There are tons of national and state organizations, nonprofits, and private donors who are eager to help through generous academic scholarships. 

What Are the Best Scholarships for Visually Impaired Students? 

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents Introduction

We’ve outlined the best 30 scholarships for visually impaired students below. They are all slightly different, so take your time sorting through them. They range in monetary amounts, residency requirements, major requirements, and more. 

Bottom line? These scholarships are here to help! This resource will help clarify some of the big questions you have about the process of applying for scholarships, and it will hopefully reduce some anxiety about paying for college! 

Don’t let the cost of education get you down. If you’re a student with visual impairment or are legally blind, you’ve likely already had to go above and beyond to get where you are in your educational career. You deserve to be recognized for your hard work. You’re part of the best and brightest bunch out there! 

The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarships for Visually Impaired College Students 

Before you dive into the scholarships themselves, we’re here to answer some crucial questions about the application process – everything from medical documentation to tips on writing your application essay, to the benefits of reading the small print. Carry on! 

Do these scholarships differentiate between legally blind and visually impaired? 

You’ll notice that some scholarships make a point to differentiate between legal blindness and visual impairment. You might wonder, “Is that a hard and fast rule? Do I need to qualify as one or the other? How do I go about finding that out?”

The best way to figure this out is to schedule an appointment with a doctor or ophthalmologist. You’ll be able not only to figure out your visual status but to also get official documentation of your diagnosis. After all, this documentation is required in nearly all application packets. 

If you want a general idea of how legal blindness and visual impairment differ, here’s a quick definition of both: 

  • Legal blindness is defined as visual acuity of less than 20/200 in the better eye with correction, or field restriction to 20 degrees or less in the better eye with correction.
  • Visual impairment (or low vision) is often defined as visual acuity of worse than 20/40 or 20/60 with correction.

Regardless of where you fall within these categories, just make sure to know which scholarships fit your personal situation. 

Can I spend the scholarship money on anything? 

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents Introduction3

The short answer? It depends! But in general, these scholarships are strictly limited to your education. When it comes to the money, here are some key things to figure out beforehand:

  • How much money will I receive? 
  • Will the money be sent to my school or directly to me?
  • Does this money apply to tuition, books, and/or room and board? 
  • Is this scholarship tax-exempt?
  • Will I receive this scholarship in installments or in a lump-sum?
  • Can I reapply for this scholarship annually? 

These are all questions that you have a right to know before you accept a scholarship, and, likely, they are all questions that the sponsoring organization will be happy to answer. We’ve provided contact information for each of the scholarships so you can easily get in touch.  

Are there any strings attached?

Before you officially accept a scholarship – or, even better, before you apply – make sure to fully understand the agreement. Ultimately, that’s what scholarships are – mutual agreements! While scholarships are an amazing financial boost, you want to make sure that you can hold up your end of the deal. 

For example, a number of these scholarships are sponsored by larger national organizations like the American Council of the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, or the United States Association of Blind Athletes. Many of these organizations host annual conferences or conventions, too, and expect that scholarship winners attend

These conventions are a way for organizations to formally recognize your achievement while also promoting themselves. You are essentially a spokesperson for their organization, and your personal experience goes a long way in promoting their mission. So make sure this is something you’re able to do and are comfortable doing. If it is, then you’ve got a win-win situation! 

As another example, some academic scholarships have a minimum GPA requirement. Your scholarship might be contingent on you maintaining that minimum GPA. This is a great incentive for you to keep your academic game strong; for others, however, this added pressure is too high to make the money worth it. 

Ultimately, it is totally up to you! Just make sure you read the fine print and uphold your side of the deal! 

How do I apply for a scholarship? 

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents Introduction2

Last but not least, the application. So you’ve found a scholarship that matches your financial needs and academic qualifications. Now what? 

Once again, the key to putting together a solid application is making sure you read the fine print. If you’re going to spend significant time and energy assembling an application packet, the worst thing you could do is forget to include something! 

Most scholarship websites map out a clear checklist for you. Usually, this includes the following core elements: 

  • Academic transcripts
  • Documentation / proof of legal blindness or visual impairment
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A short essay

Let me guess, that last one gave you pause. An essay!? Don’t worry; it’s easier than you think. The essay is the part of the application that communicates your personality to the scholarship panel of judges – it shows them your strengths, goals, and hopes for the future. In short, the essay is usually what makes you stand out from the pack! 

If you’re floundering on what exactly to write, here are a few prompts to get you started: 

  • How has visual impairment or legal blindness affected your life or academic career? 
  • How would this scholarship help you achieve your goals? 
  • What are your academic, career, and/or personal goals? 

Typically, the personal essay is quite short – around 200-1,000 words. Most likely, once you get started, the hardest thing about the essay will be limiting yourself to the word count! Try to be as specific and sincere as you can. Finally, always remember to use spell check! Now go get ‘em.

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30 Best Scholarships for Visually Impaired Students

1. Al Camp Memorial Scholarship

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents LowVisionScholarships

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: March 1

Website 

Contact: Marj Schneider (marjschneider@bellsouth.net)

Sponsored by the Georgia Council of the Blind, the Al Camp Memorial Scholarship is one of two monetary gifts offered to legally blind students (the other is the GCB Leadership and First Timers Scholarship). This $1,000 scholarship is intended for a resident of Georgia who is legally blind, a student in a post-secondary education setting, and in need of financial aid. 

In addition to a two-page written essay that details the applicant’s educational goals and community involvement, the application packet consists of the following elements:

  • Academic transcripts
  • Certificate of legal blindness
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Financial statement

2. GCB Leadership and First Timers Scholarship

Amount: N/A

Deadline: Rolling deadline

Website

Contact: Marj Schneider (marjschneider@bellsouth.net)

The GCB Leadership and First Timers Scholarship is designed for legally blind or visually impaired students who want to deepen their leadership skills in the community. This scholarship is intended for members of the Georgia Council of the Blind who are 18 years or older who have never attended a GCB conference or convention.  

This scholarship gives students the opportunity to develop valuable leadership skills through workshops, conferences, advocacy trainings, and more. Interested applicants should apply at least one month prior to Georgia-based events and three months prior to national events. The application packet must include:  

  • Previous involvement in GCB chapter
  • Goals for attending events
  • Hopes for future involvement

3. American Council of the Blind Scholarship Program

Amount: $2,000-$7,500

Deadline: February 14

Website

Contact: Nancy Feela ((612) 332-3242)

The American Council of the Blind has a massive scholarship program that encompasses over 15 opportunities for sponsorship. Officially partnered with the American Foundation for the Blind, the two organizations deliver financial scholarships that range from $2,000 to $7,500. The basic parameters for applicant eligibility include proof of legally blind status, a 3.0 GPA, and active participation in their local community. 

Beyond the basic qualifications, the available scholarships range in scope. Some are geared toward students who hope to pursue a degree in disability rehabilitation; others are specifically for undergraduate women who are studying music. Winners of the ACB and AFB scholarships are invited to the National Conference and Convention to network with others and attend sessions. 

4. Arthur E. and Helen Copeland Scholarship

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents USABA

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 31

Website

Contact: Kevin Brousard (kbrousard@usaba.org)

If you’re a visually-impaired student-athlete, you might have an interest in the Arthur E. and Helen Copeland Scholarship. Officially delivered through the United States Association of Blind Athletes, this $500 scholarship is awarded to one male and one female athlete each year. 

Applicants must be legally blind, active members in the USABA and participants in an official event, full-time students, and citizens of the United States. As you put together your application packet, make sure to include the following: 

  • Name of your college/university
  • Short cover letter that covers your biography
  • 300-word essay about your sport and its impact on your life

5. I C You Foundation Valor Achievement Award

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 31

Website 

Contact: Kevin Brousard (kbrousard@usaba.org)

Another USABA-sponsored scholarship for student-athletes is the I C You Foundation Valor Achievement Award. Awarded to one male and one female student-athlete, this scholarship celebrates athleticism and academic success. Student applicants must be legally blind and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher. 

Similar to the Arthur E. and Helen Copeland Scholarship, students who are interested in this award must complete the following in their applications: 

  • Name of your college/university
  • Proof of legal blindness / USABA membership
  • Short cover letter about your personal information
  • 300-word essay about your sport and its impact on your life

6. Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship for Blind Students

Amount: N/A

Deadline: June 30

Website 

Contact: GW Disability Support Services (dss@gwu.edu)

The Barbara Jackman Zuckert Scholarship for Blind Students is delivered through the Disability Support Services at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Therefore, this scholarship is limited to students enrolled at GW. This fund was established in 1985 and has annually assisted visually impaired students with costs related to tuition, books, adaptive equipment, and more. 

One huge perk about this scholarship is that you can reapply on an annual basis. All visually impaired applicants are considered, whether they are attending GW full-time or part-time. The online application process is relatively simple. You will provide: 

  • Basic contact information
  • Academic transcript
  • Short personal and financial statements

7. Barry and Velma Berkey Scholarship Fund

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents BarryandVelmaBerkeyScholarshipFund

Amount: $1,000-$2,500

Deadline: April 30

Website 

Contact: Liz Carter (ecarter1@gmu.edu)

The Barry and Velma Berkey Scholarship Fund is geared toward upper-level (junior or senior) visually impaired students at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. This scholarship was set up in 2010 by Velma Berkey as a way to honor her late husband, Barry. 

Students are not limited to a specific field of study; in fact, the scholarship extends to students majoring in over 15 areas, from Art to Nursing, to Computer Science. Students must complete a significant application essay of 1,000 words and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to apply. 

8. Anne Lowe Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: April 15

Website 

Contact: Kalvin Follett (info@christianrecord.org)

Organized by the Christian Record Services for the Blind, the Anne Lowe Scholarship rewards significant financial aid to legally blind college students who demonstrate academic success and community engagement. Full-time students with a 3.0 GPA from an accredited college or university are welcome to apply. Recipients of the scholarship will receive the financial award in two parts throughout the school year. 

The application process includes numerous steps: an online application, a financial need statement, a doctor’s note indicating legal blindness status, and three letters of recommendation from non-family members. Finally, interested applicants must complete a written essay that covers the following information: 

  • Personal background
  • Academic and personal achievements
  • Educational and future goals 

9. Lighthouse Guild College Bound Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: March 31

Website 

Contact: (800) 284-4422

The New York City-based vision and healthcare organization, Lighthouse Guild, offers up to 17 incoming first-year college students a chance to transition to school without the added stress of financial burden. The scholarships include a $1,000 monetary award. Once you have the money, you can use it wherever you see fit – on books, tuition, room and board, travel, you name it. 

In order to apply, you must be headed to a non-denominational college that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Your application packet will include:

  • School transcripts and SAT scores
  • Proof of legal blindness
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 500-word personal statement 

10. Dale M. Schoettler Scholarship for Visually Impaired Students

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: N/A

Website 

Contact: dprc@sfsu.edu / (415) 338-2472

If you’re looking at colleges on the west coast, consider one of the 23 campuses of California State University. CSU features the Dale M. Schoettler Scholarship for Visually Impaired Students, a hugely generous scholarship that awards 37 students each with $10,000. What’s more, previous winners can continue to apply for the award each school year. 

Dale Schoettler was a blind businessman from California who left $4.8 million to CSU after his death in 2001, hoping to help future visually impaired students pursue academic excellence. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.8 to qualify. The application includes:

  • Proof of visual disability form
  • Personal statement about background and academic goals
  • Application checklist

11. Fred Scheigert Scholarship Program

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents GeorgiaCounciloftheBlindScholarship

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: March 15

Website 

Contact: (844) 460-0625

The Fred Scheigert Scholarship Program sets aside a sizable monetary scholarship for three full-time college students with visual impairment. Each student receives $3,000 to put toward their education. The fund is sponsored by the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International.  

This competitive scholarship not only provides a generous monetary award, but it also secures a spot for you at the annual American Council of the Blind Conference. In order to apply, you’ll need to submit the following: 

  • Academic transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Proof of low vision or legal blindness
  • Telephone interview with CCLVI committee

12. Gladys C. Anderson Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 1

Website 

Contact: Dawn Bodrogi (dbodrogi@afb.net)

Are you a visually impaired female undergraduate with a passion for music? The Gladys C. Anderson Memorial Scholarship was set up specifically for you! Delivered in affiliation with the American Foundation for the Blind, this scholarship rewards women who are studying religious or classical music full-time in school. 

While the major requirement for this scholarship is fixed, applicants are not restricted to specific colleges or universities. Besides the obvious qualifications, the application process looks similar to other scholarships. You’ll need to submit: 

  • Academic transcripts 
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A sample performance tape of your music
  • Proof of legal blindness

13. James C. Basile Scholarship

Amount: $4,000-$7,500

Deadline: January 26

Website 

Contact: Cristina Miranda (cmiranda@vccf.org)

The James C. Basile Scholarship is geographically specific to college-age students in Ventura County, CA. The website also indicates a preference for students in Moorpark or Simi Valley. The scholarship itself is managed by the Ventura County Community Foundation. Each year, scholarships that range from $4,000 to $7,500 are awarded. 

Applicants can qualify in one of two ways: if one or both of their parents were killed or disabled as law enforcement or firefighters, or if the students themselves are physically or visually impaired. The application process includes the following elements: 

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 500- to 700-word personal essay
  • Proof of financial need
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 

14. Joseph Roeder Assistive Technology Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: May 10

Website 

Contact: Kathy Gallagher ((703) 310-0343)

Visually-impaired undergraduates who are interested in business, computer science, or information technology will be excited to learn about the Joseph Roeder Assistive Technology Scholarship. This is a $2,500 scholarship that is awarded annually to a college student in their third or fourth undergraduate year.

The award is sponsored by National Industries for the Blind in honor of Joseph Roeder, who worked there for many years as a technology specialist. In addition to the application, finalists will be subject to a telephone interview. Application requirements include:

  • Proof of legal blindness
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 200- to 500-word personal essay
  • List of adaptive technology you use

15. Juliette RP Vision Foundation College Scholarship

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents JulietteFoundation

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June 15

Website 

Contact: info@juliettefoundation.org

Open to high school seniors across the country, the Juliette RP Vision Foundation College Scholarship is intended to help visually impaired students get a head start in college. The Juliette RP Vision Foundation was established in 2008 by Dr. Robert Melendez in order to research – and ultimately, hopefully, cure –  Retinitis Pigmentosa. 

The scholarship is a way to acknowledge and celebrate the hurdles that young students with visual impairment must overcome in order to succeed. This scholarship includes a requirement for a personal essay of 1,000 words. Applicants must also submit: 

  • Proof of legal blindness
  • Letters of recommendation
  • College GPA and major
  • Proof of U.S. residency

16. Academy of Special Dreams Foundation College Scholarship Fund

Amount: $250-$1000

Deadline: Rolling deadline

Website 

Contact: Jerry J. Ruiz (specialacademy@gmail.com)

Academy of Special Dreams Foundation offers a unique opportunity for college-age students studying art. The College Scholarship Fund offers $250, $500, and $1,000 scholarships to undergraduates with disabilities who are pursuing full-time or part-time study in any area of art. 

The applicants will be judged based on both written and visual submissions, which will be judged according to “creativity, uniqueness, and originality.” Applicants from all over the country are welcome to apply. More specifically, though, here’s what you’ll need to send in: 

  • Artist portfolio (ten images of your work)
  • Artist headshot
  • Artist statement (two pages)
  • Proof of visual impairment / legal blindness

17. Nathaniel R. and Valerie Dumont Scholarship

Amount: $4,000

Deadline: April 8

Website 

Contact: Veronica Popovic (scholarships@csulb.edu)

The Nathaniel R. and Valerie Dumont Scholarship generously gives $4,000 each year to two or three undergraduate students at California State University who have visual or physical impairments. This fund was established in 1993 and has financially benefited students at CSU many times over (another scholarship to check out that is specific to CSU is the Dale M. Schoettler Scholarship for Visually Impaired Students). 

The qualifications for this scholarship include proof of visual impairment and a few more elements, such as: 

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8
  • File with FAFSA or California Dream Act 
  • Full-time attendance at CSU
  • Personal written statement

18. Charles and Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: March 31

Website 

Contact: nfb@nfb.org

Part of the generous suite of National Federation of the Blind Scholarship options, the Charles and Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship devotes $10,000 to an undergraduate student. The scholarship does not designate any specific field of study as a requirement. It was established by Charles Owen as a tribute to his late wife, Melva, who was blind. His goal was to help students in need “attain financial independence.” 

In accordance with the larger National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program, the requirements for this scholarship include: 

  • Proof of legal blindness in both eyes
  • U.S. residency
  • Full-time enrollment at an accredited college or university
  • Ability to attend NFB national convention

19. American Council of the Blind of Ohio Scholarship Program

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents ACBO

Amount: $1,000-$2,000

Deadline: August 1

Website 

Contact: Vicky Prahin (acbo.scholarships@gmail.com)

The Ohio chapter of the American Council of the Blind offers “Buckeye” undergraduates with visual impairment an amazing range of scholarship options. Three general options for Ohio students in any field include:

  • Friends of Freshman Scholarship ($1,000)
  • Max Edelman Scholarship ($2,000)
  • David Newmeyer Scholarship ($2,000)

All scholarship winners are required to attend the American Council of the Blind of Ohio convention, all costs of which are covered for students. In order to qualify for the scholarship, students must submit the following: 

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • 200- to 500-word personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation

20. Nola Webb-McKinney Scholarship Fund

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: August 1

Website 

Contact: Vicky Prahin (acbo.scholarships@gmail.com)

The Nola Webb-McKinney Scholarship Fund is specific to undergraduates studying and living in Ohio. Sponsored by the Ohio chapter of the American Council for the Blind, this scholarship is offered to students who are pursuing a degree in an area related to disability studies, such as in rehabilitation, special education, counseling, or mobility. 

Applicants for this award may be sighted or legally blind. In addition to the specific Ohio residency requirement, applicants for the Nola Webb-McKinney Scholarship Fund must fulfill the following requirements: 

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • 200- to 500-word personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts

21. Paul and Ellen Ruckes Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: February 14

Website 

Contact: Nancy Feela ((612) 332-3242)

Delivered in affiliation with the American Foundation for the Blind, the Paul and Ellen Ruckes Scholarship devotes $2,000 to two lucky students each year. This particular scholarship specifies that the applicants must be full-time students majoring in engineering, computer science, or physical/life sciences. And, of course, qualifying students must be either legally blind or visually impaired. 

Like all AFB awards, this scholarship is highly competitive. Applicants will need to complete an involved application that includes the following: 

  • Three 200-word essay questions
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Proof of legal blindness / visual impairment
  • College transcripts

22. See the Future “Education for Life” Scholarships

Amount: $4,000-$12,000

Deadline: March 1

Website 

Contact: Thomas Theune (twtheune@comcast.net)

Take note, Colorado students! See the Future Fund is a truly amazing resource that has changed the lives of many visually impaired students over the years. The Education for Life program sponsors visually impaired undergraduates for their entire college experience! The options include a $12,000 four-year award, a $10,000 four-year award, an $8,000 four-year award, and three $4,000 two-year awards. 

Since these are such generous scholarships, the application process is a bit more involved. In addition to the written application, finalists will go through a telephone interview process. Here’s the rundown of requirements:

  • Two-page essay (see specific questions on the website)
  • SAT scores and transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Proof of Colorado residency 

23. TAER Outstanding Student of the Year Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: December 18

Website 

Contact: Shannon Darst (txaertreasurer@gmail.com)

The process of applying is a bit different for folks interested in the TAER Outstanding Student of the Year Scholarship. The Texas Association for Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired hands out numerous awards each year. However, each are nomination-based. Fortunately, students are welcome to nominate themselves.

The TAER scholarships each offer $1,000 and are reserved for students who are visually impaired Texas residents. The nomination requirements include: 

  • Letter regarding education goals
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of visual impairment

24. VisionCorps Foundation Red Rose Scholarship

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents VisionCorps

Amount: $3,000-$6,000

Deadline: February 1

Website 

Contact: info@visioncorps.net

The VisionCorps Foundation sponsors numerous scholarships for visually impaired students, but the Red Rose Scholarship stands out among the rest. This is a $3,000 award that is divided into two payments of $1,500 over the span of two years. For students who are attending a four-year college, the scholarship can be renewed to cover the following two years. 

VisionCorps Foundation is based in Pennsylvania, and one of the requirements for scholarship applicants is that they must be PA-based residents. Other requirements for the application include: 

  • Proof of legal blindness / visual impairment
  • Official transcripts or SAT scores
  • Two letters of recommendation 

25. NFB STEM Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: March 31

Website 

Contact: nfb@nfb.org

If you are an undergraduate student interested in science and technology, then you should check out the NFB STEM Scholarship. This one is offered through the NFB Science and Engineering and Computer Science divisions in hopes of giving a visually impaired student the chance to help out their community through STEM. 

Each year, one winning student is awarded $5,000 to go toward their educational expenses. Beyond the specific STEM-major requirement, here are a few more boxes to check off if you’re interested in applying: 

  • Proof of legal blindness in both eyes
  • U.S. residency
  • Full-time student at an accredited college or university
  • Ability to attend NFB national convention

26. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: April 7

Website 

Contact: gilman@iie.org

Are you a world traveler or an aspiring world traveler? Don’t let visual impairment keep you from hopping on a plane. Each year, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program sponsors hundreds of underrepresented undergraduates who want to study abroad. The essay-based scholarship offers up to $5,000 for students who want to experience a deeper education. 

Since this scholarship is unique (and not specific to visually impaired students), the requirements are somewhat different. Students must be: 

  • Attending a two- or four-year college
  • A U.S. citizen
  • Current recipients of a Federal Pell Grant
  • Currently qualified for a study abroad or internship program

27. Chicago Lighthouse Scholarship

Amount: $1,000-$5,000

Deadline: April 1

Website 

Contact: Maureen Reid (Maureen.Reid@chicagolighthouse.org)

The Chicago Lighthouse Scholarship is specifically for visually impaired students who are residents of Illinois or are attending school in Illinois. This scholarship was established in 2004 and has since delivered awards to over 750 students. The funding ranges in value but can be used for any education-related expenses, such as tuition, books, or technology.

In addition to receiving a monetary award, winners of this scholarship must agree to attend the award ceremony to meet their personal donor. Special consideration is given to veteran applicants. The scholarship packet must include: 

  • Personal essay 
  • Financial statement of need
  • Eye report documentation 
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts

28. Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Award

EDU AOC ScholarshipsforVisuallyImpairedStudents MaryP.OenslangerScholarship

Amount: $6,000

Deadline: November 30

Website 

Contact: naa@LearningAlly.org

The Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Award was established in 1991 through Learning Ally to encourage visually impaired college seniors to carry their leadership skills into the world. The top three winners each receive $6,000, and another three special-honor winners each receive $3,000. 

Winners of this scholarship must agree to publically share their story alongside Learning Ally as a speaker at local and national events. The application is notably involved and includes:

  • Personal written narrative 
  • Video recording about Learning Ally’s impact
  • Description of academic awards, extracurriculars, etc.
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Official transcripts

29. Order Sons of Italy in America Gift of Sight Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: March 31

Website 

Contact: nysosia@aol.com / (516) 785-4623

The Order Sons of Italy in America offers a truly niche, but nonetheless important, scholarship opportunity through the Gift of Sight Scholarship. This is a need-based award intended for a high school student in New York who is of Italian descent and has a visual impairment. The $1,000 scholarship goes toward medical costs related to vision. 

In addition to a financial award, the Gift of Sight program also facilitates volunteers to provide housing, medical advice, and food to recipients during their medical procedure. Each application comes with a $10 fee. Applicants must submit the following: 

  • Official transcripts and SAT scores
  • Essay about academic impact and Italian heritage
  • Documentation of medical need 

30. JAWS for Windows Scholarship

Amount: $5,000-$8,000

Deadline: March 31

Website 

Contact: nfb@nfb.org

Sponsored by the National Federation for the Blind, the JAWS of Windows Scholarship attempts to give back to the community. JAWS – that is, Job Access With Speech – is the most ubiquitous screen reader for people with visual impairment. This technology has transformed many lives, especially the lives of visually impaired students working on their education. The JAWS Scholarship awards $5,000 to $8,000 to a student each year. 

The qualifications for this award are similar to others within the National Federation of the Blind scholarship program. Students applying must satisfy the following: 

  • Proof of legal blindness in both eyes
  • Legal residency in the U.S. 
  • Full-time student status at an accredited college or university
  • Ability to attend NFB national convention