In 2022, one out of every 44 children in the US is identified with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the country. And students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can experience social, academic, cognitive, and even physical challenges. These concerns can make the transition to college life much more difficult. But more students diagnosed with autism pursuing college than ever before.
Public awareness of neurodivergence has also grown over the past decade. As a result, more organizations are sponsoring college scholarships for students with autism and ASD. We’ve compiled a list of the top college scholarships available for students with autism. Individuals with ASD already deal with many daily life challenges. But these generous scholarships can at least help students with autism overcome some of the financial hurdles of pursuing a higher education.
TOP SCHOLARSHIPS FOR AUTISTIC STUDENTS
|#1||Zach Paulsen Memorial Scholarship|
|#2||General Scholarship for an Iowa Student on the Autism Spectrum|
|#3||Sue Baker Memorial Scholarship|
|#4||Robert and Clarice Burkgren Honorable Scholarship|
|#6||Buckfire & Buckfire Disability Scholarship Program|
|#7||Daniel and Lois Gray Memorial Scholarship|
|#8||Adults With Autism Scholarship|
|#9||Autism Teacher Certification Scholarship|
|#10||NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship|
|#11||Kerry Magro Making A Difference Scholarship|
|#12||AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability|
|#13||Schwallie Family Scholarship:|
|#14||Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship:|
|#15||Synchrony Scholarship for Autistic Students of Color:|
|#16||Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin Scholarship|
|#17||P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship|
|#18||Shenandoah Valley Autism Partnership Scholarship|
|#19||Will Rogers Memorial Scholarship Fund|
|#20||The Lime Connect Pathways Scholarships|
|#21||Google Lime Scholarship|
|#22||Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship|
|#23||The Anne Ford Scholarship|
Deadline: March 15th
Each year, the AS Iowa Chapter administers four autism scholarships to Iowa students with autism or ASD. They include:
Zach Paulsen Scholarship
A scholarship is for Iowa students planning to pursue a trade-school education. Eligible categories include Automotive Technology, Construction, Welding, and more.
General Scholarship for an Iowa Student on the Autism Spectrum
A scholarship is for an Iowa student with ASD. Funds go toward attending a post-secondary school.
Sue Baker Scholarship
A scholarship for an Iowa student who plans to work in the field of autism upon completion of their higher education.
Robert and Clarice Burkgren Honorable Scholarship
This is for an Iowa graduate student in a field of study related to autism spectrum disorders
All four scholarships award students $500 toward their education. To qualify, candidates must complete the steps shown on the college scholarship application.
Autism Society of Iowa
Attn: Kris Steinmetz
P.O. Box 65311
West Des Moines, IA 50265
Deadline: April 15th
INCIGHT is the next organization for scholarships for autistic students. However, it is not limited to students with autism. It is also open to students with any type of disability. Candidates must be residents of Washington, Oregon, or California to apply.
INCIGHT is a nonprofit organization with a mission to ”unlock the potential of people through employment, education and independence.” The program is open to undergraduate, graduate, or trade school students. However, preference is given to those with an outstanding track record of community service and overcoming personal obstacles.
Students must be attending their institution during the funding cycle following their application. Grades are considered but are not a deciding factor in who wins the award. Funds are distributed directly to the school in the Fall and Winter terms.
To be considered, students must complete the online form when it opens for applications.
P.O. Box 82056
Portland, OR 97282
Deadline: October 1st
The Michigan Law firm of Buckfire & Buckfire awards our next autism scholarship. The program provides financial assistance for current college students with disabilities or injuries.
The selection committee chooses one student each year for the $1,000 scholarship. It is open to students with any type of disability. To apply, students must complete the following:
- Submit the online scholarship application form on the home page
- One-page typed essay on the assigned topic
- Transcripts from your current accredited college or university. They must include your most recent semester.
- Diagnosis or documentation of your disability
Buckfire & Buckfire Disability Scholarship Program
29000 Inkster Road Suite 150
Southfield, MI 48034
Deadline: April 29th
Autism Delaware offers several annual scholarships for students pursing post secondary education. They are specifically for college students residing in Delaware and include:
Daniel and Lois Gray Scholarship
A scholarship for University of Delaware students. Applicants must be enrolled in a degree program that will lead to an autism-related career in the state.
Adults With Autism Scholarship
This scholarship is for Delaware adults with ASD. It is specifically for those who are pursuing college or another post-secondary education program.
Autism Teacher Certification Scholarship
A scholarship is for teachers in Delaware. It is specifically for those who are pursuing an autism certification.
The award for each of these scholarships is generally $1,000. Students interested in applying will need to follow the step laid out on each scholarship instruction page. The documents are then sent via email.
Autism Delaware Scholarships
924 Old Harmony Road
Newark, Delaware 19713
302-224-6020 ext. 208
Deadline: May 19th
The next scholarship is offered through NBCUniversal and the AAPD. The Tony Coelho Media Scholarship is for students who identify as having a disability. This includes those students on the autism spectrum. The scholarship is open to current or incoming undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities. And it is specifically for those pursuing degrees in entertainment, media, or communications.
Awards may vary, but in 2022, the amount was $5,625 to each winner. There were eight students chosen in all. Candidates must be attending an accredited U.S. College or University. Or they must be planning to attend during the semester they are applying for the scholarship. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to qualify. Applicants must complete the online application and submit the following information:
- Unofficial transcript from your current school
- Three 300-word essays on the topics provided
- Letter of recommendation
- Optional portfolio of creative work
Preference is given to students with demonstrated leadership characteristics. Involvement with the disability community and engagement in the media industry is helpful. Success in coursework is also considered.
NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. Mailbox 263
Washington DC 20006
Deadline: April 24th
Kerry Magro is a young man on the autism spectrum who started a scholarship program to help others like him. The KFM Making a Difference scholarship is open to all autistic high school students planning to attend college anywhere in the world. Winners receive a $500 scholarship to help pay for their post-secondary education.
There are several requirements for applying. So students should read the directions carefully. Candidates should submit the online application form that includes the following:
- Short Bio
- Proof of the college you are accepted in or attending
- Autism diagnosis
- Letter of Reference
The essays are posted online and shared on social media. Winners are chosen in part on the amount of interest shown regarding their essay. So candidates are encouraged to share their essays.
KFM Making A Difference For Autism Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) offers this next scholarship. It is an annual award for students with a disability. Students must be at least enrolled at the sophomore level at an accredited post secondary institution. And they must be pursuing studies related to health and disability. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply. However, applicants who have yet to graduate from high school are not eligible. Preference will be given to students who:
- Are majoring in public health, disability studies, health promotion, or a related field
- Have a strong history of community service and/or volunteer activities
Applicant must have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. And they will need to provide documentation to verify this. The awards are generally under $1,000. The number of students eligible can vary each year. The requirements include the following:
- Completed online application
- Personal statement
- Two letters of recommendation
- Official or unofficial copy of most recent college transcript
AAHD Scholarship Committee
American Association on Health and Disability
110 N. Washington Street, Suite 407
Rockville, MD 20850
Deadline: May 2nd
The next scholarships are through the Organization for Autism Research (Oar). The Organization for Autism Research provides annual scholarship opportunities for students with autism. Each award is $3,000 and is designed for students with an official diagnosis. Students can only apply to one of the Autism Research Oar programs. They include:
Schwallie Family Scholarship
The Schwallie Family Scholarship is for autistic students attending a two- or four-year undergraduate program.
Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship
The Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship is for autistic students attending two-year community colleges or vocational programs.
Synchrony Scholarship for Autistic Students of Color
A scholarship for autistic students who belong to an underrepresented racial or ethnic minority group.
To qualify for the scholarships, students must complete the step-by-step instructions for each one.
Organization for Autism Research Scholarships
2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 401
Arlington, VA 22201
Deadline: April 15
The Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin awards a $1,000 college scholarship each year. To be eligible, you must be a resident of one of the following Wisconsin counties:
All candidates must have a diagnosis that falls within the Autism spectrum. And they must be attending or planning to attend an accredited post secondary school. This can be a traditional four-year university, a two-year community college, or a trade school.
To apply, students must fill out the online application form. Applicants must also provide two letters of recommendation and their most recent transcripts. All applicants will be informed by June 1st of a decision. And payments will be made directly to the student’s school.
Autism Society of South Central Wisconsin
437 S Yellowstone Drive, Suite 217A
Madison, WI 53719
Deadline: March 31st
The P. Buckley Moss Endowed Scholarship grants at least $1,500 annually to one or more students planning to study visual arts. Applicants must have a verified language-related learning difference to be eligible. They must also provide the following:
- Completed Scholarship Application Form
- High school transcript
- Two letters of recommendation
- Financial Need Verification
- Printed portfolio consisting of 4 to 6 photos of visual art projects
- Essay responses to specific questions
- Copy of the acceptance letter from the institution
For this scholarship, visual arts is defined as a specific type of art that is visual in nature. This includes painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, ceramics, etc.
P Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education
74 Poplar Grove Lane
Mathews, VA 23109
Deadline: January 31st
The Shenandoah Valley Autism Partnership is the next scholarship provider on our list. The awards are up to $500 per year to assist autistic students with the following resources:
- Sensory Equipment
- Assistive Technology
- Personal/Professional Development
To apply, candidates must fill out the online scholarship request form. This financial support is for individuals on the autism spectrum in select counties in Virginia.
P.O. Box 2714
Post Office location: 3811 S Main St.
Harrisonburg, VA 22801-9998
Deadline: February 1st and April 1st
The next scholarship for autistic students is offered through the University of Texas at Austin. Each year, the Will Rogers Scholarship Fund awards scholarships from $250 to $1,500. Both disabled and non-disabled students are eligible to apply.
Preference will be given to students facing mental hardships caused by lack of opportunity and other factors. However, it is also available to students pursuing careers that support those with disabilities.
To apply, students will also need to fill out the FAFSA form. In some cases, they will need to prove financial need. To apply, students must complete the online scholarship form and either mail or email it by the deadline. It can be downloaded as a PDF on the scholarship page. For incoming freshmen, the deadline is February 1st. However, Transfer applicants and continuing UT Austin students have until April 1st.
Will Rogers Scholarship Fund
Texas One Stop
The University of Texas at Austin
MAI 1 (Ground Floor of UT Tower)
101 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-1712
The Lime Network is an organization exclusively for college students with a disability. They provide resources to help disabled students reach their full professional and personal potential. Each year, the Lime Network awards Lime Connect Pathways Scholarships. And they also partner with Google for the Google Lime Scholarship. These scholarships for students with autism are some of the most popular on our list.
Lime Connect Pathways Scholarships
These college scholarships are for high school seniors pursuing a degree at a four-year college in the U.S. or Canada. Each award is for $1,000. They are merit-based college scholarships. However, financial need is also considered for these autism scholarships.
Google Lime Scholarship
The Google Lime Scholarship supports high school students with disabilities pursuing computer science degrees. The award for this scholarship is $10,000 for U.S. students and $5,000 for Canadian students.
To apply for either scholarship program, students must create a free account on the Lime Network.
590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor
New York, New York 10022
Deadline: April 5th
The NCLD offers two annual college scholarships for students with learning disabilities. One of the autism scholarships is for students attending a two-year program. The other is for those attending four-year degree programs. To be eligible, students must have ADHD or a documented learning disability.
Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship
This is a $5,000 college scholarship awarded over two years. It is for graduating high school seniors who will be attending a two-year program. This could be a program at a community college, trade school, or technical school. Students will need to complete the online application form to be eligible.
The Anne Ford Scholarship
The Anne For Scholarship is a $10,000 scholarship awarded over four years. This one is for a graduating high school senior enrolling in a full-time four-year degree program in the fall. The school must be an accredited college or university in the U.S. Students must complete the online application form to be eligible.
National Center for Learning Disabilities
1220 L Street, NW Ste. 100 Box 168
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (301) 966-2234
You may also like: 25 Great Scholarships for Students with Learning Disabilities
Is There Such a Thing as Free College for Autistic Students?
Like all students with disabilities, students with ASU can take advantage of Federal Financial Aid. Plus, they are eligible for all the scholarships and grants available for students without a disability. So be sure to also check out traditional scholarship opportunities. Students with ASD are eligible for more than just scholarships for autism.
See Also: 25 Full Tuition Scholarships
What About Scholarships for Aspergers?
Asperger syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). So all of the scholarships for autism on our list could also be considered Asperger’s scholarships. Socializing and other activities can be highly stressful for students with Asperger syndrome. However, many colleges have support groups in place for students with a diagnosis of ASD.
Autism college scholarships are not the only way students can be supported when pursuing a college degree. There are many resources available specifically for autistic students transitioning to college life. This list can help get you started:
- College Autism Network
- Autism Society
- College Living Experience
- Financial Aid for Students With Disabilities
- College Autism Spectrum
Closing Thoughts on the Best Scholarships for Students With Autism
Thanks to rising tuition costs nationwide, paying for college is rarely simple. And navigating the complex financial aid process can be challenging. This can be especially true for students diagnosed with autism. But every individual has a right to reach their full potential. Whether you have Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or PDD-NOS, there is help available. These excellent college scholarships for students on the autism spectrum can be helpful for learners just like you.