Anyone with hearing loss over the age of 18 should visit the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. They have resources for assistive technology, finding a job, disability determination services, and much more!
Scholarships for the Deaf and those with Hearing Loss
Scholarships for the deaf and hearing impaired are supported by colleges and universities, charitable foundations, private endowments and professional associations. Federal assistance options are also available in many situations.
Restrictions May Apply
Every scholarship program will have its own list of criteria that student applicants will have to meet in order to be considered for an award. Some scholarships target students who have been deaf since birth, while others address the needs of those with severe hearing loss brought about by disease or accident. Many scholarship programs will require that applicants be totally deaf, while others may make provision for students that suffer from a partial hearing loss. Students should read all scholarship applications carefully in regard to definitions of hearing impairment, and requirements for eligibility.
National Scholarships for Deaf Students
Scholarship programs exist for students with every level of hearing loss and, as with all scholarships, requirements and award amounts will vary greatly according to program. The following examples are just a few of the many scholarships available to deaf and hearing impaired college students.
- The Sertoma Scholarship for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing is one of the leading scholarships for the hearing impaired in the United States. The program provides financial assistance to college-bound students with clinically significant bilateral hearing loss. Applicants must be graduating high school seniors, or undergraduates pursuing a four year degree at an accredited college or university. Award amounts vary, and are determined by financial need, academic merit, and degree of hearing loss.
- The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing supports a wide range of educational programs for the hearing impaired, ranging from preschool funding to post-secondary education scholarships. The AG Bell College Scholarship is one of the largest scholarship programs targeting deaf and hard of hearing students. More than $100,000 in scholarship awards are given annually, with individual awards ranging from $1000 to $10,000. Applicants must meet stringent eligibility requirements, including having an un-weighted GPA of 3.25, current enrollment in an accredited mainstream college or university, and a demonstrably profound hearing loss that was diagnosed prior to the student’s fourth birthday. Listening and spoken language must also be the applicant’s primary mode of communication.
- Cochlear, makers of the Nucleus Cochlear Implant, sponsors the Graeme Clark Scholarship. The award is available to college-bound students with a Cochlear Implant. The scholarship provides financial assistance to undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited college or university. Award amounts vary, and are determined by academic achievement, and a demonstrated commitment to community to the Cochlear ideals of leadership and humanity.
Schools for the Deaf
These schools often sponsor their own financial aid programs, as well as administering the more common Federal and state-funded college grants and student loans. Contact the school’s office of financial aid for details on eligibility for available programs. The following are examples of schools dedicated to the deaf community, and the financial aid programs that they offer.
- The Rochester Institute of Technology is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. NTID administers a wide range of scholarships for their attending students, including the Barlow Endowed Scholarship, the Alice Beardsley Memorial Scholarship for Interpreting Students, and the Lillian M. Cowin Memorial Scholarship. Award amounts and eligibility requirements vary greatly according to program, and interested students should contact the NTID’s Office of Financial Aid for details on specific scholarships.
- Gallaudet University is one of the premier colleges dedicated to serving the deaf and hearing impaired community. In addition to participating in the Federal government’s college grant and student loan programs, Gallaudet also offers scholarships of their own to attending students. Chief among Gallaudet’s programs is the President’s Honors Distinction Scholarship which provides full tuition, room and board to eligible students who have been accepted into the college’s Honors Program. Other Gallaudet scholarships include the Provost’s Honors Distinction Scholarship, the Provost’s Excellence Scholarship, and the Dean’s Prestige Scholarship.
- Gallaudet University's Department of Social Work The Federal Department of Education has given the department a $400,000 grant to identify and train school social workers. Recipients will receive half tuition scholarship throughout all four semesters, a stipend per semester, travel assistance to and from area internships, competitive and flexible graduate degree, full support to attend the School Social Work Association of America's annual conference. Contact: Beth G. Betman at Beth.Betman@gallaudet.edu.
Other Sources of Scholarships
Deaf students, and students with a profound hearing loss, may also be eligible for some general, non-specific, scholarships for students with disabilities.
- American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) Scholarship Program awards multiple scholarships each year. Disabled applicants compete for funds by submitting application materials and personal education statements. The scholarships are worth up to $1000 each, and require full-time enrollment at an accredited university. To further AAHD’s goal of increasing health awareness among disabled individuals, applicants majoring in public health, disability studies, disability research and other health-related fields are given priority consideration for scholarship awards.
- ChairScholars Foundation removes barriers for students with physical impairments. Low-income students with disabilities who are pursuing vocational training or post-secondary education are awarded scholarships that pay tuition and expenses. The organization offers three distinct programs: The Florida Scholarship, The National Scholarship and the New York Metropolitan Area Scholarship. Awards for high school seniors and college freshmen provide up to $20,000 each, to help pay for college.
- RISE (Rewarding Individual Success in Education) recognizes students with learning disabilities who have overcome challenges to remain high academic achievers. High school graduates who continue their educational pursuits at colleges and universities are eligible for RISE scholarships. Each $2500 award is applied directly to tuition costs at an accredited school.
**These lists were retrieved from:
Other Helpful Resources
- “Pepnet2 (pn2) recognizes the full range of postsecondary education and training options available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, including those with co-occurring disabilities, and strives to enhance the capacity of those institutions to appropriately serve this diverse student population. Pn2 is a national collaboration of professionals with expertise in a broad array of content areas and a variety of environments, including research, technology, personnel development, media production, and technical assistance. Our mission and the focus of our resources, is to increase the education, career and lifetime choices available to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Our resources include: live, one-on-one assistance in a variety of communication modes, in-person and online training, materials that are downloadable, printable or available as hardcopies.”
- GoGrad.org Graduate school involves taking on a financial burden for almost anyone considering further education; for individuals who also have medical expenses, financing both can feel overwhelming. With so much money on the line, prospective students will be pleased to know there are a number of scholarships catering to their specific needs. GoGrad's online guide provides lists of funding sources, resources for students with visual and hearing impairments, and an expert interview discussing how to excel in graduate school as a student with a disability.