Until the end of the 20th century, students with Asperger's syndrome and other forms of autism had limited educational options. Since this time more educational opportunities have opened up in public schools and universities. However, financial aid programs based on their learning disabilities have not mirrored this trajectory. There are, however, a few grants and scholarships (as of 2010) that are awarded on the basis of learning disabilities.
Schwallie Family Scholarship Program
The Schwallie Family Scholarship Program is open to students with autism or Asperger's syndrome who have been admitted to a university, college, or vocational school in the United States. The scholarship consists of a one-time award of $3,000. To apply, students complete an application form on the Organization for Autism Research website, provide documentation of their Asperger's syndrome and their acceptance to a university, provide a letter of recommendation, and write an autobiographical essay of 1,000 words or less.
Organization for Autism Research Attn: Schwallie Family Scholarship 2000 N. 14th Street, Suite 710 Arlington, VA 22201 703-243-9710 researchautism.org
The Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Scholarship Award
Sponsored by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), this scholarship awards $10,000 to a graduating high school senior with a learning disability who is pursuing an undergraduate degree. The application is available on the NCLD website.
National Center for Learning Disabilities 381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1401 New York, NY 10016 212-545-7510 ncld.org
The Autism Society of America
The Autism Society of America offers two scholarships for college students: the CVS/”All Kids Can” Scholarship Award and the Outstanding Individual with Autism Award. The CVS/"All Kids Can" Scholarship award of $1,000 is given to three individuals with autism who have been accepted by a college or university. The Outstanding Individual with Autism Award is given to one individual with autism who has demonstrated exceptional achievement or effort.
Autism Society 4340 East-West Hwy, Suite 350 Bethesda, Maryland 20814 301-657-0881 autism-society.org
Vocational Rehabilitation Programs
Every state has a vocational rehabilitation program to assist the disabled in finding careers. Vocational rehabilitation services can sometimes include aid for college-level study in order to make a disabled individual employable. To determine your eligibility, meet with a VR counselor in your state.
Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation 1 Research Court, Suite 450 Rockville, MD 20850 301- 654 -8414 rehabnetwork.org