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Education - Scholarships and Financial Aid for Deaf Students

Also For Hearing Students Too

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Updated April 09, 2014

Is there any financial aid or scholarships available specifically for deaf/hard-of-hearing students or hearing students studying fields, such as interpreting or deaf education? Yes, there are many available, from sources that include national organizations of the deaf/hard of hearing, state governments, the colleges themselves, nonprofit organizations and small associations (often parent associations). (I remember going door to door to sell candy as a deaf child to raise funds for a scholarship given by the Rockland County Association of the Hearing Impaired, Inc., a parent organization.)

College/University Scholarships and Grants

Gallaudet University
Gallaudet University, a liberal arts university for the deaf, automatically matches financial aid applicants with available scholarship funds. Gallaudet University has a database of scholarships. (The Gallaudet University Development Office website has a database of funds for donors to choose to support, including a fund for international students.)

National Technical Institute for the Deaf
The Rochester Institute of Technology Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has information on scholarships for freshman NTID/RIT students. The Office of Financial Aid has a downloadable PDF file listing all NTID Undergraduate Academic Scholarship Programs. This PDF lists both merit scholarships and need-based grants.

Other Colleges
Some colleges, particularly those with programs for deaf students, offer specialized scholarships. In Canada, the George Brown College in Toronto gives scholarships to deaf and hard-of-hearing students studying at George Brown (one is the Paula Montgomery Harding scholarship) and to deaf/blind students and students planning to work with deaf/blind people.

State Government Assistance

Texas offers a "tuition/fee exemption" for deaf students attending public colleges in Texas. More information is on the Window on State Government site. Wisconsin's Higher Educational Aids Board has a "Hearing & Visually Handicapped Student Grant" for hearing impaired students attending Wisconsin public colleges.

Also check with your state's Vocational Rehabilitation agency. Vocational Rehabilitation will often pay for college tuition for deaf students. In addition, see about social security benefits if you are of legal age. My own education was paid for through a combination of Vocational Rehabiliation and Social Security Income (SSI).

Deaf/HOH Organization Scholarships and Grants

United States
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf has given scholarships for years. The Ear Foundation has the Minnie Pearl scholarship for mainstreamed deaf students. Children of Deaf Adults offers the Millie Brother Scholarship for a hearing child of a deaf adult. Cochlear Corporation gives the Graeme Clark Scholarship for recipients of Cochlear's implants.

Canada
In Canada, the Wallace Anderson Memorial Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to local deaf students, is administered by Saint John Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Inc., of St. John, New Brunswick.

Interpreting and Deaf Education/Deaf Studies Scholarships

The Stokoe scholarship, awarded by the National Association of the Deaf, is for deaf graduate students studying sign language or the deaf community. The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf has service awards and training awards and scholarships for interpreters.

Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, offers scholarships to students in the Communication Disorders and Deaf Education department. Another college, Smith College in Northampton, Mass., offers full scholarships to students in the Master of Education of the Deaf program.

In Canada, the Arlene Burris scholarship to encourage study of deaf education (or for a deaf/hard-of-hearing college student) is administered by the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority in Nova Scotia, Canada, whose Interprovincial School Development Association also administers other awards.

Nonprofit Organizations

Quota International's Quota Clubs provide scholarships to deaf and hard-of-hearing students and hearing students majoring in deaf education.

Other Disability Organizations

Canada's Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians offers scholarships that deaf/blind students can qualify for.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid

Gallaudet University's Info to Go has a fact sheet, "Sources of Financial Assistance For Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing" in addition to listing some of the same aforementioned resources. It also lists others and includes a bibliography of useful reference books.
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