Financial Aid and Scholarships for Students with Dyslexia

by | Apr 30, 2015 | By The Grade | 4 comments

Your student with dyslexia may be prepared for college and even be accepted into their college of choice, but what about paying for college? Let’s take a look at options for financial aid for students with dyslexia.

Thank you for joining me for this 10-day series on Preparing Your Student With Dyslexia for College Success. To read the whole series, click here.

Your student with dyslexia may be prepared for college and even accepted into their college of choice, but what about paying for college?  Let’s look at what kinds of financial aid and scholarships are available for students with dyslexia.

It used to be that when I thought of scholarships, I immediately thought only of the straight-A students.  Let’s face it, getting free money isn’t easy these days and there are a lot of applicants with amazing transcripts.  What hope does a hard-working dyslexic student have?  A lot.  Keep reading.

Many private scholarships are available that grant money to students based on their particular strengths, interests, disabilities, and other characteristics or qualities. The following is a list of scholarships, particularly for students with learning disabilities.

Your student with dyslexia may be prepared for college and even been accepted into their college of choice, but what about paying for college? Let's take a look at options for financial aid for students with dyslexia.

First Stop – FAFSA

Federal student aid is one way to cover the cost of college. Your first stop should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application allows you to determine your eligibility for Pell Grants, federal student loans, and other student aid. This application can be filled out online.

Pell provides grants, which do not have to be paid back, to students who can demonstrate financial need. Students can qualify for up to a maximum of $5,550 per school year. Need is determined based on the resources which a (dependent) student’s family can contribute to the cost of attending college. An independent student’s aid amount is based on their own financial resources.

Maximize Grant Money Before Borrowing

After selecting colleges of interest, find out what kinds of financial aid your college offers and try to work with the school to better suit your needs.  It is important to maximize grant aid before you borrow to pay for the cost of college.  It is also important to use federal student loan programs before borrowing from private sources.  Federal student loan programs often provide better terms and conditions and offer more protections for borrowers who might fall behind on their loan payments after school.  Overall think before you borrow with these tips from

Grants and scholarships

Locate scholarships, loans, internships, and other financial aid programs for college that match your education level, talents, and background on the College Board website. Complete the profile form, including a place to check for learning disability, and Scholarship Search will find potential opportunities from a database of more than 2,000 undergraduate scholarships, internships, and loan programs.

A widely used resource on money for college, financial aid, and more.

HEATH Resource Center

In the search bar on the right, enter “Financial Aid” for links to scholarships for students with LD.

Sallie Mae

Information and resources to assist students with the financial aid process.

Scholarships for Students With Disabilities
NCLD’s list of scholarship opportunities specifically for students with LD.

U.S. Department of Education

Financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education, including information about Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, PLUS loans and more.

Buckley Moss Society, Anne, and Matt Harbison Award

The P. Buckley Moss Society introduces an annual scholarship to provide an incentive for, and recognition to, a graduating high school senior with a learning disability who has made arrangements to go to college. This is a grant of $1,000 made toward the tuition at the recipient’s chosen college or university.

Anne Ford Scholarship Established for College-Bound Students With Learning Disabilities

The scholarship is an annual gift of $10,000 to a promising high school senior with learning disabilities who plans to pursue a university degree.


This comprehensive financial aid website focuses on post-secondary school funding and lists college scholarships for people with learning disabilities. There’s also some information on ways to pay for private education institutions. One helpful part of this site is its Scam Alert section which lists the most common scholarship scams, including suspicious aid offers. You can also sign up for e-mail lists and discussion groups. All in all, it’s a very useful site that’s easy to navigate and straightforward in its presentation.

LD Resources Foundation

Awards for assistive technology tools (ex. Kurzweil products, Dragon Naturally Speaking and MacSpeech Dictate, Franklin Dictionary) are available to college students diagnosed with LD and/or ADHD. Students must be enrolled at a college/university with the intention of pursuing an undergraduate degree.

The Lime Connect Fellowship Program

This program is available to a current sophomore at a four-year university in the U.S. The student must have a disability, such as LD. The comprehensive program includes educational workshops, interview preparation, organized mentor programs, and continued support and coaching through the recruitment process via a leadership development program, plus a $1,000 award.

The Marion Huber Learning Through Listening Award

Three $6,000 and three $2,000 awards are available to high school seniors with LD who demonstrate leadership skills, scholarship, and a high level of service to others; must be a member of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D).

Rise Scholarship Foundation
A $2,500 scholarship is available for a current high school senior with a documented LD who plans to attend a college or university in the upcoming academic year.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Youth Achievement Award

A $1,000 award for a student with LD and/or ADHD who has demonstrated initiative, talent, and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field–including art, music, science, math, athletics, or community service.

Keep Learning – Don’t Give Up

If you do not qualify for many of these scholarships or are simply looking for more opportunities to get money for college, do not despair. Think beyond your learning struggles: what do you want to study? What activities have you been involved in? Are you or your parents members of any associations or groups? Any of these may lead to a scholarship. Sign up for a free scholarship search engine like Fastweb or Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search to create a profile and search for all scholarships that may apply to you. Learn as much as you can about financial aid—the more knowledgeable you are, the better prepared you will be when college bills arrive.

Join us here tomorrow when we’ll talk about Alternatives to a Traditional College Degree.



  1. Christine

    You’re an outstanding researcher, Marianne! I sure appreciate all the work you do for dyslexic and ADHD students and their families. Have a blessed weekend! I will be linking to these posts in my (small) blog. I guess every little bit helps.

  2. Lanene Holder

    Trying to find resources for a single mom who has a dyslexic child that is 15 yrs.old and we have thought all these 8 years that something was wrong, that my grandson was not learning, to me he was smart and yet in school, he hated school always calling himself a retard dummy because he could not understand what the teacher telling him what to do and if he asked again to explain something the teacher said why were you not listening when I explained what I wanted done. Well he just would not say anything, he would just write down on his paper something that popped into his mind. He has been to two different schools and was treated at both schools with ADHD, which he did not have. My daughter, grandson and I moved to the mountains to homeschool my grandson, My grandson had to be tested to see where he was in school, come to find out, he is lacking things from the 3rd grade up, 6 and 7th grade things he had not learned. both schools just passed him on up, Not a teacher or anyone said to my daughter she should have my grandson tested further to see what was wrong. After testing we found out he was dyslexic, and it runs in my family bloodline. Now my grandson is 15 and we feel that the school system and also us has failed him, many tears have been shed.
    We are wanting to go with the Orton Gillingham Barton reading and spelling system, it takes 3 to 5 months to learn, each unit cost between$ 250.00 and$ 300.00 and there is 10 levels to go through. WE do not have that kind of money and I am wondering if there is a NC grant to help us get him the materials so he can learn and have a better future.

  3. Jeffrey Soscia

    My 7 year told son has dyslexia and he was accepted in the Hamilton School, but there is no financial aid and wanted to see if there is anything out there. Please help…



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