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National Federation of the Blind 2018 Scholarship Program

National Federation of the Blind
2018 Scholarship Program

National Federation of the Blind Announces 2017 Scholarship Finalists

The 2018 Scholarship Program application period begins on November 1, 2017 and ends on March 31, 2018.

To recognize achievement by blind scholars, the National Federation of the Blind annually offers blind college students in the United States and Puerto Rico the opportunity to win one of thirty merit-based, national-level scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000. All scholarships awarded are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership.


The National Federation of the Blind scholarship program is the largest in the United States. Each year we award more than $120,000 in cash prizes.

Our generous partners add to both cash awards and prizes.

We want to take this opportunity to recognize the partners who contribute to our named scholarships and those who add cash and prizes to help make this the dynamic program that it is. Our winners are living the lives they want, and we sincerely thank those who believe in the capacity of the blind. You help make dreams come true. Thank you so very much.

Some scholarships are supported by the Lillian S. Edelstein Trust.

All scholarships that are awarded to blind women and are not otherwise endowed are made possible by a generous bequest from the estate of Dorothy R. Olson.

Some NFB scholarships are made possible in part through the support of the Jesse and Hertha Adams Charitable Trust. Through the trust, Jesse and Hertha Adams wanted to help people with disabilities lead productive and meaningful lives.

Several partners add cash and prizes to each of our winners’ packages.

The Kurzweil Foundation and Dr. Ray Kurzweil add $1,000 to each recipient’s award. Ray Kurzweil and the Kurzweil Foundation present awardees with a Braille and print plaque to commemorate their awards. Dr. Kurzweil is a longtime friend of the Federation and deserves our special recognition.

Google adds another generous $1,000 to each winner’s scholarship. Recipients also receive the newest Chromebook from Google.

Cary Supallo and Independence Science give a generous certificate toward the purchase of a Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest.

Honorees enjoy the gift of a KNFB Reader curtesy of the National Federation of the Blind.

$12,000 — 1 scholarship

Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship:

This scholarship is given yearly by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, a nonprofit organization that works to assist blind people and creates Twin Vision® publications and distributes them through the Kenneth Jernigan Library. Kenneth Jernigan is viewed by our field as the most important figure in the 20th century in the lives of blind people. The Action Fund wishes to keep fresh and current in the 21st century the understandings he brought to the field and thus has endowed this scholarship dedicated to his memory and to the continuation of the work he began.

$10,000 — 1 scholarship

JAWS for Windows Scholarship:

This scholarship is funded by the developers of the JAWS screen reader, part of VFO Group. JAWS, Job Access with Speech, has been committed to expanding the opportunities of both education and employment for the blind with both speech and Braille since the late 1980s. In establishing this award VFO said, “On behalf of all the individuals responsible for the development and support of this product over the years, we are honored to establish this scholarship for students recognized by the Federation.”

$8,000 — 2 scholarships

Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in Computer Science:

Oracle seeks to hire the best and brightest talent to build its products. Oracle recognizes the significant impact that its products and technologies can have on people with disabilities. This scholarship is for a student in the field of computer science, computer engineering, user experience, or related field.

Oracle Scholarship for Excellence in a STEM Field:

This scholarship awards academic excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Oracle wishes to promote excellence and funds this scholarship based on Oracle’s understanding of its impact on disabled employees and customers throughout the globe.

$5,000 — 4 scholarships

Pearson Scholarship:

The Pearson award is funded by Pearson Education and is given to a student who plans a career in education. For Pearson, learning is a never-ending road of discovery.

Mimi and Marvin Sandler Scholarship:

The Mimi and Marvin Sandler award is funded by longtime friends of the Federation, Mr. and Mrs. Sandler. Marvin Sandler served as president of Independent Living Aids for more than thirty years. His wife and he wish to further academic excellence by sponsoring this award.

Two Charles and Melva T. Owen $5,000 Memorial Scholarships:

First established by Charles Owen in loving memory of his blind wife, these awards are now endowed by his last will and testament to honor the memory of both. In founding the scholarships, Charles Owen wrote: “There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed toward attaining financial independence.”

$3,000 — 22 scholarships

NFB Science and Engineering Division Scholarship:

This scholarship is awarded to a student studying in a STEM or related field. The Science and Engineering Division is a group of blind students, professionals, and individuals committed to the success of the blind in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or a related field. The Science and Engineering Division wishes to encourage the success of blind STEM students in their chosen field of study.

Two Expedia Scholarships:

These scholarships are awarded to students studying in STEM fields or any other field of study relevant to Expedia’s business.

E. U. and Gene Parker Scholarship:

This scholarship honors two longtime leaders of the National Federation of the Blind whose participation stood for strong principles and strong support of the Federation’s work.

Charles and Melva T. Owen $3,000 Memorial Scholarship:

In funding this scholarship Charles wrote, “There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed toward attaining financial independence.”

Charles and Betty Allen Scholarship:

This scholarship is given by a longtime leader in the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky. Betty and her late husband Charles began this scholarship prior to his passing to support young people in attaining higher education. Charlie, who was extremely successful, left school at an early age to care for his family, but retained a strong belief in education.

Adrienne Asch Memorial Scholarship:

The Adrienne Asch Memorial Scholarship is given in loving memory of Dr. Adrienne Asch, a consummate scholar and a longtime member of our Scholarship Committee.

Fifteen NFB Scholarships:

These scholarships are funded by the collective membership of the Federation. They honor achievement by blind scholars who exhibit leadership potential.


All applicants for these scholarships:
1.Must be legally blind (PDF document) in both eyes, and
2.Must be residing in the United States, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, and
3.Must be pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time, postsecondary course of study in a degree program at a United States institution in the 2018 scholastic year, except that one scholarship may be given to a person employed full-time while attending school part-time, and
4.Must participate in the entire NFB national convention and in all of its scheduled scholarship program activities.
In addition to a scholarship, each winner will receive assistance to attend the 2018 National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention which will take place the first week of July 2018, in Orlando, Florida, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations.

See Scholarship FAQ for details.

Please Note: Some PDF files will not upload to the online Application form. If this occurs, please attach the PDF file to an email and send it to Scholarships@nfb.org.

•Confirmation of Legal Blindness (PDF document). Are you eligible?
•Submissions Checklist. This webpage lists the requirements for a complete application. Documents must be submitted online or postmarked by March 31, 2018. Complete applications tend to have a real advantage in the competition. The NFB Scholarship Committee takes no responsibility for notifying you if required information is missing from your application.
•Frequently Asked Questions (Scholarships FAQ). Answers include useful advice for any applicant.
•2018 Scholarship Application Form, online edition: will be available 11-1-2017 through 3-31-2018.
•2018 Scholarship Application Form, print edition: will be available upon request 11-1-2017 through 3-31-2018.
•”Self-Advocacy in Higher Education” by Mark Riccobono
•http://nabslink.org/content/scholarship-spotlight-part-1-meet-some-our-2016-scholarship-class from the NFB’s National Association of Blind Students; meet some of the NFB’s 2016 scholarship class.
•2018 NFB Scholarship Program Flyer

What kind of student wins an NFB scholarship? You may read about past NFB National Scholarship recipients in August-September “convention issues” of the Braille Monitor.
Braille Monitor, August-September 2016
Braille Monitor, August-September 2015
Braille Monitor, August-September 2014
Braille Monitor, August-September 2013
Braille Monitor, August-September 2012
Braille Monitor, August-September 2011

Please direct any additional questions to the chairperson. Email is preferred.

Chairperson is Cayte Mendez
Email: scholarships@nfb.org
Office: (410) 659-9314, extension 2415

NFB Scholarship Program
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230


1. “College Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities” Guidebook will help students and their families better understand the vast number of financial aid options available to students with disabilities, including those who face cognitive, physical, or other types of disabilities while attending school. Key elements of the guide include:
•A comprehensive review of scholarships, listed by disability
•Amounts awarded and deadlines for each scholarship
•Debt-forgiveness options for those who acquired a disability post-graduation

2. “Helping Students with Visual Impairments” Guide: The guide was created in part by four experts in the field, who lent their experience and expertise to help provide students with visual impairments the tips and resources needed to succeed in school. Key features include:
•Tips for choosing the right college
•An in-depth look at the top assistive technology and tools being used
•Scholarships available for students with visual impairments

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