College Education for Disabled
The next day the sun always shines brighter and things
always seem better. When I returned I got a notice to
report to the admissions
office. This made me anxious, as there was no information
about my test results. I went in the next day and waited
patiently in the lobby until the head director of admissions
became available. The director stood up and congratulated
me, and I could not believe what I was hearing. I asked
him to repeat what he had just said. It seems that I
scored the fifth highest in the whole state! The state
of Michigan agreed to give me some grant
money along with a scholarship that made my admission
much easier, as the tuition was $20,000 for my first
year. However, I still needed $10,000 to cover the rest
of the cost of my education.
It was in the summer so I knew that I only had a few
months to obtain the rest of the much-needed money.
That evening I had made some microwave popcorn by Orville
Redenbacher, and I had used a magnifier to read the
box. I was surprised to see that on the box it read
plainly that the company had a special fund for older
people who wanted to return to college. The directions
told how to apply, so I did. Afterwards I started checking
other boxes and products, and began calling local businesses
in the area to see if they offered any scholarships.
I applied to Kelloggs, Heinz, Lifesavers, WalMart
Foundation, Rogers Department Store and a few others
that offered programs. In this way I found that I was
able to raise more than the $10,000, so I did not have
to borrow money leaving me with a large debt. My college
tuition funded by grants from a variety of places eased
my mind about finances. Each place offered so much money
per year that I found I had raised enough money to pay
for all four years of college!
Since I had raised enough money for college my financial
worries were over, but faced with actually returning
with all those young people and the routine of studying,
homework, and socializing, I felt a little panic-stricken.
But when the first day of school arrived I was ready.
I had my books, calculator, magnifiers, and guide dog
Magnum. With the help of the local bus service, away
I went. When I graduated from Hope College in 1997,
my career was ready to get off the ground!
Shirley Lopez was 50 years old when she returned
to college. She is now 60 years old and recently celebrated
a ten year reunion. Shirley is also an ordained minister,
a proficient writer, and strives to help others who
are blind by accident. Other articles by Shirley Lopez:
Blind: How to Overcome and Life a Full Life and
Exercises to Relieve Stress.
Help for Adult Students with Disabilities
- Be knowledgeable about legislation that advocates
and protects the rights of students with disabilities
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 and
with Disabilities Act.) These laws require
schools to have accommodations at no cost to
the disabled. Some examples: giving the disabled
extra time to complete tests, test proctoring,
and providing course or degree program modifications,
substitutions, or waivers of requirements on
an individual case basis.
- Many colleges and universities have on campus
programs for the disabled to help them complete
their curriculum. Students should call schools
and and ask if these programs are offered, or
check reference guides like The
Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning
Disabilities by the Princeton Review.
- Visit your nearest state Vocational
Rehabilitation Agency. Vocational rehabilitation
agencies offer many services for the disabled
(testing, tuition assistance, and vocational
assessment). Some states offer a rehabilitation
agency assisting individuals with visual impairments
- Investigate national organizations like the
Disabilities Association of America. These
organizations offer support and information
about special programs.
Financial Aid for Disabled
Options: A Resource on Financial Aid for Students with
PDF file (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing.) Provides information about federal financial aid programs, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, and organizations that offer disability-related grants and scholarships. Also available from Heath, Postsecondary Education for Adults with Intellectual Disabilites.
Aid for the Disabled & Their Families, 2006-2008.
by Gail Ann Schlachter, R. and David Weber. Details more than 1, 100 awards, grants, scholarships, fellowships, loans, and internships especially for the disabled. Includes developmental disabilities, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, multiple disabilities, and visual impairments. References state offices and agencies for the disabled as well as 75 additional directories for help finding financial aid.
On Campus for Adults with Reading Disabilities and
with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education: A Profile
of Preparation, Participation, and Outcomes.