Opportunities, Scholarships for Latino Students with Disabilities

Courtesy of New Futuro

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationIf you are a student with a disability of any kind you may be wondering what that means in college. College is different from high school in many ways, and a lot more responsibility is placed on you. Accessing the opportunities that are available for students with disabilities and making sure that you get the services you have a right to can often be a difficult process, but this article will help point you in the right direction.

Know Your Rights
During elementary and high school, it was your school’s responsibility to provide and make sure you had access to the services you required for any disability – physical, learning, or other. It’s a little more complicated in college. They are still required to provide you with services or adjustments you may need, but it is your responsibility to let them know that you need services. Every college or university has these services available; you just have to seek them out. You can usually find information about disability services on a school’s website under the “Student Services” or “Student Affairs” tab. If you’re having trouble finding the information you need from your school, just ask someone in your admissions office. You will most likely be required to provide documentation of your disability and the services you’ve previously received.
You are not, however, required to tell your university that you have a disability. According to the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, “if you want the school to provide an academic adjustment, you must identify yourself as having a disability. Likewise, you should let the school know about your disability if you want to ensure that you are assigned to accessible facilities. In any event, your disclosure of a disability is always voluntary.”

Scholarships and Other Resources
Your disability doesn’t limit your access to a college education, and the same goes for scholarships. Not only are you eligible for scholarships, but there are scholarships specifically for Latino students with disabilities. There are scholarships specifically available for autism, wheelchair users, learning disabilities, deaf and hearing-impaired, blind, low vision, visually impaired, as well as general scholarships for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, they are not advertised as often as other scholarships because of their specificity, but searching for them doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. According to Disabled World News, “You want to do an online search for “scholarships for [your disability or condition].” Even if you feel it is something minor, there is always a possibility there may be some financial offers out there you will want to explore further. Disabled World News also offers help on figuring out if you qualify for a disability scholarship.

Helpful Schools
As mentioned earlier, it can sometimes be difficult to find the information you are looking for, but the resources are out there. Be sure to check the college’s website to figure out who to talk to about getting the assistance you need. If that doesn’t prove helpful, many schools have a department of Access and Disability Services. Columbia College of Chicago and Harvard University are both good examples of providing this guidance on their websites. If you have a disability and you’re looking for assistance or services, it’s best to start figuring this out early and ask your school officials to make sure you get the services you need to achieve your dreams.

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