The American Council of the Blind’s (ACB) Scholarship Program was established in 1982. This program is considered by the organization to be one of the most valuable services offered to members and potential members. The philosophy behind the scholarship program exemplifies the goals and mission of the organization - "To increase independence for the nation's blind and visually impaired citizens." These scholarships offer blind and visually impaired students the opportunity to attend colleges or universities, purchase computer equipment to make their academic pursuits more attainable, or lessen the need to work during a year of study. The scholarships are provided solely on the basis of merit/academic achievement in an effort to reward excellence.
The awarding of scholarships is not conducted on the basis of membership in ACB, but rather on the basis of the applicant's record of performance. The scholarship program is viewed as a membership recruitment tool to a limited extent, but it is primarily a vehicle to reward excellence, to introduce winners to ACB and its goals, to demonstrate the capabilities of blind and visually impaired people, and to encourage students to achieve their highest academic potential.
Scholarship recipients are given the opportunity to experience firsthand ACB’s national conference and convention, where they meet and network with other students who share the same life experiences and create lasting friendships.
Scholarships are awarded to students who are legally blind. Legal blindness is defined as an individual who cannot see better than 20/200 in the best eye with glasses or contact lenses or whose visual field in the best eye is 20 degrees or less at the widest diameter with glasses or contact lenses. They must be enrolled at a post-secondary institution or a vocational/technical school.
Scholarship awards may be established and funded at any point during the year and may be received from a variety of sources.
In 2017 ACB awarded scholarships to 21 individuals totaling $55,450. We hope to increase scholarship amounts in 2018 to coincide with increasing college attendance costs.
Scholarship applications for the 2019-2020 school year can be submitted online from November 1, 2018 to Friday, February 15, 2019 11:59pm(CST).