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National Federation of the Blind

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Since its beginning in 1940, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has helped thousands of blind people gain self-confidence and respect by acting as a voice for the nation’s blind. Today NFB has over 500,000 members making them the nation’s most dominant organization of blind people. Its main purpose is to completely blend the blind into society, squelching the feeling of inequality and giving blind people the opportunity to work alongside sighted individuals in skilled trades, regular occupations, and professions.

Each day the NFB strives to improve living conditions for the blind through various efforts. The Federation provides public awareness about blindness, conducts research, offers programs geared to help blind people gain independence and self-confidence, and acts as an advocate for the blind. Some services and products offered by the NFB include public education about blindness, equipment for the blind, the development and evaluation of technology, a variety of publications about blindness, student scholarships, and advocacy services to protect their civil rights. In 2004, the NFB opened a research and training center that is led by the blind, and developed for the blind. The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute is the first center of its kind offered in the United States.

As part of its mission to improve living conditions for the blind, the NFB provides financial support to blind students looking to further their education. This article expands on its scholarship program, along with scholarship qualifications and requirements.

Scholarships Offered by the National Federation of the Blind

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) offers a number of scholarships to blind scholars pursuing a degree program.

To apply for any NFB scholarships, candidates must be legally blind in both eyes; live in the U.S., District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico; be enrolled full-time at a United States institution pursuing a degree program; and agree to attend the NFB national convention and participate in scholarship program activities.

Applications can be submitted online or in print to be considered for evaluation. Candidates must also submit a transcript; proof of legal blindness; and, two letters of recommendation. High school seniors are required to include ACT or SAT test scores. In addition, applicants must notify a NFB affiliate to schedule an interview. All printed materials should be mailed to: NFB Scholarship Committee, National Federation of the Blind at Jernigan Place, 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230. Emailed documents should be sent to: scholarships@nfb.org. Application and additional materials should be submitted in March, with the exception of the Affiliate President’s report.

Here is a list of scholarships available through NFB:

  • National Federation of the Blind Scholarships: Two $7,000 scholarships; plus, three $5,000 scholarships, as well as 13 $3,000 awards are offered to qualifying blind students.
  • Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship: Funded by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, this scholarship is awarded to one blind scholar in the amount of $12,000.
  • Charles & Melva T. Owen Memorial Scholarship: One $10,000 scholarship is awarded.
  • Hank LeBonne Scholarship: One $5,000 scholarship is awarded.
  • Kuchler-Killian Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship awards $3,000 to an eligible blind scholar.
  • Hermione Grant Calhoun Scholarship: A $3,000 award is given to a qualifying blind female student.
  • Howard Brown Rickard Scholarship: This $3,000 scholarship is given to a blind student planning to enroll or enrolled in a degree program pursuing a career in medicine, engineering, law, natural sciences, or architecture.
  • E.U.Parker Scholarship: $3,000 is awarded to the recipient of this scholarship.
  • Jeannette C. Eyerly Memorial Scholarship: Awards $3,000 to a blind student enrolled in any degree program.
  • Michael Marucci Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship awards $3,000 to a candidate studying a foreign language or comparative literature program, looking to earn a degree in political science, history, or geography, with an emphasis in international studies. Or, candidate must be pursuing a major in another discipline that requires studying abroad. All applicants must be proficient in a foreign language.
  • National Federation of the Blind Educator of Tomorrow Award: Awards $3,000 to a qualifying student majoring in computer science.
  • National Federation of the Blind Computer Science Scholarship: Candidate must be pursuing a career in education; elementary, secondary, or postsecondary. Amount awarded is $3,000.

National Federation of the Blind Scholarships: Tips for Your Search

Each year NFB’s scholarship program is announced in the Braille Monitor (November issue); or, online at the NFB website. NOTE: The Braille Monitor can also be emailed to you free of charge. Interested students can apply for all scholarship opportunities by using one application. It’s important to meet all scholarship requirements prior to applying, and to submit all documents by the March deadline to ensure consideration.

How to Reach the National Federation of the Blind

National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street @ Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
PH: (410) 659-9314
FAX: (410) 685-5653

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