National & State Scholarships Available!

The National Federation of the Blind believes in investing in the future by supporting the college education of deserving legally blind students. We urge you to apply to both.

Every year, the National Federation of the Blind awards more than $120,000 to blind scholars across the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in recognition of their achievements and professional aspirations. The scholarship program is our commitment to academic excellence and leadership among blind students, and each winner is awarded on the basis of academic excellence, community service, and leadership. The application process opens November 1. Review the scholarship application checklist and the scholarship program FAQs. Share this opportunity that invests in the future of blind people. Learn about the eligibility and requirements of the 2021 scholarship program. All blind high school and college students are encouraged to apply!

Each year the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois (NFBI) awards scholarships to qualified blind students. The scholarships are awarded at the annual convention of the NFBI. In 2021 the NFBI will award three scholarships beginning at $2,000 each.


All scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and service to the community. To be eligible for an NFBI scholarship, an applicant must be a legally blind resident of or student in Illinois, who is enrolled full-time in an accredited two-year, four-year or graduate college or university program.

To apply:

Download and complete the scholarship application found on this webpage or by contacting the scholarship chairman. Send your application and supporting documents via e-mail in an accessible format (including MS Word, RTF, or accessible PDF) to:

Deborah Kent Stein, Co-Chairman, NFBI Scholarship Committee

If email is not possible to:

Deborah Kent Stein
5817 N. Nina Ave.
Chicago, IL 60631

Direct questions to: 773-203-1394


All application materials must be received by midnight Central Time on March 31.

General Information:

Persons who have previously applied for NFBI scholarships are encouraged to apply again. The Scholarship Committee reviews all applications and selects the scholarship finalists, who will be notified of their selection by June 15, and will be brought to the NFBI convention in the fall. Finalists must attend the entire NFBI state convention which may be virtual.

Please provide the following information:

  1. All post-secondary institutions you have attended with highest class standing attained and cumulative grade point average,
  2. High school attended and cumulative grade point average, and
  3. Community Service.

Please include the following with your completed application:

  1. Personal Essay: Along with your application, introduce yourself to the scholarship committee in a brief essay or self-portrait. Consider the essay an opportunity to tell the committee who you are. Describe your strengths, achievements, and aspirations. What is important to you? Who do you hope to become? Has a particular person or experience changed your life? How has your blindness affected you? How do you handle it at school, on the job, and in interpersonal relationships? Keep in mind that this scholarship is not based on financial need so it should not be addressed in your essay.
  2. One current letter of recommendation.
  3. Doctor’s letter or medical report stating that you are legally blind in both eyes.
  4. Transcripts: Provide a current transcript from the institution you are attending as well as transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended. If you have not attended an institution of higher learning or have not completed one year of study at such an institution, provide a high school transcript.

Application Form:

2021 NFBI Scholarship Application (Word Format)

Announcing the 2019 NFBI Scholarship Finalists

The NFBI Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the selection of the 2019 NFBI Scholarship finalists. The finalists will become winners when they receive their scholarship awards at the NFBI convention banquet on Saturday, October 19. The following students are 2019 NFBI Scholarship finalists:

  • Lily Diego-Johnson: Lily is earning a PhD in disability studies at the University of Illinois/Chicago.
  • Samantha Mayberry: Samantha is a senior at Columbia College majoring in theater.
  • Viridiana Nakayama: Viridiana is a freshman at Harper College. She plans to become a registered dietician.

See also: