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. Our state and national scholarship programs are the most generous in the country. 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 2020 scholarship program. All blind high school and college students are encouraged to apply! In addition to receiving a check, the recipient receives airfare, hotel room, registration, banquet and other items of interest.

The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois awards as many as five (5) scholarships to Illinois residents or those attending Illinois schools. Any legally blind, full-time college or graduate student may apply, as well as graduating high school seniors who will be attending college full-time in the fall of 2020. Deadline for state scholarship applications is March 31st. All finalists must attend the entire convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, to be held in October. The NFBI scholarship program is our investment in the future of blind people who demonstrate scholastic aptitude, leadership, and service. All blind high school and college students are encouraged to apply! To apply for our state scholarships, read the eligibility criteria and download the application found below. Please read the reflections from some of our past national scholarship winners while attending national convention at The following NFBI scholarships are planned:

  • PETER GRUNWALD SCHOLARSHIP: A scholarship in the amount of $2,000 was established by the NFBI as a memorial to Peter Grunwald, whose work with members of the Illinois General Assembly resulted in implementation of several statutes that have changed what it means to be blind in Illinois.
  • NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND OF ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIPS: Two scholarships in the amount of $1,500 and two scholarships in the amount of $1,250 will be awarded.


All scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and service to the community. To be eligible for any 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. Send your application and supporting documents via e-mail in MS Word format to:

Deborah Kent Stein, 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 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.

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 need 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.
  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.

This form may be photocopied.
2020 NFBI Scholarship Application (Word Format)

Please also read:

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:


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