Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

Common Funding Questions

A Pakistani man and an American woman converse in sign language.
A Pakistani man and an American woman converse in sign language.

We know you have many questions about how to fund international exchange: Does MIUSA provide scholarships? Are there scholarships for people with disabilities? We answer your burning funding questions.

Does MIUSA provide scholarships?

MIUSA does not provide scholarships or funding for U.S. exchange, but we can help direct you to the many other organizations, institutions, and government programs that do!

Are there scholarships for people with disabilities?

Yes, there are some scholarships and other types of funding designed especially for people with disabilities. For example, some disability organizations award scholarships specifically to students with disabilities. You may be required to provide documentation (proof) of your disability or meet other eligibility requirements, such as citizenship or grade point average.

Remember that people with disabilities can apply for ANY scholarship if they meet all of its requirements, even if it is not designed specifically for people with disabilities. We strongly recommend applying for scholarships that are not just for a person with a disability because there are many more of these available than the limited number focused on a specific disability type.

Will talking about my disability in a general scholarship application affect my chances of being selected?

You don’t have to talk about your disability if you don’t want to. However, some people with disabilities choose to discuss their disability to share a unique part of their identity or life experience, which can sometimes be an advantage in a scholarship application. Many scholarships state specifically that people with disabilities or from disadvantaged backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is money that you do NOT need to pay back. Donors can award scholarships based on financial need or merit. You may be required to use it in a certain way, for example, at a specific school or to study a specific subject.

What is a fellowship?

A fellowship is an almost completely funded academic or professional program. It helps pay for some or all of the  living expenses from getting a degree. The organization that awards it often plans important aspects of the participant’s exchange experience, such as getting a visa, placement, etc. Fellowships can cover airfare, visa fees, transportation, housing, or health insurance.

What is a loan?

A loan is money that you MUST pay back, usually after completing an academic program. People often receive loans based on financial need.

What’s the difference between a scholarship, fellowship, and loan?

  • A fellowship is a funding package that comes with programming such as an orientation, housing arrangements, or required coursework.
  • A scholarship is simply funding for a part of a program that you organize.
  • A loan is money that you have to give back usually after you finish the program and usually with interest.

Is there funding that can help me pay for disability-related equipment or services?

Some disability-related equipment or services, such as large-print documents or a sign language interpreter, will be provided by the exchange program or school. Other disability-related equipment or services, such as motor scooters, personal assistants, etc., are considered “personal” and will be your responsibility to fund. However, some exchange programs will go beyond the law to help their exchange participants pay for personal equipment or services anyway.

If you received any scholarships, grants, or loans, you may be able to use those funds towards paying for your personal disability-related needs. If you have a valid permit to work in the U.S., you may be eligible for funds through the Vocational Rehabilitation program.

You should also make sure that you have health insurance that will cover you while traveling to and from, and living in, the U.S. Your exchange program or school may provide or offer health insurance coverage.

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