Securing a scholarship and/or an award can be a tough exercise. It can be an even tougher exercise for students with physical and/or learning disabilities. Such disabilities or funding barriers should not limit worthy students the chance to further their education. Access to scholarships and awards bring about life changing benefits, if you are to further your education.
As grinding as the application process may feel to complete, it is worth the effort if you are successful. Even if you are not successful, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
The 2018/19 Bermuda Government, Ministry of Education scholarship and award options have expanded opportunities to our students in Bermuda of two new offerings; the Minister’s Applied Tech Scholarship and the Bermuda College Book Award.
One award, I would like to highlight is the Minister’s Exceptional Student Award. This opportunity was created under the previous government and has been enhanced by the Progressive Labour Party government, for persons with disabilities.
This award is granted to:
- Exceptional young applicants up to the age of 25 regardless of where they are completing (or have completed) school, eg: public, private, tutorial site, home school, overseas school
- Applicants who demonstrate financial need
The scholarship criteria and options have broadened to benefit more students with varying abilities and post-secondary pursuits. All disabilities will be considered.
The annual award is valued at $5,000 for local and $25,000 for overseas study. The recipient can hold the award for up to four (4) years. The applicant must be accepted by a school by the time of their interview and the applicant’s school or program must be accredited.
Students must demonstrate eligibility by providing:
- A letter from a medical professional or psychologist documenting your disability OR the first page of your IEP OR a document demonstrating receipt of special education services
- Most recent transcripts
- School reference letter
- Evidence of extra-curricular or service activities in school and/or the community
- Completed Essay
- Proof of Bermuda Status
- Proof of 5 years of Bermuda education
- Acceptance Letter: If not available at the time of application, the student must attach a document indicating when the letter will be available and email the letter to the award provider or at the latest bring the letter to the interview
- Letter from college stating tuition costs
- Completed financial need form
If you are successful, there will be some expectations which include:
- Maintaining good standing in your program of study
- Maintaining satisfactory conduct
- Providing transcripts for each semester and any additional documentation required for the satisfaction of the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development for the continued funding of the award
- If you change your program of study, you must notify the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development prior to doing so
The deadline for submitting for this award is March 28, 2018
Key tips for applying for scholarships and awards are:
- Begin the application process as soon as possible, don’t wait until the last minute
- Always be cognizant of the deadlines in case you have any technical problems or discover you are missing something
- Carefully review all of the requirements and make sure your application is complete. There are no guarantees that incomplete applications will be considered
- Answer the essay questions, rather submit a personal essay
- Ask someone to review your application, including your essay
- Include strong letters of recommendations
- Always keep a copy of the documents that you submit
- Try to keep copies of generic required application documents on file ie: transcripts, letters of recommendations, Bermuda status letters, resumé
- Practice and prepare for interviews
- Identify support sources for assisting you to understand the application process, this includes someone who will coach you through the completion of the application, mock interviewing and follow up
I encourage more organizations and businesses to recognize the need to create scholarships and awards for students with physical and/or learning disabilities.
For more information about this award and other scholarships and awards contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
♦ Tinee Furbert JP, MP, Junior Minister of Disability Affairs – March 1, 2018