Microsoft employees have created a new scholarship that will encourage more high school seniors living with a disability to enroll in college, realize the impact technology can have on the world, and explore careers in technology.
The Microsoft DisAbility Scholarship is a grassroots effort begun by the company’s internal Cross Disability Employee Resource Group. Each year, a panel of Microsoft volunteers will select high school seniors with visual, hearing, cognitive, mobility or speech disabilities to receive individual $5,000 scholarships for study at four-year or two-year universities, colleges or technical colleges.
Today, students with disabilities drop off the educational track after high school at an alarming rate. In Washington state, for example, the percentage of adults without a disability holding a bachelor’s degree or higher is more than twice that of those with a disability, 31.2 percent compared to 12.5 percent, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The scholarship fund also hopes to reduce the high rates of unemployment among adults with disabilities by supporting higher education goals.
The scholarships are designed to not only narrow that gap but to encourage students to pursue studies and careers in technology. Scholarship recipients will major in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, legal, or business areas.
In the coming years, the Cross Disability Employee Resource Group also hopes scholarship recipients will spend time at Microsoft to learn about potential careers at the company and in technology.
When high school seniors living with a disability apply, they will have to demonstrate a passion for technology, a financial need, and have a 3.0 or higher grade point average. You can check out requirements, application details or donate at The Seattle Foundation, which is managing the scholarship, or on Microsoft’s DisAbility Scholarship website. If you have additional questions please contact the Microsoft DisAbility Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org.