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College Scholarship Program


The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) offers several scholarships for full-time students who are deaf and hard of hearing and who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited mainstream college or university. A limited number of scholarships are also available for those pursuing a graduate degree. Students who are pursuing a graduate degree in law or public policy are encouraged to apply for the George H. Nofer Scholarship which is specific to those fields; please see the AG Bell webpage here - Nofer Scholarship - for an application.

AG Bell Scholarships are merit-based and award selection is highly competitive. On average, about 15% of applicants are selected for an award. While the number and amount of awards varies from year to year, in 2015, twenty awards were made ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Financial need has little impact on award selection; rather, the selection committee is looking for strong leaders with academic excellence and great character. Applicants may receive a total of two awards through the AG Bell College Scholarship program. 

The College Scholarships application for 2016-2017 is now closed. The application for the 2017-2018 academic year is expected to open in December of 2016. Please check this page of our website beginning in November. 

College Scholarship Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for this scholarship program, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:  

  • Listening and Spoken Language must be the applicant's primary mode of communication. 
  • Hearing loss must have been diagnosed before the applicant’s fourth birthday.
  • Hearing loss must be bilateral and in the moderately severe to profound range. Unilateral hearing loss does not qualify. Applicants must have an unaided Pure-Tone Average (PTA) of 60dB or greater in the better-hearing ear in the speech frequencies of 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz. Applicants with cochlear implants meet this eligibility requirement. Unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss does not qualify. Applicants with cochlear implants meet this eligibility requirement.You will need to submit a recent audiogram or CI Report with your application – keep that in mind as you plan your time.
  • Unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss does not qualify.
  • Applicant must be enrolled in or have applied to a four-year mainstream accredited college or university as a full-time student working to complete a bachelor’s or graduate degree. This means that, for the academic year beginning in the fall, the applicant must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree at a mainstream college or university. Applicants who are or will be attending a community college offering an associate’s degree (two-year) do not meet this criterion.
  • Applicants in the United States must have a minimum cumulative un-weighted GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale. Students who are applying from countries other than the United States must have a minimum 80 percent cumulative on their high school or secondary school transcripts. For colleges outside of the United States, applicants must have a ranking equivalent to a minimum 3.25 GPA; for example, for students in the UK, Australia and India, a minimum of an Upper Second Class ranking is required.

PLEASE NOTE: We are very strict with the eligibility criteria and deadlines. Applications that do not meet all of the criteria, are missing required elements, or arrive after the deadline are screened out of the process and are not considered for an award. NO EXCEPTIONS ARE MADE.


Things to Consider as You Prepare to Apply for 2017-2018 Scholarships 

Every applicant has experienced challenges related to hearing loss.  In many circles, that might earn “extra” points, but here, it’s just the starting point.   

On average, about 10-15 percent of eligible applications are selected to receive a scholarship. About one-quarter of the applications rate very highly – just tenths of points separate scholarship winners from non-scholarship winners. Here are some things you can do to improve your application. 

Scholarship awards are merit-based; financial need has little impact on award selection. Past scholarship recipients have demonstrated academic excellence (the average unweighted GPA of recipients is 3.8), effective leadership, exceptional personal qualities, and potential for ongoing contributions to society. Involvement in high school/college or community activities is a plus. Past scholarship recipients have demonstrated these types of skills, abilities and qualities:

  • Desire to be at the forefront in the creation and discovery of new knowledge 
  • Leadership skills and a desire to be a leader in service to society 
  • Broad world view and a zest for learning from people who are different from themselves in a diverse community of scholars 
  • Recognition of the importance of personal integrity and ethical decision making 
  • Enthusiastic pursuit of self-improvement 
  • Creativity and the ability to make the most of opportunities presented   


Applicants should think carefully about whom they ask to write letters of recommendation. Well-written letters from a teacher, professor, employer, supervisor, coach, extra-curricular activity sponsor, or hearing health professional can carry a lot of weight when they include detailed information about you. Letters from a guidance counselor, employer, RA, long-time family friend, or next door neighbor may not carry as much weight unless that person can share information about you that is significant. The review committee expects references to be relevant and recent. College freshman may include a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher, but at least one letter of recommendation should be from a college professor. For college sophomores and higher, the committee expects no letters of recommendation to be from a high school teacher.   


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the AG Bell College Scholarship Program.

Do You Still Have Questions or Need Clarification?

We try to be clear in our instructions, but if you would like clarification about something or have a question, please ask. Not asking the question is NOT a case for reconsideration of your application, so it’s better to ask the question than to find out your application is considered ineligible for review.

Please email any questions or inquiries to: [email protected] 

It may take us several business days to answer, so please plan accordingly when submitting your questions – don’t wait until the last minute!