$4 Million in Student Scholarships Awarded to Colleges & Universities

September 15, 2023

Four students in wheelchairs, all dressed casually for a Fall event, link arms on a basketball court
Scholars enjoying campus life

The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is awarding $4 million to academic institutions for scholarships to 32 students with spinal cord injury (SCI). These scholarships include support for tuition and fees, as well as funds to remove additional financial barriers the students may face while attending college—including costs associated with housing, transportation, and adaptive technology. We are proud to partner with organizations of various sizes, across the country that offer associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and we applaud all students who challenge themselves by pursuing higher education.

The Neilsen Foundation launched this program with eight schools in 2014. It acknowledged our Founder’s dedication to education access and tried to address some of the specific needs for students with SCI. The number of institutions we partner with has grown, increasing to 11 in 2018, then up to 17 in 2022. To date, the Foundation has helped 328 students with SCI and committed approximately $25 million towards their education goals.

The organizations that partner with the Foundation are giving students with SCI the opportunity to succeed by breaking down barriers to academic success. That might mean making campus activities more accessible, encouraging peer interactions, or meeting the specific needs of individual scholarship recipients. In addition to their time in the classroom, some students have also participated in adaptive sports and joined teams or clubs on campus. To facilitate this integration into campus life, the Foundation works with the disability resource office staff and underwrites some of the programming.

To highlight the recruitment and retention success of our partner institutions, the Neilsen Foundation has launched a webpage showcasing the scholarship recipients who have graduated. Julea Juarez, who oversees the Neilsen Scholarship Program, shares, “The success of the Program relies on our partner institutions who work hard to identify students with spinal cord injuries attending their institutions. Recipients of the scholarship are supported throughout the duration of their degree program.”