NEADS Financial Assistance Program Information Session on January 26th

Join the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) Team on Friday January 26th from 3:30pm to 4:30pm EDT as we discuss our financial assistance program and financial aid related resources for disabled post-secondary students and graduates! Katja Newman, NEADS' Financial Assistance Program Director, will discuss the highly anticipated launch of the NEADS Financial Assistance Program 2024 and Sarah Szumlanski, NEADS Researcher will provide an overview of NEADS’ webpage.

Closed captioning in English and French, simultaneous French-English interpretation, and ASL and LSQ interpretation will be provided. Registration is required – please register here.

This event is generously supported by Employment and Social Development Canada’s Supports For Student Learning Program and is a feature of our Virtual Access for All webinar series.

Meet the Presenters

Katja Newman, NEADS’ Financial Assistance Programs Director

Katja Newman (she/her/elle) is the National Educational Association of Disabled Students’ Financial Assistance Program Director and co-manager of the Building Employment Pathways For People With Disabilities Project. A resident of Nova Scotia, she is a recent graduate of the online Masters in Grant Writing and Program Evaluation Program at Concordia University Chicago. Prior to her Masters, Katja received a Bachelor's of Social Work degree from Carleton University and a Child & Youth Work Diploma from Georgian College. Outside of her work at NEADS, she enjoys hiking, walks at the beach, baking, cooking and educating audiences on the accessibility and inclusion related highs and lows that come with living life as a blind recent post-secondary graduate who navigates the world with the help of a guide dog.

Sarah Szumlanski, NEADS’ Researcher

Sarah Szumlanski (she/her/elle) is a researcher for the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS). She is currently finishing an undergraduate degree in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies at Carleton University, with a minor in Disability Studies. Sarah was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in her first semester of university, an event which significantly impacted her post-secondary experience. As a disabled, queer, neurodivergent woman, Sarah is passionate about topics of disability, accessibility, advocacy, and intersectionality, with a specific research interest in rare and invisible disabilities. In 2020, Sarah conducted a research study on the experiences of Canadian women diagnosed with rare, invisible, physical chronic illnesses, and the ways in which gender, age, (dis)ability, invisibility, and rareness impacted their experiences within the Canadian healthcare system. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her cat.

Learn More About Our Financial Assistance Programs

NEADS Student Awards Program

Established by NEADS in 2007, the NEADS National Student Awards Program encourages full access to post-secondary education for persons with disabilities, who often face greater barriers to participation in higher education and extra costs because of their disabilities. The program supports students with disabilities in undergraduate university, graduate university and college and CÉGEP programs. The awards are paid directly to the institution the student attends to offset the cost of tuition. NEADS has provided over $687,000 in awards to more than 228 deserving disabled students across Canada in the 16 years of the program. The program has awarded 182 NEADS National Student Awards, 9 Christine Nieder Memorial awards, 15 Holly Bartlett Memorial Awards, 2 Canada Post Awards, 2 Memorial Awards for the Visually Impaired, 16 Accessible Media Inc. Sir Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarships and 1 Connor Clark & Lunn Financial Group Scholarship.

Accessibility Resilience Program

Provided relief grants between 2020 and 2022 to students with disabilities who were facing immense socio-cultural and operational accessibility challenges, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding addressed the undue hardship/barriers faced by disabled students in transitioning to online/ hybrid learning environments. The Accessibility Resilience Program awarded $412,800 of financial support to 271 students.

Our New Financial Assistance Program

The new financial assistance program will blend together elements of the former NEADS Student Awards Program and Accessibility Resilience Program into one streamlined initiative that better responds to the needs of students with disabilities. This change is prompted by overwhelming feedback from the #MyNEADS community that the tuition based scholarships offered under the former NEADS National Student awards Program no longer adequately address the broad spectrum of financial needs facing students with disabilities. The Financial Assistance Program will introduce a new and exciting model of financial support. Applicants will have the option of applying to grants intended to offset the cost of items including tuition, assistive technology, computers and tablets, ergonomic equipment, rent, food, learning supports, mental health and wellness services and medical supplies.

The partner funded tuition scholarships offered under the former NEADS National Student Awards Program will also continue to be offered, including the Canada Post Award for Students With Disabilities, Accessible Media Inc. Sir Robert Pearson Memorial Scholarships and Connor Clark & Lunn Financial Group Scholarship. Other exciting improvements include a semesterly system of distributing funding rather than the former annual format of the NEADS National Student Awards Program and options to submit responses to short essay questions in alternative, non-written formats.

About Disability Awards

NEADS' webpage is the world's largest directory of hundreds of disability specific scholarship opportunities. A feature Rich resource, with features such as a search by disability type function, the website offers students with disabilities a one-stop place to find potential funding opportunities as well as obtain information on Federal and provincial/territorial grants and loans programs for students with disabilities.

About NEADS’ Virtual Access 4 All Project

NEADS' Virtual Access for All Project provides educational support and awareness aimed at students with disabilities transitioning into post-secondary education. Accessibility and accommodations resources are provided through our quarterly State of the Schools publications, while our regular webinar series addresses topics such as self-advocacy, accessing accommodations at work and school, and transitioning into the workforce. Further, financial support is available through NEADS' Student Awards Program and Accessibility Resilience Program. Virtual Access for All is generously supported by Employment and Social Development Canada's Goal Getters Program, and has recently received an upward amendment in response to positive reception.

Carly Fox (she/her/elle),, NEADS Communications and Partnerships Director |Directrice des communications et des partenariats de NEADS, National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, tel. (613) 380-8065, ext. 201

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