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Scholarship & Funding Information

Applying to the THRIVE Program? Needing some financial assistance? This page will help.

Many families that are looking at the THRIVE program hadn't thought about college for their children with disabilities and find it a struggle to fund a program like ours. Here is some helpful information about scholarships and funding that might be available. Some of the scholarships are location specific, while others are open to anyone, so please read the information for each one. The THRIVE Student Success fund is driven by kind donations from businesses and individuals and you will want to follow the directions on that scholarship, but the others are not affiliated with THRIVE and we are not responsible for acceptance.

Pell Grants-

Pell Grants are awarded to students that meet certain income guidelines. UCM receives the data and uses this information to assess PELL Grant eligibility. The grant is paid to the student account in two installments (Fall and Spring semesters) and can help cover expenses incurred at UCM. A FAFSA application must be filed each year to assess eligibility.


UCM - THRIVE Student Success Fund:

Individual and corporate donations have been earmarked as scholarship funds for UCM THRIVE students. Limited need-based scholarships are available for qualifying THRIVE students.

To apply for a needs-based THRIVE Student Success Fund Scholarship, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will need to be completed and submitted to The University of Central Missouri prior to March 1 to be considered for the following academic year. Please note that THRIVE Success Fund Scholarship requires an earlier deadline than FAFSA. Please refer to the (Instructions here) when completing the FAFSA. The FAFSA is available beginning on October 1st each year.

Completing the FAFSA online at is easy, secure, and fast. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 66-543-4204 or the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID FREE.

Scholarship award decisions are made in late spring by the Scholarship Committee. Families will receive a decision letter by mail. This scholarship award is contingent on the student's successful completion of each semester. If a student is awarded a scholarship from these funds, it will be listed on the student's bill after the THRIVE fee has been paid. In the event that a THRIVE Student Success Fund scholarship recipient is unable to complete a semester, he or she will need to repay the scholarship amount.

Non-UCM Scholarships:

  • Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships-for students with Learning Disability or ADHD pursuing post-secondary education. Information on the National Centers for Learning Disabilities website.
  • Brian & Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund-The Brian & Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship Fund selects eligible colleges, vocational/technical schools and transition programs in the United States to identify qualified students or clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder and offer scholarship funds of up to $5,000 per student and $25,000 per program. Information on Autism Speaks website.
  • National Down Syndrome Society website has several scholarship options.  National Down Syndrome Society  O’Neill/Tabani Enrichment Fund    offers five $2,000 scholarships nationally to students with Down Syndrome who are pursuing postsecondary education.’neill-Tabani-Enrichment-Find/   
  • The Organization for Autism Research Scholarship Program
  • Ruby's Rainbow has scholarship options for students with Down Syndrome.   is a scholarship for students’ with Down Syndrome and attending a post-secondary program.  Application deadline is May 15
  • Hearing Impairments:   Travelers Protective Association of America has a Scholarship Trust for the Hearing Impaired
  • Physically & Mentally Challenged Students: New Outlook Pioneers offers the Joe Cleres Memorial Scholarship for Students with Disabilities  who are attending an educational institution  
  • Shrine Hospitalization:  $500 Scholarship each semester if your student has ever been treated at a Shrine Hospital for Children and has the following eligibility:  High School diploma or GED and is attending a postsecondary school or training.  An application is available by contacting:  Order of Quetzalcoatl, Trocha De Santa Fe Foundation   PO Box 8197  Shawnee Mission, KS  66208-019   

St. Louis Area Non-UCM Scholarships:

  • DSAGSL Scholarship & Assistance Program-A pool of funds are available annually through the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis. Scholarships are available based on the criteria outlined in Bryce's Law (Section 161.825 RSMo). --Down Syndrom Association of Greater St. Louis.
  • John Cary Scholarship Application - (St. Louis Area-Special School District of St. Louis County only)-The John Cary Scholarship will be given to a graduating student who receives services from the Special School District of St. Louis County –special education and/or technical education. The selected student will reflect the characteristics most admired by John Cary –resiliency, courage and determination.
  • Special School district of St. Louis County has scholarship options for students in that district.

Other Financial Assistance options


Sallie Mae/Let's Make College Happen is offering a parent loan that is in the parent's name to benefit students. It will require a credit check and interst will depend on the credit score.


Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or call 1-800-722-1213-for more information about social security disability benefits for adults age 19 or older who have limited income and resources and can be considered a primary recipient.   In almost all states, SSI eligibility automatically qualifies an individual for Medicaid coverage.


Medicaid Waiver Programs

Medicaid Waiver Programs can provide services to people with Developmental Disabilities.  Check out   to see what services and supports are available in your state.  Many individuals who qualify for Medicaid based on disability also receive cash assistance under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.


Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Developmental Disabilities (DD)

Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Developmental Disabilities (DD)  For more specific eligibility criteria, contact the regional office serving your area.  Click this link for regional office information:   Benefits could include an Autism Spectrum Waiver, Developmental Disabilities Waiver, Support Services Waiver and Partnership for Hope Waiver.


Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan  (MOST)

Missouri’s tax-free college savings plan    or call 1-888-414-6678 for more information about tax free investment account you can use for higher education savings.


Kansas 529 College Savings Plan (Learning Quest)   It is tax-deferred, tax-free if used for qualified educational expenses.  This can be set up by any family member who lives in Kansas, even if the student does not.


Missouri Association of County Developmental Disabilities Boards    

disABILITY Information and Resources 

Vocational Rehabilitation:   If you already have a Voc Rehab case manager, you may be eligible for services.      

Additional Scholarships from organizations for designated disabilities outside UCM.  It is suggested that you start the application for outside scholarships during the spring before you attend THRIVE at UCM:                                                                                                    Financial Aid Opportunities for students with disabilities.  A guide to the opportunities out there.



February 15th is the priority date for accepting applications for the coming academic year.




For more THRIVE information please continue to look through the website, at FAQ's or contact the THRIVE Coordinator.

THRIVE Coordinator:

Ms. Karen Fahrmeier
UCM-Lovinger 1270
520 S. Maguire Street
Warrensburg, MO 64093



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