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Education and Employment

New scholarship launched for students with spinal cord injuries 

female student in wheelchair with friend
Photo: Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

Next fall, the Ohio State University will offer a new scholarship for students with spinal cord injuries, partnering with the largest private funder of spinal cord injury research and rehabilitation in the U.S.

Ohio State is one of six universities invited by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation — an organization devoted to spinal cord injury research — to offer the scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year, joining 11 other institutions already in the program.

The Neilsen Scholarship Program, through the Office of Student Life and Student Life Disability Services, will assist with the cost of tuition and fees for eligible students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at Ohio State.

While the exact amounts awarded will vary based on the selected students’ individual needs, Cheryl Lyons, director of SLDS, said her department expects these scholarships to be substantial.

“We’re hopeful that if a student is put forward and has a lot of financial need, the foundation is going to be generous with that award,” Lyons said. “Based on what we’ve heard from other schools, the funding packages have been pretty comprehensive.”

Lyons said four to six students would be nominated for the first year, and​​ the winners will receive funding for every year they are at the university.

To be considered, students must be enrolled full-time at any Ohio State campus, have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, and be able to verify they have a permanent spinal cord injury, according to the Neilsen Foundation’s guidelines.

According to the guidelines, eligible spinal cord conditions include neurological and functional impairments due to injury, degenerative disease, and damage due to tumors or surgery. Students with spinal dysfunction, paralysis, or pain syndromes caused by disorders unrelated to the spinal cord are not eligible.

“The Neilsen Foundation supports the cost of tuition and fees, as well as providing supplemental support funds to remove barriers to academic progress related to spinal cord injury-associated needs,” DeVecchio said.

DeVecchio said the supplemental support funds are to be used for housing, meal plans, transportation, books, supplies, and any other resource that will assist in the education of students with spinal cord injuries.

Lyons said the organization is looking forward to awarding these scholarships to students in need.

“We’re hopeful that if a student is put forward and has a lot of financial need, the foundation is going to be generous with that award,” Lyons said.

For students interested in applying for the scholarship, the application is available on the SLDS website until March 18 at 11:59 p.m.

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