12 Best Sign Language Scholarships

Sign language is widely increasing in popularity as more and more people learn how to communicate in it. In fact, in the United States alone, millions of people now use SL as their native language, and American Sign Language (ASL) is now the third most spoken language in the U.S. 

So if you intend to major or minor in sign language, or SL Interpreting, you’re not making a wrong decision, and the best part is there are several sign language scholarships. These scholarships will help to reduce the cost of studying this language, and remember, like learning any new language, SL is not promised to be easy.

 It’s worth noting that learning an extra world-recognized language like French, Spanish, German, or even Korean etc., will boost your opportunity in several other fields, because you won’t only understand sign language in your first language like English but also be competent in another renowned language. And the best part is there are scholarships to also learn French, German, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, etc.

Before we list these Scholarships, we would advise you just like we advise each of our readers to not limit your search to only sign language scholarships, most or all of the schools providing these scholarships also allow you to apply for their general scholarship, so don’t hesitate to apply to as many as you’re eligible. And, if you’re involved and competent in any Sport, especially the headcount ones, then applying for athletic scholarships would be a great idea.

Before we list these scholarships, let’s first understand the importance of learning sign language especially if you intend to major in it.

Importance of Learning Sign Language

Career Prospect

If you intend to major in sign language, there are some opportunities like an actor, counsellor, teacher, sign language interpreter, professor, audiologist, nurse, psychologist, etc.

It’s Everywhere

There is no part of the world that deaf people are not, and they are increasing in popularity as time goes on, it’s not bad, even if you don’t want a career in it, to learn a language that allows you to communicate with deaf people.

You Will Learn About Deaf Culture

By learning their culture, we reduce the gap between deaf people, those who can hardly hear, and those who can completely hear. We also get to respect each other the most.

It Promotes Silence

Just imagine if you’re fluent in it, you’ll be able to communicate with others who also understand without making noise. You can pass messages without interrupting anyone.

Now, let’s list these scholarships.

sign language scholarships

Sign Language Scholarships

Some of these scholarships are provided by schools, which means you need to be enrolled in them before you’ll be considered for the scholarship.

1. ASLTA – Dr. Nathie Marbury ASLHS Scholarship

American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) is partnering with the American Sign Language Honor Society (ASLHS) to provide the first nationwide scholarships. These scholarships are available to high school seniors or current college/university students majoring or minoring in the study of American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Culture/Studies, Deaf Education, or ASL/English Interpreting.

Deaf students are also encouraged to apply. $1,500 each will be awarded to 5 outstanding applicants in memory of their valued member of their community, Dr. Nathie Marbury.

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2. Daniel H. Pokorny Memorial Scholarship Award

This is one of the sign language scholarships established by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Board of Directors awarded to students who intend to be future sign language interpreters. To be eligible, you must be an associate or student member of RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc.) who has been active for 12 months before the application deadline.

The amount awarded varies based on the amount of funds received.

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3. Nicholas J. Deleonardis Scholarship of The American Sign Language Project

This scholarship worth $5,000 each was created to encourage undergraduate students to engage in projects centered on non-invasive technologies that will improve communication between Deaf and hearing people. It’s necessary that applicants are already enrolled in a baccalaureate program at an accredited four-year university in the United States, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0, plus other requirements.

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4. Jacob and Iris Wolf Endowed Sign Language Interpreting Scholarship

This is among the sign language scholarships awarded to Harper College students enrolled in interpreting coursework. The scholarship was created in memory of Dr. Harvey Wolf’s parents; Dr. Harvey and his father, Jacob were psychologists who worked with terminally ill patients, some of whom are Deaf.

This scholarship has been in existence for more than 2 decades.

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5. New Zealand Sign Language Interpreting Scholarship

This scholarship was established to help students study Auckland University of Technology’s Bachelor of Arts: New Zealand Sign Language – English Interpreting course. The scholarship will award $3,000 in annual funding with additional one-off travel and accommodation assistance worth a maximum of $1,500.

Applicants should either be New Zealand citizens or have rights to reside and work in New Zealand indefinitely or permanently.

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6. New Zealand Sign Language Tutor Scholarship

This is another sign language scholarship provided to citizens of New Zealand or students who have the right to reside and work in New Zealand indefinitely or permanently. The $3,000 scholarship is designed to support people to study Victoria University of Wellington’s Certificate in Deaf Studies – Teaching New Zealand Sign Language.

If you want to learn sign language from the beginning then this scholarship is not for you because applicants must be fluent in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).

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7. Scholarships in The Silent Garden

These scholarships are provided to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Deaf Education and Sign Language Interpreting at Fresno State University. Some of their sign language scholarships include;

  • Joseph S. and Mary R. Slotnick Scholarship
  • Silent Garden Sign Language Interpreting Scholarship
  • Michael A. Michner

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8. Goshen College – ASL Savanick Scholarship

In memory of Reuben Savanick, who was a devout Christian, an avid supporter of Deaf Ministries, a friend of the Deaf community, and a loving husband and father who died unexpectedly in April 2005 at the age of 53. This scholarship was created to financially assist Deaf or hearing students enrolled at Goshen College who have chosen to major in ASL Interpreting at GC.

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9. Columbia College Chicago – Michael Fryzlewicz Scholarship

This scholarship was established to assist in reducing tuition costs for students majoring in American Sign Language to pursue careers in the field of interpreting. The scholarship is worth up to $3,000 with half of it awarded in the Fall and the remaining half awarded in Spring.

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10. University College London – Snowdon Masters Scholarships

These scholarships are provided to students specializing in MSc in Language Sciences with specialisation in Sign Language and Deaf Studies. The Snowdon Masters Scholarships provide up to £30,000 to UK or international disabled students to study on any UK Masters programme.

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11. Critical Need Language Award

This $3,000 Award is basically for applicants who are studying a critical need language while abroad in a country or location in which the language is predominantly spoken. The award can also be used to study a foreign sign language. 

While applying for the award and you intend to enroll in French SL you should explain in your application that you will be studying reading, writing, speaking, and/or French sign language.

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12. ASL Summer Intensive Scholarship Campaign

This summer scholarship campaign is provided by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the school now offers American Sign Language levels 1-6 and one course in Deaf culture. Due to the competitiveness and the few number of spots available annually, the school decided to create this summer intensive.

They provide scholarship funds that will go toward fueling the growth of the ASL program.

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In summary, even though there are a handful of sign language scholarships provided by different organizations and schools, you will notice that their monetary value is not so much. It might not be enough for educational purposes, especially if you’re majoring or minoring in Sign Language.

Just like we told you earlier, endeavour to apply for other scholarships not necessarily exclusive to sign language. These scholarships can go a long way to help pay for tuition, and fund books and other educational expenses.

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