OAR Scholarship Program


Our scholarship program provides $3,000 scholarships to students across the autism spectrum. We are pleased to invite applications from persons with an autism diagnosis (DSM-IV or later criteria) pursuing full-time, post-secondary, undergraduate education or vocational-technical training in any of the following:  4-year undergraduate college or university; 2-year undergraduate college; trade, technical or vocational school; or cooperative life skills programs.

Annual Amount


Open To

Students diagnosed with autism pursuing a full-time, post-secondary undergraduate education

Additional Selection Criteria


Any individual with an established autism diagnosis and who will be attending an accredited post-secondary institution of higher education in the United States for the Fall 2021/Spring 2022 semesters is eligible to apply.

Eligible individuals need to be enrolled on a full-time basis (minimum 6 credits) or be working toward certification or accreditation in a particular field (e.g., studying to be a paralegal, chef, etc.).  Past recipients of a Schwallie Family Scholarship/Lisa Higgins Hussman scholarship or immediate family members of any person serving on OAR's Board of Directors or Scientific Council are not eligible to apply.

Application Process

Applicants must choose between one of the following options:


Supports students attending two year universities, life skills or postsecondary programs, or vocational, technical, or trade schools. Hussman applicants typically make up the pool of talented students who face daily challenges related to autism and attend programs that assist in skill-building, job-readiness, and other transition-related skills.


Supports students attending two or four year universities. Schwallie applicants typically pursue degrees at four year universities. Many applicants with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome choose to apply for this program.


Due to the sensitive nature of medical information and the volume of applications we receive, the application process assumes the applicant has an autism diagnosis from a licensed medical professional. Once we identify finalists, we require each applicant to submit copies of the medical documentation that established their autism diagnosis. This is not part of the application process. Before applying, however, each applicant should review the proof of diagnosis criteria:

  • Clearly stated diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder
  • Diagnosis conducted by a licensed medical professional
  • Information about testing or evaluations conducted by the medical professional (ie. CARS, ADOS, Vineland, psychiatric examination)

Please refer to this checklist to ensure that your documentation contains all the information OAR needs.

Note: Based on recent changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria for autism spectrum diagnoses, OAR will be asking all scholarship finalists to verify that they meet criteria for either a DSM-IV or DSM-5 diagnosis.

TO APPLY, GO TO:  https://researchautism.smapply.org/


We exclusively use an online application system. Applicants will select either the Schwallie Family Scholarship or the Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship. Our scholarship application contains basic contact information, date of diagnosis, proof of enrollment, and three short essay questions. Students are expected to complete the applications on their own.

In the case of applicants for the Lisa Higgins Hussman Scholarship whose written communications skills may be more limited, we require two letters of recommendation. The first letter of recommendation must come from a teacher, counselor, coach, or other non-relative. The second letter letter must come from a parent or guardian in the form of a personal letter of support.

For Schwallie Family Scholarship applicants, one letter of recommendation from a non-relative may be submitted if the applicant chooses to do so.


May 3, 2021


Information not given

For the application or more information go to: