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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Youth Scholarship: Frequently Asked Questions and Planning Tips

How on Earth are you going to get yourself to the NCIL Annual Conference this summer and make sure it is affordable? Well, read the five questions and answers below, along with a list of what past attendees have found to be helpful money-saving strategies. Consider applying for the NCIL Youth Scholarship! This award covers conference expenses so that young disabled people can travel to Washington, D.C. and experience the power of the Independent Living Movement firsthand.

Mobilize - Resistance through Action: 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"Question 1: Who is eligible for the scholarship?

Answer: The only requirements to apply are:

  • identifying as a Deaf person and / or a person with a disability or disabilities; and
  • being 26 years old or younger (NCIL categorizes “youth” as 26 years old or younger).

Question 2: How much is the scholarship amount?

Answer: it depends on where you are applying from. We have three different levels of scholarships depending on the distance you would have to travel to attend the conference. 

(Note: Please do not select Regional Option if you are from the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area) *

  • Local (Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area): $110 to cover registration costs
  • Regional (NCIL Region 3: DE, PA, MD, DC, VA, WV): Up to $975 available to support registration, airfare, and hotel costs
  • National (Everywhere else): Up to $1,200 available to support registration, airfare, and hotel costs

Question 3: I have looked into travel and hotel costs and the total is greater than I would receive from my scholarship. Can I get more money?

Answer: Unfortunately, we cannot provide more money than is listed for your travel area. We do not give any scholarship awards that exceed $1,200.00.

Question 4: Does NCIL handle all of the travel and hotel accommodations once the scholarship has been awarded?

Answer: NO! This is a reimbursement scholarship. If you were selected to receive a scholarship, you are responsible for paying all costs upfront and handling all logistical arrangements for travel and hotel accommodations. Once we receive your receipts along with your reimbursement request form, which will be emailed to you when you are notified of your scholarship amount, we will mail you a check. Upon receiving your scholarship notification, you will be directed to fill out a free registration form, so you will not have to front the cost for the $110.00 registration.

Question 5: Do I have to do anything after I am awarded the conference scholarship?

Answer: Yes. Remember to submit your receipts – no receipts and no reimbursement form, no reimbursement check! Also, it is our hope that you will want to remain active in the NCIL Youth Caucus and other areas of the Independent Living Movement. Being a 2018 scholarship awardee gives you the benefit of being a NCIL member, free of charge, until December 2019. We urge you to participate in all aspects of what we do.

Scholarship tips:

  • If you cannot pay the costs up front, consider reaching out to local disability-related organizations that might support you financially in attending the conference. Examples include local Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils, regional centers, colleges or universities, or DD Councils. We often work with entities like these so that they can put forth the money for youth to attend our conference, and then we reimburse those entities directly.
  • To save money, consider staying at another hotel that is near the conference and/or look into getting a roommate for the conference. That way you can split the hotel bill in half.
  • Also consider looking into local hostels or Airbnb if you cannot afford a hotel.
  • To save money on food, go to a D.C. grocery store once you arrive and stock up on snacks such as water, granola bars, lunch meat sandwiches, or foods that can be made with just hot water in a hotel room. Note that only one meal will be provided throughout the conference: the awards luncheon.
  • The hotel at which the conference will be held is just steps away from all kinds of restaurants, including common chains and more localized D.C. favorites. To save a bit of cash, venture out and explore the food options around you rather than eating in the hotel for your meals.

Have questions? Email Hindley Williams at hindley@ncil.org.

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