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College Scholarship Program


The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) offers several scholarships for full-time students who are deaf and hard of hearing and who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited mainstream college or university. A limited number of scholarships are also available for those pursuing a graduate degree. Students who are pursuing a graduate degree in law or public policy are encouraged to apply for the George H. Nofer Scholarship which is specific to those fields; please see the page here - Nofer Scholarship - for an application.

AG Bell Scholarships are merit-based and award selection is highly competitive. On average, about 15% of applicants are selected for an award. While the number and amount of awards varies from year to year, in 2015, twenty awards were made ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Financial need has little impact on award selection; rather, the selection committee is looking for strong leaders with academic excellence and great character. Applicants may receive a total of two awards through the AG Bell College Scholarship program. 

The application period for the College Scholarship Program has passed.


In order to be eligible for this program, applicants must meet ALL of the following criteria:  

Hearing and Language:


  •  Listening and spoken language must be your primary mode of communication. 
  •  Hearing loss must have been diagnosed before your fourth birthday. 
  •  Hearing loss must be bilateral and in the moderately-severe to profound range. Unilateral hearing loss does not qualify.  
  •  If you use hearing aids, you must have an unaided Pure-Tone Average (PTA) of 60dB or greater in the better-hearing ear in the speech frequencies of 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz. Formula for calculating the PTA: On the unaided audiogram, look at the results for the better hearing ear at 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz and add those four numbers together, then divide that total by four. The result is the Pure Tone Average. To be eligible for this award, the child’s PTA must be 60 dB or greater..  
  •  If you use cochlear implants, you meet PTA requirement.  


University Enrollment:


  •  For the 2017-2018 academic year, the applicant must be a full-time student pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree at a mainstream four-year college or university. Colleges and technical schools that offer a two-year associates degree or a certificate do not meet this requirement. 


Academic Achievement:


  •  Applicants in the United States must have a minimum cumulative un-weighted GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale (equivalent minimums: 4.06 on a 5.0 scale, 5.68 on a 7.0 scale, 8.12 on a scale of 10 or 81.25 on a scale of 100). If your school does not include an unweighted GPA on your transcript, you must include a letter from the school that states what your unweighted GPA would be.
  •  For college freshman, this is cumulative unweighted GPA for grades 9-12 and the first semester of college. 
  •  For college sophomores or higher and graduate students/candidates, it is the cumulative GPA on your undergraduate (and graduate, if applicable) college transcripts for all semesters completed. For doctoral students/candidates, it is the cumulative GPA on your graduate degree transcripts for all semesters completed (undergraduate transcripts not needed). 
  •  Students who are applying from countries other than the United States must have a minimum 80% cumulative on their high school or secondary school transcripts. College students applying from countries other than the United States must have a ranking equivalent to a minimum 3.25 GPA; for example, in the UK, Australia and India, a minimum of an Upper Second Class ranking is required. 


We are very strict with eligibility criteria and deadlines. If your application is missing items, does not meet all the requirements or arrives after the deadline, it will be screened out of the process and not considered for an award. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE.


There are two (and only two) ways to submit your application. You can submit your application by e-mail to:; OR you can submit your application in paper copy to  

AGBell College Scholarship Program
3417 Volta Place NW
Washington, DC 20007

Things you Should Know About Submitting Your Application

The application has three parts: The Application Form; Transcripts; and Letters of Recommendation.

ALL of these materials must reach AG Bell before the deadline.

Application Form

The Application is four pages long plus a one-page essay. On page four, you must sign the application. Additional required attachments are:

an unaided audiogram and/or a CI reported dated no earlier than March 10, 2015;

a copy of application, acceptance or enrollment in a mainstream accredited university or college – these are required if you are an entering freshman or entering your first year of graduate school. All others will be confirmed by the college transcript.

Please be sure to put pages in the correct order. All pages must be one-sided so they can be transmitted electronically to the Selection Committee. Block out any Social Security numbers, Taxpayer Identification numbers or Personal Health Information. Please do not include any information we have not requested. Extra information will not be included in the application sent to the Selection Committee.

The application and all attachments must be typewritten and in English.

If you are submitting a paper copy (rather than emailing your application), all pages of the application and support materials should be submitted on 8½” x 11” or A4-sized paper.



You will need to submit official transcripts from your school(s). If your high school transcript does not show unweighted GPAs, you will need to ask the school for a letter explaining what your unweighted GPA would be.

If your school gives you the transcript, please attach it as the final page of your application. If your school will only mail official transcripts in a sealed envelope to AG Bell, please have them send the envelope to:

AG Bell College Scholarship Program
3417 Volta Place NW
Washington, DC 20007

Letters of Recommendation

You will need three letters of recommendation. Please ask your recommenders to complete the cover sheet, attach their one- or two-page letter of recommendation, and submit all pages to AG Bell either by email to: with your name as the subject line; or in paper copy to:

AG Bell College Scholarship Program
3417 Volta Place NW
Washington, DC 20007

 Be sure to let your references know that the cover sheet must be included with their recommendation; without it, your application will be considered incomplete.


Please note: 

We do not confirm receipt of applications upon delivery. If you would like to know whether or not your application was received, you may choose to request a delivery receipt if submitting by email, or send your application using a service that can confirm delivery such as US Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. Please do not require a signature upon delivery as this may delay the receipt of your package.  


  •  AG Bell does not accept responsibility nor make exceptions for any delays or delivery errors on the part of delivery services. To ensure timely delivery, please submit your application well in advance of the deadline. 
  •  Faxed applications are not accepted under any circumstances. 
  •  Late and incomplete applications are not considered under any circumstances. 
  •  Applications are not returned for any reason. 
 Please do not contact AG Bell seeking an exception to these policies. 


Administrative Processes & Notification 

Following the deadline, applications are opened and screened for eligibility and completeness. If you are found to be ineligible to apply, we will notify you by email that your application will not be considered by the committee. Applications that are eligible for consideration are then forwarded to the award selection committee for review; ineligible applications are destroyed. There are two rounds of review for scholarships. If your application is not selected to move on to the second round, you will be notified by email usually before May 31. If you move forward to the second round of review, you will be notified of the committee’s decision, usually by June 30. Awards are generally issued in July or August. Notification of all award decisions will be by email only.

Things to Consider as You Prepare Your Application    

On average, about 10-15% of eligible applications are selected to receive a scholarship. About one-quarter of the applications rate very highly – just tenths of points separate scholarship winners from non-scholarship winners. Here are some things you can do to improve your application. 

Scholarship awards are merit-based; financial need has little impact on award selection. Past scholarship recipients have demonstrated academic excellence (the average unweighted GPA of recipients is 3.8), effective leadership, exceptional personal qualities, and potential for ongoing contributions to society. Involvement in high school/college or community activities is a plus. Past scholarship recipients have demonstrated these types of skills, abilities and qualities:

  • Desire to be at the forefront in the creation and discovery of new knowledge 
  • Leadership skills and a desire to be a leader in service to society 
  • Broad world view and a zest for learning from people who are different from themselves in a diverse community of scholars 
  • Recognition of the importance of personal integrity and ethical decision making 
  • Enthusiastic pursuit of self-improvement 
  • Creativity and the ability to make the most of opportunities presented

 REMEMBEREvery applicant has experienced challenges related to hearing loss.  In many circles, that might earn “extra” points, but here, it’s just the starting point. 

WRITE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE—The review committee includes professionals working in the field of hearing loss and academic professors, some of whom may be deaf or hard of hearing themselves. They understand hearing loss, so it’s not necessary to explain yours or describe your technology. We’re interested in who you are and who you plan to be, so focus on how you make a difference.

ESSAY—Please do not repeat information in your essay that you’ve provide elsewhere in your application. Use this as an opportunity to tell a broader story and enhance the committee’s understanding of who you are and why you stand out. In short essays and the personal essay, correct grammar and sentence structure are vital; a creative writing style or great story can win you points.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION— Think carefully about whom you will ask to write letters of recommendation. Well-written letters from a teacher, professor, employer, supervisor, coach, extra-curricular activity sponsor, or hearing health professional can carry a lot of weight when they include detailed information about you. Letters from a guidance counselor, employer, RA, long-time family friend, or next door neighbor may not carry as much weight unless that person can share information about you that is significant. The review committee expects references to be relevant and recent. College freshman may include a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher, but at least one letter of recommendation should be from a college professor. For college sophomores and higher, the committee expects no letters of recommendation to be from a high school teacher.

 COVER SHEET—Be sure to let your references know that the cover sheet is a required element of their recommendation; without it, your application will be considered incomplete. If someone you’ve asked to be a reference cannot complete the cover sheet or must mark too many boxes as “cannot judge” or “cannot complete,” it would be wise to find a new reference. Cover sheets marked with too many unanswered questions aren’t helpful to the committee and can reduce your score and your chance for a scholarship.

PREVIOUS AWARD RECIPIENTS—Although some of your information will be the same, this is your chance to tell a different or updated story in your essays. Your letters of recommendation and cover sheets should also be updated. “Recycled” applications will not be considered for an award.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the AG Bell College Scholarship Program.

Do You Still Have Questions or Need Clarification?

We try to be clear in our instructions, but if you would like clarification about something or have a question, please ask. Not asking the question is NOT a case for reconsideration of your application, so it’s better to ask the question than to find out your application is considered ineligible for review.

Please email any questions or inquiries to:

It may take us several business days to answer, so please plan accordingly when submitting your questions – don’t wait until the last minute!