Photograph of a girl in a graduation gown kneeling next to a golden retriever in a cap and gown, round blue graphic next to image that says "Apply Today, MDA COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP" and lists website

MDA Announces College Scholarship Program

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is excited to announce the launch of its inaugural MDA College Scholarship program. Continuing MDA’s endeavors to support and empower individuals living with neuromuscular disease to pursue their educational goals and thrive in the workplace, the new initiative is designed to cultivate a network of support and leadership development for students to pursue educational and career ambitions. MDA will grant 10 merit-based college scholarships at up to $5,000 each, for community members planning to or already pursuing higher education at an accredited college or university.

The program opened on February 26, 2024, and is seeking applicants who have a commitment to community involvement, personal growth, and leadership. Beyond financial support, the program introduces students to an online community of peers and encourages the exchange of experiences, advice, and the sharing of resources. Students can submit applications at by March 31, 2024, to be considered for the first round of awarded scholarships.

Headshot of Scott Wiebe, a while man with a beard smiling outside in a blue polo shirt

Scott Wiebe, MDA Director of Community Programs

We checked in with Scott Wiebe, MDA’s Director of Community Programs, to learn more about this exciting opportunity.

Why has MDA decided to create and offer this scholarship program?

This program highlights MDA’s commitment to supporting young adults living with neuromuscular disease. By funding opportunities for those pursuing higher education, MDA will help to empower young adults to acquire the crucial skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the workforce.  Advancements in research and clinical care have made major impacts on the neuromuscular community, leading to more people from the community pursuing higher education than ever before. MDA is eager and excited to launch this new College Scholarship program as part of our larger effort to focus on resources, supports, and programs geared toward the young adult community.

Who do you hope to recognize and reward with this program?

The MDA College Scholarship program focuses on community engagement and leadership as key areas of focus. Engaging with our community impacts us tremendously, and individuals have a great impact on the community around them as well. Community engagement can have such a reciprocal effect in this way, as we raise awareness, gain perspective, and so much more. Additionally, we recognize the vast importance and impact of leadership, and the multitude of ways in which acts of leadership, large and small, can be demonstrated. There are so many phenomenal young adults across the neuromuscular disease community, whose everyday lives feature these attributes, and we are incredibly excited to recognize and reward them through this program. We encourage anyone living with a neuromuscular disease who is pursuing higher education and committed to their future goals to apply.

How do you anticipate this program will make an impact?

Since the early stages of developing the MDA College Scholarship program, we have sought to ensure MDA does more than just provide a financial payment to support scholarship recipients. As a part of a larger focus and initiative for this age group, MDA is focused on building additional opportunities for support and connection and cultivating a network of support and leadership development for students, to better prepare young adults for a successful future. Some of these elements will be designed for MDA College Scholarship recipients specifically, but many are intended to impact the community at large. We are excited to launch this program as a platform for students to achieve their academic goals while building a sense of community.

How many scholarships will be awarded in this inaugural year?

MDA plans to award 10 merit-based college scholarships at up to $5,000 each in 2024.

What is the application process like?

Applications are submitted through an online platform where applicants must create an account. The application includes three main sections – demographic information, introductory questions, and a section of short essays. The demographic information is gathered to help MDA better understand the background characteristics of applicants but is not shared with reviewers nor utilized in the evaluation process. The introductory questions allow applicants to share about their involvement in the neuromuscular community as well as the impact that receiving this scholarship would have on them. Finally, the short essay section allows applicants to further share about their community engagement as well as their leadership qualities. We are striving for a straightforward application process, while ensuring we capture sufficient information for the evaluation process.

Who will be judging/scoring the applications?

MDA will utilize a scholarship review committee to evaluate MDA College Scholarship program applications. Review committee members will be familiar with MDA and neuromuscular disease but will not be MDA Staff or direct family members of potential scholarship award recipients. The review committee will be comprised of members of the wider MDA community – including people living with neuromuscular disease, family members of people living with neuromuscular disease, clinicians, MDA volunteers, etc.

Can eligible applicants apply year after year? 

Yes! The MDA College Scholarship is not automatically renewable, but all eligible applicants are encouraged to consider applying each year, regardless of prior year award status.

Can donors set up scholarship funds with MDA?

We appreciate anyone interested in supporting MDA’s mission and this important program! If you are interested in learning more about contributing to a scholarship fund with MDA, please contact David Sandler at for more information.







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