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McBurney Disability Resource Center

Program Information

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Welcome to the McBurney Disability Resource Center Scholarship page. McBurney scholarships are funded through the generosity of McBurney donors. 

Students must meet the criteria below to be considered for the McBurney scholarship program:

  • Current or incoming UW-Madison student (NOTE: Incoming students can complete a scholarship application as soon as they apply to UW-Madison.)
  •  Disability status must be confirmed by McBurney. Students receive a McBurney Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations form (VISA) to confirm their disability status.
  • Undergraduate, graduate or professional school student
  • Completion of the FAFSA by the Office of Student Financial Aid's December 1 priority date to ensure consideration of financial need in scholarship scoring
  • Completion of all other application instructions listed below by the scholarship deadline
  • Enrolled at UW-Madison at the time the scholarship is awarded

Students complete the McBurney Disability Resource Center General Scholarships application for all McBurney scholarships. The only exception is the Arndt Family Scholarship which has its own application and deadline.

Award amounts vary depending on available funds but generally range from $500 to $2,000. 

Application Information

    Please complete all the steps below by the specified deadlines to apply for McBurney scholarships.

    1. Verify disability status:
      • If you don't already have a McBurney Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) form, complete all four steps at How to Become a McBurney Client by the scholarship deadline. 
      • If you have a McBurney VISA that will expire before December 23, 2017, you must obtain a new VISA by the scholarship deadline.  The new VISA must have an expiration date on or after December 23, 2017.
    1. Verify financial need:
      • Submit a FAFSA to determine financial need for the upcoming year by the Office of Student Financial Aid's December 1 priority date to be considered for scholarships that require a FAFSA (Arndt and Ridley) or to receive a financial need score greater than 0. The 2017-18 FAFSA is available NOW and uses 2015 federal tax information; this is a change from previous years!
      • International students should submit an International Student - Financial Need Addendum by the scholarship deadline.
      • Submit a Letter of Special Circumstances to the Office of Student Financial Aid if you want disability-related costs considered for your general UW-Madison financial aid application.  For directions, see "How do I inform you of special circumstances?" on the Office of Student Financial Aid's General FAQ page.
      • Students with minimal financial need should be aware that the Wisconsin Experience and Meyherhoff awards take financial need into consideration only if all other factors are equal.
    1. Ensure two people complete the online recommendation form by the scholarship deadline:
      • Enter the names and email addresses of your recommenders under the "Recommendations" tab in the online scholarship application.
      • Tell recommenders to expect an email with a link for completing their recommendations online. Tell them they will be asked to explain their relationship to you and the qualities that make you a good candidate for a scholarship. Ensure they are aware they must complete the recommendation by the deadline or your application will not be considered.
      • We prefer that one recommendation come from a current or former instructor.
      •  McBurney staff, family members, and friends are not eligible to write recommendations.
    1. If you an incoming transfer student, or an incoming graduate/professional school student who did NOT receive your last degree from UW-Madison:
      • Upload a transcript(s) under the "Document Uploads" tab in the online scholarship application. The transcript does not need to be an official copy. Undergraduate transfers should provide a transcript from their current or most recent school. Incoming graduate/professional school students should provide a transcript from the school that awarded their most recent degree.
    1. See Scholarships@UW-Madison - Main Pages and Features to preview the structure of a typical Scholarships@UW-Madison application.


    1. Go to the Scholarships@UW-Madison Student Application to match to scholarship applications. You must answer "yes" to the question asking if you have a condition that could be considered a disability to match to McBurney scholarship applications. McBurney applications open in early November. You may match to other UW applications that are also open at that time.


    1. Once you finish your scholarship application, you must submit it by clicking the "Submit Application" button under the "Submit" tab.  You can submit your application before recommendations are completed; however, you are still responsible for ensuring your recommenders meet the scholarship deadline.  Monitor the status of your recommendations on your "My Scholarships" dashboard.  Send reminders, as needed. An application will not be marked as "completed" until your recommendations are done.


    1. Check your email regularly ( email if activated) for reminders about steps that still need to be completed, especially disability verification steps.


    1. If you or your recommenders encounter problems or have additional questions about McBurney scholarships, please email .

    Scholarship Awards

    1. When will award decisions be made?
    McBurney General Scholarships - July
    Arndt Family Scholarship - March
    1. Why does it take so long?

        Time is needed to evaluate eligibility based on disability documentation and phone or in-person intake appointments with McBurney accommodation specialists, verify financial need, await final admission decisions at the end of April for transfer students, read and score applications, and hold scholarship committee meetings to select award recipients.

    1. How will applicants be notified?

           Applicants will receive reminders and notification of awards via their email address.

    1. How are awards distributed?

           Most awards are applied directly to fall tuition.  The Meyerhoff award is generally given the following spring around May.

    1. What additional steps must be completed by non-resident aliens who receive scholarship awards?

           Before scholarships are disbursed through the payroll system, non-resident aliens may need to complete a W-4 form, submit information requested by the Glacier software program for foreign national students, complete an ITIN, etc. Specific instructions based on individual circumstances will be provided at the time of the award.

    How are Scholarship Applications Scored?

    • Financial Need:

    Financial need comprises about one third of the total points in the scholarship rating system. The Wisconsin Experience and Meyerhoff scholarships take financial need into consideration only if all other rating criteria are equal. Students should be sure to outline disability-related costs such as attendant care, specialized transportation, and adaptive equipment or assistive technology (e.g., wheelchairs, hearing aids, screen readers, etc.). They should also note any barriers to employment opportunities or special family circumstances that may impact their financial situation.

    • Academic Record:

    In addition to overall GPA, consideration will be given to credit load, other obligations, and impact of disability on learning or time available for academic activities.

    • Education and Career Goals:

    Applicants should clearly articulate their educational and career goals. The committee will evaluate whether the goals are realistic and whether the relationship between class level and career plan is appropriate.  Excellent understanding of self and goals gets high marks.

    • Co-Curricular:

    Criteria include the degree and quality of involvement, the types of associations and organizations, leadership responsibilities, and the impact of disability on co-curricular involvement.  Only information from the last 4 years is evaluated.

    • Recommendations:
             Outstanding and unequivocal recommendations get high marks. Recent and
            specific recommendations rate higher than historic and general recommendations.
      Program Website  

      Contact Information

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      McBurney Disability Resource Center
      702 W. Johnson St., Suite 2104
      Madison, WI  53715
      Phone: 608-263-2741

      Applications Opened Yearly

      Scholarships for this Program

      Scholarships Descriptions
      A campus-wide scholarship for incoming freshmen with visual impairments established by John D. Arndt.
      A campus-wide scholarship for students with disabilities. The Delta Gamma Alumnae Association established this annual scholarship program.
      A campus-wide scholarship for students with disabilities, established by David W. Adams in memory of his step-father, a 1924 graduate of the School of Commerce.
      A campus-wide scholarship for students with disabilities, established by the late Ethelmae S. Merriam.
      A campus-wide scholarship for students with disabilities established through the Harold W. Kirchen Endowment Fund.
      A campus wide scholarship for students with hearing, mobility, and visual disabilities, established by the Jessie Ridley Foundation, Inc.
      A campus-wide scholarship for students with disabilities.
      Established by Mr. Harvey "Bud" Meyerhoff, a successful businessman, philanthropist, and 1948 graduate of UW-Madison, the Meyerhoff Undergraduate Excellence Awards honor students who combine academic achievement with leadership and service to campus and/or community. The recipient chosen by McBurney must...
      A scholarship for students with learning disabilities, AD/HD or autism established by Kristine and Robert Newlin.
      A campus-wide scholarship for students with disabilities established through the Robert W. Deaton Trust.
      A campus-wide scholarship for students with disabilities. This scholarships is available through the generosity of Gregory C. Piazza and family and The John and Sally Wolozyn Memorial Scholarship Fund.
      A campus-wide scholarship for students with disabilities established by Blair H. Mathews and Karen L. Johnson Mathews. The fund is intended to promote participation of students with disabilities in the Wisconsin Experience; it supports all types of student experiences including...
      Scholarships marked with FAFSA required prior to awarding decisions in the list above require a completed Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for awarding decisions. To learn more about applying for financial aid, please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website.