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Scholarship and Financial Aid

Scholarship and Financial Aid

Welcome to Chapel Haven Schleifer Center’s Financial Aid Webpage

This page lists scholarship opportunities available to current and prospective Chapel Haven Schleifer Center (CHSC) families, as well as grant and scholarship opportunities nationwide that may be worth exploring for you and your family.

Scholarships available to current and prospective Chapel Haven Schleifer Center (CHSC) families


CHSC’s Scholarship Committee, a subcommittee of our Board of Directors, is pleased to announce scholarship opportunities earmarked to help current and prospective CHSC families. We are indebted to the generosity of our families, who have chosen over the years to make these funds available.

CHSC’s Scholarship Policy flows from its mission statement: “Chapel Haven Schleifer Center provides lifelong individualized services for people with developmental and social disabilities, empowering them to live independent and self-determined lives.”  CHSC is delighted to offer financial assistance to adults entering and currently enrolled in our programs who have demonstrated financial need and to prospective families not yet enrolled but in need of support. CHSC currently has three funds that make this possible: The Poole Scholarship Fund, The Bershaw Temporary Scholarship Fund and the Baker Family Scholarship Fund.

Additional financial aid resources may sometimes be available as a result of funding from other sources.

Please scroll down to learn how to apply. CHSC uses TADS, an independent financial aid service, to help determine need.CHSC families who believe that their resources are not sufficient to meet program costs are highly encouraged to contact Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo in the Admissions Office initially for a discussion at (203) 397-1714, ext. 148 or 

The Baker Family Scholarship Fund

The Baker Family Scholarship Fund is established to fund scholarships for adults enrolled for at least one year in any of CHSC’s programs (REACH, SAIL, ASAT, ASAT Community Outreach, Supported Living).  Scholarships may be awarded to successful applicants to defray some of the annual costs related to education/continuing education classes, recreation, and Special Olympics participation.

The Baker Family Scholarship Fund was established by the family of Matthew Baker, a CHSC community member. We are grateful to the Bakers for making this opportunity available to families in need.

Baker Scholarship funds may only be drawn from the available earnings from the principal.  The annual disbursement from the Baker Family Fund may vary from year to year and the amount will be determined prior to the fiscal year by the Finance Committee. Scholarships drawn from Baker Family Scholarship Fund will not be renewed automatically although there is no limit to the number of times an applicant can apply for this scholarship while attending CHSC. Applications must be submitted each year.

The Baker Family Scholarship Fund is available to current residents and community members who may want to take a class (continuing education, wellness, fitness, art classes, etc) or get involved in weekend recreation and extracurricular activities like Special Olympics, but who lack the financial resources to pay for these. 

The Poole Scholarship Fund

The Poole Scholarship Fund will make make awards of at least $5,000 to be applied to the annual tuition for REACH and ASAT residential enrollees based on financial need as determined by the Scholarship Committee. Families must reapply each year in order to be considered for scholarship assistance. This scholarship fund is in memory of the late David Poole, a beloved member of the CHSC community whose family chose to honor him by helping other families.

The Bershaw Temporary Scholarship Fund

The Bershaw Temporary Scholarship Fund will fund scholarships to SAIL, ASAT Community Outreach and Supported Living clients.  The award process will take into consideration the educational, day program, recreation, vocational services, benefit coordination and supported living costs, as well as other information required by TADS, our third-party scholarship administrator.  Applicants must be sure to speak first with CHSC, as we will supply some of the necessary information to applicants to aid them in completing the scholarship application.

The Bershaw Temporary Scholarship Fund was established by the Bershaw family, whose son, David, resides in our SAIL program. We are indebted to the generosity of the Bershaws in making help available to families.

Scholarships of at least $5,000 per individual per year may be awarded.  Scholarships drawn from the Bershaw Temporary Scholarship Fund will not be renewed automatically although there is no limit to the number of times an applicant can apply for this scholarship while attending CHSC.  Applications must be submitted each year. Families seeking to renew their assistance will need to reapply each year prior to July 1, by logging into their existing TADS account to reapply.

Financial Aid Application for current and prospective Chapel Haven Schleifer Center families

To apply for assistance, families must submit an online application to TADS along with the required financial documents and a $39 application fee. Only online applications will be reviewed and considered.

Please speak first with Catherine DeCarlo at CHSC, as we will supply information to the applicant regarding the costs of tuition, vocational services, day services, supported living services, recreation and benefits coordination, in order to aid the applicant in this process. Please note that only online applications will be reviewed and considered.

Click here to apply at

Examples of documents that TADS will require include household members’ most recent completed federal tax forms (personal as well as business), W-2’s, recent pay stubs, income related documents and corporate, partnership and trust forms if a family owns 20% or greater interest in a corporation, partnership or other business entity or a beneficial interest in a trust. Applications will only be considered once all required supporting documents have been submitted.

Click here to apply at

Nationwide Scholarships

This next section is a helpful guide of grant and scholarship opportunities available nationally to families. We encourage you to explore these links to discover whether these funding opportunities might pertain to your family.

A Guide on How to Get Scholarships and Grants for Students with Disabilities

Excerpted from the Money Geek Website

Guide to Paying for College for People with Disabilities:

Alina Health Scholarship for People With Disabilities

This $1,000 scholarship is open to students with a sensory impairment or physical disability. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and residents of Minnesota.

Hydrocephalus Association Scholarship

This award of $1,000 is available to 14 students living with the challenges and complexities of hydrocephalus.

The Rise Scholarship

The Rise Scholarship Foundation offers awards of $2,500 to students with ADHD. The award is paid directly to the school.

Kelley Law Team Autism Scholarship

Open to anyone ages 16 to 30 with autism, this scholarship awards $1,000 each to two students pursuing a secondary education. Applicants submit an inspirational essay explaining how the scholarship will help them. Stories are posted on the Kelly Law Team website.


Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law is an Arizona law firm that advocates for individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents. The firm has 60 years of combined experience in personal injury matters and strives to make the legal process for all clients as smooth as possible. We understand how difficult it can be to pay for college and the financial burden it can bring. Hirsch & Lyon offers this legal scholarship every year to provide financial assistance to students taking the leap into a legal career. High school seniors or current college students pursuing law within the U.S. are eligible to apply. We select a winner annually to receive $500 to go toward their education.

KFM Making a Difference

This $500 scholarship was developed by Kerry Magro, a motivational speaker who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4. The scholarship is given out twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD or Autism)

Feldman & Royle, Attorneys at Law is pleased to announce two annual scholarships for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD or Autism). The scholarships are designed to assist applicants in furthering their education. Each of the $1,000 scholarships will be for tuition at an educational institution chosen by the applicant.

O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund

The mission of the O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund is to offer financial assistance to young adults with Down syndrome – 18 and older – who are continuing to enrich their lives by taking classes or enrolling in postsecondary educational programs.

Organization for Autism Research

Two scholarship opportunities of approximately $3,000 for students with ASD diagnosis attending post-secondary programs.

10 Things to Know About the ABLE Act

1. Briefly explain the ABLE Act and why it is so important?

The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities and their families to set up a special savings account for disability-related expenses.  Earnings on an ABLE account would not be taxed, and account funds would generally not be considered for the supplemental security income (SSI) program, Medicaid, and other federal means-tested benefits.

2. How does this differ from current law?

Current law makes savings for disability-related expenses difficult.  Individuals and families can face the loss of federal benefits if savings exceed certain limits.

3. Once signed into law by President Obama, how soon would people be able to set-up ABLE accounts?

Possibly in 2015.  Before accounts can be set up, regulations will have to be written and ABLE programs established in states.

4. Who is eligible for an ABLE account?

An eligible individual is someone who becomes disabled before age 26 and (1) receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI; or (2) files a disability certification under rules that the IRS will write.

5. What are the disability expenses covered under ABLE?

Expenses made for the benefit of a disabled individual for education; housing; transportation; employment training and support; assistive technology and personal support services; health, prevention, and wellness; financial management and administrative services; legal fees; expenses for oversight and monitoring; funeral and burial expenses; and any other expenses approved under regulations.

6. Does having an ABLE account affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?

Only if the ABLE account exceeds $100,000. SSI benefits would be suspended but not terminated. In other words, the beneficiary of the account would not receive a check but would retain eligibility for the SSI program.

7. Does it impact Medicaid eligibility?


8. Would ABLE regulations differ in each state?

Maybe. Although federal law applies uniformly to all states, individual states may regulate ABLE accounts differently.  Under current law, states provide different tax benefits for college savings accounts, which are similar to ABLE accounts.

9. Are there age requirements for an individual to open an ABLE account?

No, except that an eligible individual is someone who becomes disabled before age 26.

10. Where can people go to learn more?   

Excerpted from Autism Speaks website, for the full resource please visit:


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