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NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship

Thanks to a generous contribution from NBCUniversal, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is proud to announce the creation of the NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship.


The NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship will offer four scholarships to 2nd year associate students; undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and graduate students with disabilities pursuing communication or media-related degrees.  Each recipient will receive $5,625 for the tuition and fees at their college or university.





Coehlo Hearne


This scholarship has been named in honor of Tony Coelho, a former United States Representative from California and the primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Coelho was elected to Congress in 1978 and served for six terms until 1989.  During his terms, Coelho authored the original ADA, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. By 1994, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 800,000 more people with severe disabilities were employed than when the ADA was first enacted, in large part thanks to the work of Coelho, his successors, and predecessors.

From 1994 to 2001, after being appointed by President Bill Clinton, Coelho served as Chairman of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.  He also worked as the Vice Chair of the National Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities. In 1998, Clinton appointed Coelho as the United States Commissioner General at the 1998 World Expo in Portugal. Clinton also appointed Coelho as Co-Chair to the U.S. Census Monitoring Board, a position he held until his appointment as general chairman of the Gore Presidential Campaign.

From June 2009 to June 2010, Coelho served as the Chairman of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization. 



Any 2nd year associate's degree student; undergraduate sophomore, junior, or senior; or graduate student who self-identifies as an individual with any type of disability and is pursuing a communication or media related degree is invited to apply.

Please note: You will not be required to disclose your specific disability; however, your application for this scholarship will signify that you consider yourself a person with a disability.  This scholarship is run specifically for students with disabilites by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation's largest cross-disability membership organization.

Applicants chosen to recieve a NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship release all information contained in their application for use on the AAPD website and in public press releases, including releases to the program funders and potential employees.


How to Apply

Applicants must submit the following items.

  • The application (click to download)
  • A resume
  • An official transcript (for the degree you a currently pursuing)
  • Two 300-350 word eassys (see application for topics)
  • A letter of recommendation from a professor or other academic advisor

Please note: All applications must be submitted in an accessible format.  Any candidate who submits an application in an inaccessible format will be automatically disqualified.

Submit all applications to  We accept transcripts in electronic and paper formats.  Paper transcripts should be mailed to the following address.

American Association of People with Disabilities

Attn: Scholarships

2013 H St. NW, 5th Floor

Washington, D.C. 20006


What Happens Next?

1.     Completed applications received by AAPD will be collected and submitted for an anonymous review by our Scholarship Review Team. 


o     Please note: All applicants will be evaluated based on demonstrated leadership characteristics, the connectivity between your degree and the disability community, engagement within the communications and/or media fields, difficulty of coursework, success in coursework, and character.  AAPD reserves the right to alter this list during the selection process.


2.     Seven applications will be selected for a final anonymous review by our Selection Committee, consisting of AAPD Board Members, Interns, Staff, and an NBCUniversal Representative.

3.     Recipients selected to receive a scholarship will be notified.


AAPD expects to mail scholarship checks directly to the recipients’ colleges or universities for tuition and fees upon the receipt of IRS Form W9.


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