NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship

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

The NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship will offer eight (8) scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities who are interested in pursuing a career in the communications, media, or entertainment industry. Each recipient will receive $5,625 to help cover the cost of education at their current college or university.

Tony Coelho

Former Congressman Tony Coelho

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 2011, Coelho served as the Chairman of AAPD.

Application for the 2020 cycle has closed. Please check back in late Spring 2021 for more information for the 2021 cycle.

Scholarship Application Process

How to Apply

Students interested in this application must complete an online application including three (3) essay questions, and submit a resume, unofficial transcript, and letter of recommendation.


  • Applicants must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at a US college or university by the fall semester of the application year.
  • Applicants must self-identify as an individual with any type of disability.
  • Applicants must be interested in pursuing a career in the communications, media, or entertainment industry – all majors are welcome to apply.
  • While you do not need to be a US citizen to be eligible for this scholarship, you must be currently enrolled in a college or university in the United States.

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 disabilities by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).

Applicants chosen to receive an 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.

Please contact scholarship@www.aapd.com or 202-521-4316 with any questions or concerns.

Our Sponsors