A midget scholarship is a scholarship exclusively available to dwarfs. These scholarships provide smaller people born with dwarfism with the help they need paying for their education. These scholarships were created in an attempt to create equal educational opportunities for those with dwarfism. Regardless of physical differences, every student has a right to acquire a secondary education. Most midget scholarships come from a large national nonprofit organization called Little People of America. This is the organization where the midget scholarship was originated. The LPA is well-funded, motivated, and widely respected organization.
Midget Scholarships from the Little People of America
There are certain requirements one must meet in order to qualify for a midget scholarship with Little People of America. One of these requirements is the student must have a medical diagnosis of dwarfism and must be no taller than 4’10” feet tall. Immediate family of dwarfs who are paid members of the Little People of America organization are also eligible for midget scholarships. This also means if you have dwarfism and qualify, your family may be eligible for help funding their college as well. Sometimes students disabled by other means can be granted these scholarships as well. It is possible for even non-disabled students who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance to receive this scholarship also. However, students with medically diagnosed Dwarfism are always granted these scholarships first. After the funded student graduates, the funds have to be paid back by means of serving their community in a way that simply demonstrates thanks.
In 1957, Billy Barty, a popular actor born with dwarfism, made a public national appeal for all others diagnosed with dwarfism in America to gather together with him in Reno, Nevada. Twenty people gathered at the event with Billy Barty. These people of short stature shared stories and ideas with each other and formed the Little People of America together as a result. Barty wanted to recognize people with dwarfism and shed light on others about the challenges people with dwarfism face everyday. He made it a goal to start off by spreading dwarfism awareness to the public because at the time, dwarfs were mislabeled and society misunderstood what dwarfism actually was. Little People of America not only provides Midget Scholarships, but numerous types of support for smaller people. This includes adoptions, employment, ample resources, medical discounts and simply being around, and conversing with, others with dwarfism. The organization established its constitution in the 1960’s and formed their Medical Advisory Board in 1963. This board now consists of orthopedic, genetic therapists, neurologists, 25 geneticists, and researchers specializing in the treatment of patients diagnosed with dwarfism. In a three-year span, from 1966 to 1969, Little People of America’s membership doubled. In 1972, surveys revealed that many members of Little People of America were now employed in various career fields. In the 1990’s, the American’s with Disabilities Act became federal law and made many states make buildings more accessible as well as more employment options available for those with disabilities, including dwarfism. LPA continued to grow with both their passion for assisting students of small stature and their overall membership. LPA’s midget scholarships, along with all other support the organization has available for those with dwarfism, has truly changed many little people’s lives and continues to change even more today.
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