Center for Autism and Related Disabilities

New Endowed Scholarship Provides Support for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Written By: Camille Dolan '98 | December 15, 2021

Group of five students sitting together, looking at a laptop and smiling.
A new scholarship for UCF students with autism spectrum disorder will help ease their financial burden.

A new endowed scholarship at the UCF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) will help ease some of the financial burden for UCF students with autism spectrum disorder and their families. 

The idea was conceived after many conversations with families and CHPS faculty, who highlighted that this unique scholarship was needed to help support a more inclusive student population.  

Judee Samuels and Terri Daly, at CARD, broached the idea of creating an endowed scholarship with Providing Autism Links and Support, a nonprofit organization  established by parents of children with ASD. The PALS board of dedicated business people collaborates with CARD to enhance support services for children and adults who have ASD in Central Florida. PALS leadership enthusiastically agreed to fund the scholarship, and by endowing it, the scholarship will last in perpetuity. 

Not too long ago, the idea of someone with ASD going to college was thought to be impossible. But that mentality has changed. However, funding is still a large hurdle for many families to overcome. 

Establishing this scholarship was a natural fit for PALS. PALS board members are strong advocates for those with ASD, and they also help strengthen community ties with local businesses by dispelling myths about autism. 

Preference for the recipients of The Providing Autism Links & Support (PALS) Scholarship will be given to students who are registered with UCF CARD; if the students are not served by CARD, preference will be given to students with ASD from Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Brevard, Lake, Osceola and Sumter counties. The amount of the scholarship will be based on the funds available in any given year. 

“We have students at UCF with autism spectrum disorder,” Samuels says. “And they are just like our other Knights – each one an individual with their own strengths and challenges, and ready to Charge On! into a bright future.”  


More information about how to apply for the scholarship will be released by CHPS in the spring.


If you would like to support this fund, donations can be made at

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To help fund student scholarships, faculty excellence and innovative programming.

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