Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement Awards

For Learning Ally members who are completing undergraduate or graduate degrees and are blind or visually impaired

DEADLINE: Applications must be submitted, emailed or postmarked no later than January 31st.


Each year, the Mary P. Oenslager Scholastic Achievement awards are presented to Learning Ally members who are completing undergraduate or graduate degrees, and who are blind or visually impaired, in recognition of academic achievement, outstanding leadership, and service to others.

Mary P. Oenslager was a friend of Anne Macdonald, our founder. She began contributing to Learning Ally, formerly RFB&D, in 1953 and, in 1959, helped us establish the Scholastic Achievement Awards program, personally funding the awards. Mary P. Oenslager shaped the program and enjoyed getting to know the winners each year. In addition to her financial support, she was an active volunteer, serving on our Board of Directors, and actively recruited individual and corporate supporters.

Offered since 1991, the awards are given to students who are chosen by a selection committee. Learning Ally awards top winners $6,000 each and special honors winners $3,000 each. Winners will be notified of their scholarship awards in early 2024.

Applicants should be aware that:

All scholarship awardees must be capable and willing to publicly share their story and represent Learning Ally as a spokesperson and advocate at various local, virtual and national events. Costs associated with these events will be covered by Learning Ally.

Scholarship Application Requirements

Candidates that meet all of the eligibility criteria must submit the following documents:

1. A fully completed and signed personal application

2. Personal narrative in writing and video recording about your blindness or visual impairment and how Learning Ally changed your life.

3. Details of any milestones, honors, awards, and noted achievements, including educational honors, special awards, honorary society memberships, and any special accomplishments (recognition, scholarships, and talents).

4. A brief description of any of your extracurricular, community activities, and leadership roles. Please provide time frames and the extent and level of involvement.

5. One letter of recommendation for this award from someone (must be a non-relative and not a legal guardian) who has had a positive influence/impact on your academic performance and success. This may be a teacher, tutor, community leader, or school administrator who knows you personally and can speak to your classroom performance and extracurricular activities. The letter of recommendation must be accompanied by a referral form and personally signed by the author.

6. An official transcript of your grades from your most recent degree may be required if you are selected in the pool of final candidates.


  • Only fully completed applications will be considered for the awards.
  • Please DO NOT send additional information (such as news clippings, photos, or additional references) beyond that which has been specifically requested. Such information will not be considered and will not be returned.
  • Applications must be submitted no later than January 31, 2024.


Questions? Contact Customer Success at or call (800)221-4792.



To apply for this award, you must be able to respond affirmatively and check all of the following eligibility criteria:

Applicants should be aware that:

All requirements should be met

Congratulations! You meet all of our requirements, please login and proceed to an application.