Tory’s Freshman Year Opportunity Cost College Fund

Despite being fully transparent about his Autism during the in-depth application and interview, the Navy offered Tory a Full NROTC Scholarship then rescinded just two months later. 

The Navy cited Tory's autism diagnosis as a reason for the denial. A diagnosis he was upfront about throughout his entire application. In fact, it was the focus of his admissions essay. 

"He talked about how proud he was of all of his accomplishments as a child of autism," said his mom, Vanessa Ridgeway. 

The NROTC acceptance letter says the scholarship is contingent on several things, including being medically qualified. After the Navy received his medical records, they denied him, citing his autism. 

"It's very difficult to just find something else when you've spend two-thirds of your life going for something and then right when you have it in your hand, it's yanked away from you," said Tory Ridgeway. 

Vanessa Ridgeway says she is trying to understand the disconnect. Why they would admit him, knowing his diagnosis, only to reject him in the end. 

"Never did we think, 'oh, they didn't pay attention to the fact he said he's a child with autism and he's overcome this.' I was devastated, my husband was devastated," she said. 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University told WUSA9 it is not involved in the NROTC admissions process. Although the program is housed on their campus, the process is solely in the hands of the U.S. Navy. 

Navy spokesperson Phillip Chitty told WUSA9 the Navy was not able to comment on the situation. But the uniformed service does have its medical standards policy onlin

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Tory Ridgeway 
Greater Upper Marlboro, MD