One of the greatest challenges for college attendance is how to pay for it, and this can be particularly true for students with intellectual disabilities. Typically, students with intellectual disabilities have not been eligible for federal financial aid, due to the non-traditional ways that they may access college (non-matriculated, very part-time, etc). The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, for the first time, allows these students access to federal financial aid such as Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants and the Federal Work-Study program. However, as of June 2009, the rules governing how these students will become eligible have not yet been written, so students are not yet able to take advantage of this resource. Once the rules have been completed, information will be published on this site.
For students with disabilities, here are other possible sources of funding for college.
Dual enrollment occurs when high school students enroll and participate in college courses, while still being supported by their local school district. The advantage to this type of enrollment is that a student can receive individualized support from their high school (under IDEA) while also having the opportunity to experience college. In this circumstance, the school district may be responsible for transportation and educational coaching. Also, the school system may cover the cost of college tuition, fees, and/or books. Parents will need to discuss this option with their district independently to make these arrangements.
New Jersey Department of Human Services
Division of Developmental Disabilities (800)-832-9173 http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/index.html
The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) provides public funding for services and supports that assist people with developmental disabilities. These services are offered in the community by more than 250 New Jersey agencies and in seven residential developmental centers. There is no entitlement for services funded by DDD. However, the division strives to make the most effective use of available funding so that it can serve as many people as possible. DDD determines through an application process who is eligible* to receive services it funds. Generally, to receive services, you must show that you have a severe, chronic physical and/or mental impairment that: manifests in the developmental years, before age 22; is life-long; and substantially limits you at least in three of the following life activities: self-care, learning, mobility, communication, self-direction, economic self sufficiency and the ability to live independently.
Some conditions that might be considered a developmental disability include: mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spina bifida, autism or a neurological impairment.
Department of Social Security Administration (800) 772-1213
This program was established for the aged and people with disabilities and provides monthly stipend and NJ Medicaid. Parents may apply on behalf of the children.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (609) 292-5987
Eligibility generally is based on the presence of a mental or physical disability that is an obstacle to employment. Resources and services may be available to students who will need on the job training or support to find a job.
Division of Disability Services (DDS) (888) 285-3036 or (609)-292-7800
Personal Assistance Services Program (PASP)
Mercer County PASP Coordinator 609-989-6459
Services include assistance with activities of daily living and household duties essential to the individual’s health and comfort.
Individual Training Accounts
ITAs are funds set aside by the One-Stop Career Centers to help individuals pay for training that will lead to obtaining employment. However, eligibility for an ITA is at the discretion of the local One-Stop. Often, an individual must demonstrate a financial need and the likelihood of improved employability as a result of receiving further training. For more information, visit the Department of Labor website.
Plans for Achieving Self-Support
PASS Plans were developed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an incentive to encourage individuals who may be receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI) to enter the workforce. In essence, this plan allows an individual to work and save money and not be penalized by a deduction from their SSI or SSDI check. However, there are restrictions on what the saved money may be used for. To learn more about PASS Plans in general, or to find out what is covered under this type of plan, go to: http://www.passplan.org
Student Financial Aid
With the passage of the Higher Education Act of 2008 federal funding has been set aside to support students who are attending a Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary (CTP) college program. CCS has been approved as a Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary program by the Federal Office of Postsecondary Education. Students who are accepted into the CCS program may apply using the FASFA form obtained on line.
Based on Federal Financial Aid determination of eligibility, students may be eligible to receive Federal PELL grants, Federal Work Study (FWS) and/or Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants ( FSEOG) funds. Student loans are not available.