< Children with Special Needs
Financial Aid for Postsecondary
sources of financial aid for the post-high school education
of your child with special needs.
What is Financial Aid?
Financial aid refers to programs that help students and their
families pay for education and training after high school. Financial
aid comes from a variety of sources including:
For additional information, see: Financial
Aid Resources for Post-High School Education, in the Beyond
High School topic area of the ACRN Parent section.
- the student;
- the student's family;
- the college;
- state government;
- federal government; and
- private resources.
What Considerations are There for Students
with Special Needs?
It is important for you to help your child understand all of
the financial aid options available to him or her when making
decisions about post-high school education and career plans,
and to research the options for students with special needs.
You, your child, or the two of you together can:
You and your child should also consider any disability related
expenses your child may encounter at college, so you can make
sure they are covered by any financial aid package. These include:
- Research all the financial aid opportunities and resources
available, including those for students with special needs;
- Talk with the school guidance counselor to get more information
about merit-based scholarships, grants and private scholarships;
- Check with the colleges that your child is applying to
for more information about the financial assistance they
offer, and the required applications and forms, especially
forms and applications for students with special needs;
- Contact your state's higher education office, vocational
rehabilitation center, 504 coordinators, and the Office
of Disability Support Services at the colleges to which
your child is applying; and
- Go to the reference section of your public library for
additional information about financial assistance.
- Special equipment (related to the disability) and maintenance;
- Services such as readers, interpreters, personal care
attendants and note-takers;
- Transportation (where applicable); and
- Medical expenses not covered by insurance that relate
directly to your child's disability.
Students with special
needs may receive additional financial aid from your state's
Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Social Security Administration
or other public and private sources.
How Can Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies
If your child is eligible for counseling and evaluation services
at your local Vocational Rehabilitation agency (he or she
must have an impairment that results in a substantial impediment
to employment), the agency will usually prepare an Individualized
Plan for Employment (IPE) for him or her. IPEs differ by state.
Check with your state or local vocational rehabilitation agency
for more information on what is included in these plans.
The Council of State
Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation has contact information
for state rehabilitation agencies on its website:
information for state directors
Your state and local vocational rehabilitation agencies might
also help you and your child with:
- Tuition expenses;
- Room and board;
- Books and supplies;
- Services such as interpreters, etc.; and
- Technological aids and devices that help with learning
Be sure to consult
with your local vocational rehabilitation agency counselor
to find out the benefits for which your child may be eligible.
For more information:
U.S. Department of Education:
of Federal Student Aid
of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services
of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
Departments of Rehabilitation
Departments of Education
Departments of Labor and Youth Services
Security Administration Regional and Field Offices
Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities--State
Clearinghouse On Postsecondary Education For Individuals With
Aid for Students with Disabilities
Lighthouse for the Blind
Funding Strategies for Students with Disabilities (University
of Washington, 2003)
Financial Aid Search Engines:
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