Where your future begins

Post Secondary Training

Categorized In: Case Services - Planned Services

Approved Date: December 17, 2020

Owner: Angela Fujan

Rule 72:

*Please refer to Rule 72 for the complete list of regulations. Below are a few hi-lighted areas.

010.04 Expectation of Completion

The need for training services must be established, based on an analysis of hiring qualification requirements for the employment goal in the local labor market or a labor market the individual is willing to relocate, and the client's current level of vocational qualifications and functioning. In addition, there must be a reasonable expectation of successfully completing training, based on an analysis of indicators of training success such as past academic achievement or test results related to academic skill, intelligence and vocational aptitudes. 

010.11 Reasonable Progress

Recipients in vocational training programs must maintain reasonable progress, according to progress criteria stated in their Individualized Plan for Employment.

010.13 Financial Aid Information

Before the amount of vocational rehabilitation financial assistance can be determined and authorized, the program must receive from the financial aid office of the school the recipient will be attending (budget, expected family contribution, grants, loans, scholarships, tuition waivers, fellowship, assistantships and any other award or scholarship not based on merit) and the amount of Unmet Need remaining as calculated by the financial aid office. 

010.14 Unmet Need Limitation

There are no circumstances under which the program can provide financial assistance exceeding the amount of unmet need determined by the financial aid office. 

  • VR does not have the authority to make revisions in the unmet need reported by the school.
  • All calculations and revisions must be made by the school’s financial aid office.

010.18 Exceptions 

Office Director approval is required when the IPE is completed less than 60 days prior to the start of the post-secondary term. 

Office Directors have the authority and discretion to make reasonable exceptions to the limits on the number of credit hours of aid and the amount of VR financial aid provided, as long as it does not exceed the unmet need. Exceptions may be granted if the Office Director determines there is no alternative to addressing a recipient's need for vocational training necessary to achieve the employment outcome on the recipient's approved Individualized Plan for Employment. This applied to both exceeding and reducing the customary required credit hours. 

Example of exceeding number of credits:

Individual is hospitalized due to disability complications and unable to withdraw from classes during drop and add or receive an incomplete, as a result the individual needs to retake the courses. First consult with the college to see if they can assist with a solution, if not VR could consider paying for these classes again as it was out of the control of the individual and they had been making adequate progress prior to the illness. 

Example of reducing number of credits per term:

Individual requests a reduced course load due to disability, employment or to maintain a comparable benefit.  VR needs to take into account adequate progress as defined by the college and program of study. This will help ensure the individual will be able to complete the program while also taking into account the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, informed choice and labor market information.

  • Determine the job goal requires post-secondary training and is consistent with the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, informed choice and labor market information
  • Establish reasonable expectation of successfully completing post-secondary training AND obtaining employment in this vocational area
  • Ensure client meets academic and admission requirements
  • Complete Informational Interview(s)
  • Complete academic and financial aid audits for prior students 
  • Obtain client signatures on IPE and 'What You Should Know about Nebraska VR Financial Aid'
  • Approve IPE 60 days prior to first term 
    • Obtain OD exception, if less than 60 days
  • Assess accommodation needs and make appropriate referrals
  • Obtain Student Financial Aid Report information and determine VR training allowance 
  • Report VR funding to the Financial Aid Office
  • Obtain student registration and authorize the VR taining allowance
  • Monitor progress 
  • Obtain registration and grade information each term to determine VR training allowance
  • During the final academic term, refer to appropriate resources and discuss VR's need to obtain employment information and follow up for a minimum of 90 after employed to account for the use of state and federal funds.

Purpose:

Post-secondary training services enable individuals with disabilities to acquire the qualifications required for employment in their agreed-on employment goals. Post-Secondary training is an appropriate service when it will enable the recipient to acquire necessary qualifications to enter employment in the trade, occupation, or professional that is the employment goal, and when it (alone or in conjunction with other services) will resolve the recipient's impediment to employment. Employment qualifications include those academic requirements necessary to meet state or local registration, certification, or licensing requirements to practice the trade, occupation, or profession. Qualifications for employment or hire in the specific employment outcome in the recipient's approved Individual Plan for Employment determine the type and level of vocational training required. 

Justification:

VR needs to ensure the client has been provided informed choice and the job goal is consistent with the individual's unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, informed choice and labor market information.  

VR has a key responsibility to assist the client in understanding the qualifications and requirements of the occupation of interest by providing adequate information (wage, employment outlook, training and skills needed, etc.) on the job and how it compares to other occupations within the local labor market. Provide information on Career Pathways and discuss the different job options within the chosen area. Based on individual circumstances, it may be more appropriate to start at a entry level occupation within the vocational area to gain valuable work experience prior to committing to the higher level degree (Example: starting as a CNA prior to committing to a nursing degree).

Staff on probation are required to utilize the Post-Secondary Training Justification Form to determine if post-secondary training is appropriate for the client. All staff need to address all the areas within the document to justify training. 

Required factors to address with client:

  1. Determine job goal is a good match with the client's interests, abilities and capabilities. Explore client's employment history, education and vocational skills. Define interests, strengths and transferable skills.
  2. Complete informational interview(s). Client complete a minimum of one Informational Interview for their desired occupation. If VR feels the client has adequate information from previous employment and should be considered for an exception from this requirement, this must be documented in the IPE Approval justification with the specific rationale for the exception. 
  • Help the individual to understand the purpose of an informational interview, the appropriate subject to interview and how to arrange the meeting. 
  • Retain a copy of the interview questions and responses in the case file record.
  • See VRIS Job Planning Resource Guide for further assistance.
  • See IPE Guide for further information. 
  1. Ensure job goal is consistent with client's impairment. Consider the vocational implications of the client's impairment and the requirements of the occupational goal to verify the client can successfully preform the specific job, complete academic training and obtain competitive-integrated employment. 
    • Ensure occupation is within the client's functional limitations. Utilize the Disability Handbook to address all potential impairment related issues, include secondary and tertiary conditions.
    • Stability – Consider any or all issues that have create and may create instability. Is there evidence of recurrent hospitalizations, sporadic employment, disability issues or family crisis? The client and VR staff will want to discuss if the disability is progressive and will cause future interruptions in post-secondary training and/or employment.
    • Stamina - Consider the client’s stamina and ability to (1) attend training, (2) complete a training program within an appropriate time frame and (3) perform the physical, mental and emotional demands of the occupation.
  2. Job goal is consistent with client's resources, priorities and concerns. Address work readiness issues. Consider if training will remove the barrier to employment or if there are other issues that need attending to first? Does the client have a pattern of missed appointments or tardiness? Does the client initiate contact with VR, or must VR staff always initiate contact to keep things moving? Does the client have work experience and good work habits?  Is there a pattern for job losses (difficulty getting along with others, daycare issues, etc.)? If so, what is the cause and has it been resolved? Discuss the client’s ability to use tools like calendars, day planners, assignment books, etc. to manage time and plan activities and study time? 
  3. Identify the relationship between training and the specified job goal. Consider how the typical employee enters the labor market for the specified occupation. What are the entry level requirements? Can the desired occupation be obtained through direct placement and an OJT? Is there a need for actual work experience in the job area, as well as a degree? Ensure IPE includes all services needed to obtain the desired job.
  4. Determine employment outlook for the specific occupation.  Is the job readily available in the local labor market or a labor market to which the client is willing to relocate? Address the local labor market demand for the position and prevailing wage. Does the wage meet their financial needs? 
  5. Identify academic credential required for occupation. Address the skills and academic qualifications required to be hired in the job.  Include academic qualifications needed to meet state or local registration, certification or licensing requirements to practice the trade, occupation, or profession. If no degree is required, Identify specific courses and credit hours. Discuss OJT, specific courses, certificate, degree, etc. to obtain employment in the job goal.
  6. Determine reasonable expectation - There must be a reasonable expectation of successfully completing training, based on the analysis of indicators of success such as; past academic achievement or test results relating to academic potential, intelligence and vocational aptitudes and past work history. VR is responsible for determining the justification for successful completion of the required post-secondary training AND obtaining employment in the vocational area of interest meets the individuals unique situation. Lack of academic skill, does not automatically rule out all occupations that may require some training. An individual may be able to become employed in the desired occupation without a formal degree (Example: welding may only need a few hands-on classes and an OJT, if needed). Academic skill level may also mean the client completes a certificate or diploma rather than an associate degree. 
  • Past academic achievement– Obtain transcripts from any past and current high school and/or post-secondary training. Review high school and any post-secondary grades and past course work as it relates to the occupational area the client wants to pursue. If a current or recent high school student, review attendance data to consider if absenteeism might be an issue during post-secondary training. Information available from MDT’s, IEP’s, psychological testing, etc. should be considered when determining the feasibility of post-secondary training success. Was attendance full-time or part-time and why? Grades - address the reason for any difficulty. Do they prefer academic or hands-on learning? What accommodations were tried and outcome? What were the barriers and have they been addressed? 
  • Post-Secondary Entrance and Placement Exams– Knowing the results of the assessments will assist the college and VR staff in knowing if additional required coursework is necessary in the areas of math, reading and/or writing. The assessment results can provide information regarding a student’s likelihood of success in a particular program. Thorough career planning and assessment should be completed with all individuals to assure there is a good chance of successful completion of post-secondary training.
  • Remedial and Developmental courses may be recommended if a student's academic skills are not adequate for acceptance into the college program. These courses do not count toward the degree, but are required to be completed and passed for acceptance into the college program. Study skills courses are another type of developmental course which focuses on study techniques, note taking skills, managing time and assignments, test taking, etc. If an individual has several remedial courses required, this is a indicator of the difficulty the individual may experience. Attention needs to be given to providing appropriate career counseling to all available occupations and assure the client understands their options and the requirements of the program of study prior to the development of an academic plan.  
  • Pre-requisites courses are not to be confused with remedial or developmental courses. A pre-requisite is a course that is needed to take another higher level course in an undergraduate program, or a course required for admission to an undergraduate program. These courses count toward the degree or the program admission requirements. Similarly, at the graduate level, a graduate program may require completion of certain undergraduate courses as part of the admission criteria to that program.
  1. Financial Stability - Consider the client’s financial situation to determine if he/she can meet his/her personal and school financial obligations while attending training. Consider if the client has had previous unsuccessful attempts at academic training affecting his or her financial aid status and continuing eligibility for financial aid. It is a disservice to the person and a misuse of public funds to start a service in the absence of a reasonable expectation that the person will be able to financially meet his/her educational, living and other expenses not covered by the VR training allowance. VR must address other options, if post-secondary does not appear feasible (shorter term training, OJT, alternate occupation, etc.)
  • Other Benefits - Consider the possible financial effects of attending post-secondary training on other services, benefits and programs.
  • Financial Aid Audit for previous post-secondary students or major/goal changes. Clients who have previously attended college or want to change their major must visit the financial aid office to calculate the amount of financial aid already used and the remaining eligibility for financial aid (PELL Grants are available for a total of one and a half credits for program completion. Example: 120 credit program is eligible for a maximum of 180 credits). This verification must be completed in writing and placed in the client's file. This is determined by considering ALL prior financial aid used, regardless of the program of study. Some colleges may make an exception to the PELL grant limit, so this exception should be explored if needed. 
  • Defaulted Loans. Individuals who have defaulted on a prior student loan must be in good standing to avail themselves to possible financial aid, as this can usually be accomplished in a few short months of regular payments.​​​​
  • Academic Audit - Students who have previously attended college or are changing their major, must meet with college advisor and obtain in writing what credits will be accepted for the program of study and what courses and credits remains. VR needs to maintain a copy of the academic audit in the casefile to monitor progress and appropriate course selection. This information is also needed to calculate the remaining credits eligible for financial aid.

60 day IPE Approval and Financial Aid Application deadline

To be considered for VR financial aid, at least 60 days before the date on which the client will begin post-secondary training, he or she must have:

  • the IPE containing post-secondary training services approved by VR, and
  • have submitted all financial aid application forms required by the institution he or she will attend in sufficient time for the school to provide VR with the student's financial aid information no later than 5 business days before the start of the term.
  • A client who does not meet the 60 day deadline cannot receive VR financial aid until the next post-secondary term unless an Office Director grants and exception.
  • A client who does not comply with the financial aid application deadline cannot receive funding until the next post-secondary term unless the delay is beyond the control of the client or an Office Director grants an exception.

Student's Financial Aid Report

  1. Obtain client's signature on the Student Financial Aid Report (SFAR-E) and send it with the 'VR Release of Information' to the school’s student financial aid office. If this is not feasible, have the student provide a copy of the official award letter or screen shot of the financial aid award for their post-secondary account. This information must show the information is directly from the post-secondary institution. The address and contact information for post-secondary institutions that accept the SFAR-E form via email are listed in the SFAR-E Directory of Schools.

For Schools utilizing the SFAR-E: 

  • Save the completed document to your desktop.
  • Email the document to the school as an attachment. Make a printed copy of the form for the case record or keep a copy on your computer.
  • Fax the school’s financial aid office a completed and signed ‘release of information’ form listing the school to allow for exchange of information. Do not email the ‘release of information” form as it includes the client’s SSN.​​​​​​

For schools that are not completing the Student Financial Aid Report form (SFAR-E):

  • VR must utilize the student to obtain the required information.
  • Instruct the student to sign in to their student account and review their financial aid resources.
  • Accept the gift aid (PELL, scholarships, etc.) as these do not require repayment.
  • Discuss Unmet Need and how loans are part of the financial aid package, but do not require acceptance.
    • Loans require repayment and should only be taken, if needed. An individual can also accept the loan in whole or part.
    • Explain accepting loan(s) prior to VR determining the training allowance amount may alter the Unmet Need amount and in turn, possibly reduce the amount VR's training allowance.
    • After VR funding has been determined, the student can request a student loan, if needed.
    • VR funding may reduce the amount of student loans available.
  • Once the student has accepted their financial aid, the student should be able to print off an accurate reflection of their financial aid resources and Unmet Need. If a student prints this statement prior to accepting their grants and scholarships, the Unmet Need will be too high as only expected family contribution will be figured in. Students may also provide this information via a letter from the post-secondary institution. Ensure the financial aid report addresses all required aspects (Budget, EFC - Expected Family Contribution, gift aid & Unmet Need) and has been calculated correctly. If there are any questions clarify the information and have the college provide an updated financial aid statement.
  1. Contact the client to discuss financial planning and budgeting as soon as he or she receives an award letter, confirmation through the student's on-line account completed by the school's financial aid office, or VR receives a Student Financial Aid Report from the college.
  • Help the client (and family) to understand the Student Financial Aid Report (SFAR) and the financial aid offered by the school.
  • Discuss with the client his and her financial resources to meet both the training cost not met by the VR Training Allowance and other personal living expenses. 
  1. Report amount of VR funding to the school's Student Financial Aid Office. VR funding amount is the estimated VR training allowance amount and any additional amount VR is providing for other college expenses (tools, uniforms, etc.) not included in the training allowance. This information is to be provided to all colleges, regardless if the  school is reporting directly to VR or the student. Keep a hard copy of the SFAR for the VR paper file. 

Determine the VR training allowance

Maximum efforts to get grant assistance. There must be maximum efforts by VR and the client to secure grant assistance in whole or part from other sources to pay for post-secondary training. Congress intended that individuals avail themselves of the numerous grant and student assistance programs that are available to pay for higher education before VR funds are used to pay for these costs. A decision to use VR funds must be consistent with the intent that VR resources be used as a last resort to pay for post-secondary training.

Student Financial Aid Report (SFAR) Before the amount of vocational rehabilitation financial assistance can be determined and authorized, Nebraska VR must receive the student's financial aid information from the financial aid office of the school the recipient will be attending. This can be obtained directly from the school or the student's official financial aid award information. The following financial aid information must be verified from the school and include: 

  • the student budget used to determine the amount of aid to be awarded;
  • the amount of the expected family contribution;
  • the amount of gift aid to be awarded; and
  • the amount of unmet need remaining calculated by the financial aid office.

The VR training allowance is for tuition, fees and specific books and not intended to fund the entire amount of college. The training allowance is intended to help the student meet the cost for those institutions and programs that are eligible to award federal financial aid. In addition, an individual must have an Unmet Need to be eligible for VR financial aid.

Unmet Need: Post-Secondary programs must be eligible for federal financial aid. Some religious and private institutions do not have Federal Student Financial Aid available. If Unmet Need is not able to be determined, VR will not be able to fund. This is an informed choice issue to be addressed with the client. There are no exceptions to obtaining the Unmet Need from the post-secondary institute. If parents refusing to file FAFSA or taxes, the student can work with the financial aid office to determine if they can be considered an independent student to obtain the needed information.

Under no circumstances can the amount of VR financial aid exceed the unmet need. VR does not have the authority to make revisions in the unmet need reported by the school. Any revisions must be made by the school’s financial aid office.

A student's eligibility or ineligible for federal financial aid does not determine the type of training allowance Nebraska VR provides. The determining factors are the type of institution, type of degree, the ability of the institution to offer federal financial aid for the program of study and if the student has an Unmet Need. An Unmet Need must be determined by the post-secondary institution of study for VR to consider assisting with college funding. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

  • Example: An individual in an undergraduate program and registered for less than 6 credit hours, he/she will not qualify for a PELL grant due to the limited number of credit hours, but an unmet need can and must be determined by the post-secondary institution of study.
  • Example: An individual in a graduate level program is not eligible for a PELL grant due to the program of study, but an unmet need can and must be determined by the post-secondary institution of study.
  • Example: Differed Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students are not eligible for federal or state student aide, but an unmet need can and must be determined by the post-secondary institution of study. The student may be eligible for private scholarships and financial aid from private schools, colleges and universities. If VR is working with a DACA student, verification of eligibility to work through the SAVE program is required on an annual basis while the case is open. The student must be assigned a social security number to complete the financial aid application to determine the Unmet Need. For further information on how DACA can obtain a social security number visit: http//www.socialsecurity.gov/pub/deferred_action.pdf 

VR training allowance rate is determined by:

(1) the type of institution providing the training,

(2) the type of degree awarded by the institution and/or the program of study and

(3) the ability of the institution or program to award federal financial aid.

Academic year - The year used in the federal student financial aid programs is July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next year. Some post-secondary schools will require an additional financial aid form for the summer session, but all aid is based on the 12 month federal financial aid year. If the post-secondary institution requires a separate Student Financial Aid Report (SFAR), VR must ensure Unmet Need in not exceeded for the summer term or the entire fiscal year.

Co-funding post-secondary programs: When co-funding with Veterans Administration Employment Program (Chapter 31-VA VR-E), WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, Youth Services Programs, CPAP or State or Federal Workers Compensation Programs, the coordinated and combined funding between these specific programs and VR cannot exceed the actual cost of tuition, fees, and required books and supplies. VR’s portion of the funding is subject to all the policies, procedures and fees described in this program manual chapter and Rule 72.

Pre-requisite courses: . A pre-requisite is a course that is needed to take another higher level course in an undergraduate program, or a course required for admission to an undergraduate program. These courses count toward the degree or the program admission requirements. Similarly, at the graduate level, a graduate program may require completion of certain undergraduate courses as part of the admission criteria to that program. These courses would be pre-requisites and can be funded by Nebraska VR, if they are part of the IPE to obtain the specific job goal and unmet need will not be exceeded.

Remedial courses: VR assistance with remedial courses is limited to a total of 6 semester hours or 9 quarter hours. The student must pay for all remedial or developmental class hours above the maximum. 

Interterm (J-Term) is offered by some post-secondary institutes for a few weeks between the fall and spring sessions in January. It is counted as part of the spring term  (Example: J-term is within the Spring semester and part of the total 12 credits. If 3 credits are taken in the J-term only 9 credits remain for the Spring session)

Post-secondary institutions vary in making FSFA available for their Diploma and Certificate programs. There is no consistency between institutions in the availability of FSFA for specific programs of study. Staff must determine the availability of FSFA on a program-by-program, school by school, basis.

EducationQuest is an excellent resource for identifying private scholarships and for help in completing a FAFSA.

Type of degree awarded by Institution and, or Program BA & Above AA Diploma or Certificate Diploma or Certificate Non-degree (up to 12 hours)
Eligible to award federal financial aid Program is eligible to offer federal financial aid Program is eligible to offer federal financial aid Program is eligible to offer federal financial aid Program is not eligible to offer federal financial aid Program not eligible to offer federal financial aid.
QE2 Service Post Sec-College Post Sec-Technical Post Sec-Technical Misc. Training Skill Building Misc. Training Skill Building
Financial Assistance $168 Semester Hr or $86 Quarter Hr $68 Semester Hr or $46 Quarter Hr or $1.81 Clock Hr $68 Semester Hr or $46 Quarter Hr or $1.81 Clock Hr Actual cost not to exceed $4752.00 Actual cost not to exceed $4752.00

Authorization of the VR training allowance

Whenever possible clients should be allowed the choice in how they wish to receive the training allowance. In most cases, the allowance should be given to the student in a lump sum, so the student can apply it to school expenses as he or she deems appropriate. If the student prefers, some of the allowance may be provided to him or her with the remainder to the school, or all of the allowance can be provided to the school.

If the occasion would ever occur that VR is funding books separately, the training allowance authorized to the individual or to the school must be reduced by the amount authorized for specifically required books & supplies. 

Maximum training allowance

  • College/Technical Training semester programs: 12 hours fall, 12 hours spring and 12 summer semester hours for a total of 36 hours.
  • College/Technical Training quarter programs: 12 hours fall, 12 hours winter, 12 hours spring, and 12 hours summer quarters for a total of 48 hours.

The maximum credit hours of assistance for which VR will provide financial assistance for is the number of credit hours required by the educational institution for the agreed upon program of study.  

The following credit hours, regardless of the funding source, shall count toward the maximum credit hours for their program of study: 

  • Transfer credit hours accepted by the institution and program of study.
  • Alternative course credit hours accepted by the institution and program of study.
  • Course credits earned by the recipient while under current or prior IPE with Nebraska VR.
  • Course credit hours authorized for, but not earned because the: 
    • Course was not completed with a grade of C or equivalent, or a grade required by the program of study. 
    • Course was withdrawn from after the 100% refund period; or
    • Course or courses do not meet the degree requirements of the institution and program of study.

Examples:

  • New VR client, but prior college student. Academic audit reflects, program requires a total of 120 credit hours and accepts 20 transfer credits. (120 - 20 = 100 credits remaining for VR funding). 
  • New VR client. Program requires a total of 120 credit hours, student funded 60 credits previously and of those 60 credits the college accepts 40 transfer credits. Since the previous credits were completed prior to VR and the IPE, VR will only count the credits that are accepted by the college and program of study (120 - 40 = 80 credits remaining for VR funding). 
  • Current or prior VR client. Program requires a total of 120 credit hours, VR funded 60 credits in another program and of those 60 the college accepts 40 transfer credits. (120 -  60 = 60 credits remaining for VR funding) due to the need to count all credits earned while under an IPE.
  • Current or prior VR client. Program requires a total of 120 credit hours, VR funded 60 credits in another program and Veterans Program funded 40 credits prior to working with VR. The college accepts 20 or the 40 credits of the Veteran funded and an additional 15 of the 60 credits of VR funded courses. (120 - 20 - 60 = 40) All VR funded credits count, regardless if accepted by the college.
  • Current client. Registers for 15 credit hours, VR funds 12 and the client fails 3 credits. GPA is above a 2.0. The client is making adequate progress and will not owe VR 3 credits, as the client personally funded 3 credits and completed 12 required program credits.

Training Allowance for Deaf Students Attending Gallaudet University, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf and similar institutions

Gallaudet University, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf. If a student who is deaf elects to attend Gallaudet, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf or the Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf, he or she may be provided with financial assistance up to the actual cost of tuition, fees, textbooks, and supplies and subject to the unmet need.

  • Tuition and fees: Qe2 only includes the actual cost of tuition and fees. Additional program specific costs of lab fees and on-line courses will require an additional authorizations, as appropriate.
  • Books: Specifically required book are authorized separately from tuition to the vender of choice or the client. 
  • Once VR is provided the invoice from school for the cost of tuition and it is less than what we authorized, VR only pays what was billed. 

Note: For Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf (SWCID) students who also take courses at Howard College which SWCID is affiliated with, the student is charged the Howard College semester hour tuition rate which is less than the SWCID semester hour tuition rate. ​​​​​​

Post-Secondary Increase Costs: 

Generally, individuals are expected to use their own resources and school financial aid to meet the costs of attending post-secondary training not covered by the VR training allowance. Nebraska VR's training allowance is not intended to meet 100% of the cost of college. This is a limited tool for VR uses when the circumstances of participating in a vocational rehabilitation service cause an additional cost to the client. The increase in living cost must be tied to other services being provided, and is strictly limited to the additional living expense a client incurs while participating in program services, not an everyday living expenses. The following auxiliary costs for post-secondary are included by school financial aid offices in determining the Cost of Attendance Budget and are thus subject to the Unmet Need limitation. VR may consider providing (in addition to the training allowance) financial assistance for the cost of the post-secondary auxiliary costs that create an increase cost when no other options are available by following Rule 72 procedures for the particular service AND ensuring the Unmet Need will not be exceeded. Consult with the school financial aid office if there is a question about the amount of VR assistance and the available unmet need.

Notify the college of all VR financial assistance (VR Allowance and any increase cost assistance) to the client to avoid a financial aid over-award.

Textbooks & supplies. Textbooks and routine supplies required to participate in college or technical training are included in the training allowance. Non-routine supplies are those required to participate in a training program or course such as art, graphics, photography, architecture, computer software, cosmetology, etc. VR can fund cost equal to 50% of the school’s supplies estimate, or if the school has no estimate, cost not to exceed 50% of the lower of two cost estimates.

Tools. Tools required to participate in a college or technical training program. Tools are those ordinarily used in the practice of a profession, trade, craft, or other recognized profession including required consumable and non-consumable supplies and software for courses and programs such as graphic design, welding, cad, cosmetology, automotive, etc. Cost equal to 50% of the school’s required tool cost for the program. This is only for required tools, not "recommended" tools. 

Uniform/work clothing - Uniforms and work clothing required for participation in college and technical training including laboratory coats, aprons, gloves, goggles and similar protective clothing and devices.

Transportation - Recurring private vehicle. If an individual will have a increased cost due to commuting, inform the college financial aid office so this can be calculated into the student's budget when determining aid. Mileage for recurring travel to college or technical training at the current rate in Rule 72. Recurring public transportation: Bus passes for recurring travel to college or technical training. This may include financial aid for use of handivan and paratransit systems, taxicabs if the person’s impairment precludes use of other modes of transportation.

Child care. Child care services during the time the student is in class and commuting to and from the school. If an individual will have a increased cost for daycare, inform the college financial aid office so this can be calculated into the student's budget when determining aid. 

Background Check.  student requires a background check before participating in a clinical, student teaching, internship, or other required activity.

EXCLUDED from increase cost and financial aid:

Disability related services - adaptive software, adaptive computer hardware, tutors, readers, etc. are not subject to the unmet need limitation. To be considered a disability related service or device, it must be unique to the individual's specific disability and not required or recommended for all students.

Health insurance fees (Premiums). VR does not assist with the cost of any health insurance required of the student by a school, program or course. This policy applies regardless of whether the fee or premium is to be paid to the school or directly to an insurance company. This is not to be confused with a Health Services or Health Center Fee which is covered by the training allowance.

IPE requirements to monitor client progress:

  1. Academic credential. If the goal of training requires obtaining an academic credential (i.e., a certificate, diploma, or degree awarded by the institution), document on the IPE the academic credential being sought. Note under who will pay, "determined by Unmet Need," as an IPE does not automatically qualify an individual for college funding. This also keeps the IPE relevant for the duration of the plan. The maximum credit hours for which VR will provide financial aid is limited to the number of hours specifically required for degree completion by the higher education institution or by a state authority issuing mandatory licenses.
  2. Academic requirements - Identify the courses and hours required. If the goal of training is to complete specific courses (i.e., the goal is not an academic credential), documentation in the IPE must identify the specific courses and hours to be completed. 
  3. Accommodations and supports - Determine if assistive technology and student supports will be necessary in order for the client to be successful in training and document the needed supports in the IPE. 
  4. Determine the number of hours to be completed per term:
    • If a client requires a reduced course load, consult with the office dIrecter and obtain approval of this decision to attend college part-time. All major decisions need to be documented in the task notes.  Examples of part-time attendance requests: 
      • physical or mental impairment,
      • need to maintain employment, or
      • need to maintain a comparable benefit
  5. Review reasonable progress criteria:
    • Review and obtain client's signature on 'What You Should Know about Nebraska VR Financial Aid' - This is a required form for all post-secondary plans and is to be completed at the time the IPE is signed.
    • The student must provide a copy of his/her pre-registration and/or registration form no later than 5 business days prior to the start of the term and a copy of any revised registration if there is a subsequent change due to drop and add, or course cancellation. Inability to comply due to circumstances beyond the control of the student shall not result in VR assistance being withheld; otherwise, an Office Director exception is required to be documented in a task note to receive funding when the timeline was not met.
    • Monitor grades each term and for the academic year using grade reports for an overall or cumulative grade point average (GPA) of "C" or equivalent, or better, unless the program of study requires a higher course grade or GPA.. The student is responsible for providing VR with a copy of his/her grade.
    • During the academic year, complete the number of credit hours each academic year needed to meet the reasonable progress criteria set by the school's financial aid office and as agreed to by VR.
    • In general, "reasonable progress" means satisfactorily completing at least:
      • 36 credit hours of credit in a school with a three semester academic year; or,
      • 48 quarter hours of credit in a school with a 4 quarter academic year.
  6. Review failure to maintain reasonable progress. If a client fails to maintain reasonable progress, an appropriate corrective action plan should be developed in cooperation with the post-secondary institution.
    • If the client completes fewer required program hours than those used to determine the training allowance, take corrective action in the next term, or first term in the following academic year by reducing the number of hours used to determine the training allowance. 
    • If the student's grades suggest difficulty meeting college demands. Discuss and implement intervention strategies.
    • If a client fails to maintain reasonable progress (cumulative 2.0 GPA & completion of required credit hours), an appropriate corrective action plan should be developed in cooperation with the post-secondary institution. 
    • Monitor any corrective action plans. Assure the client completes or participates in corrective actions. If the client does not complete or participate in planned corrective actions, modify or terminate post-secondary training as appropriate. 
    • Financial assistance may be continued for one academic term or semester to determine whether the client is able to make reasonable progress with the corrective actions. The opportunity to achieve reasonable progress with continued VR funding shall not be unreasonably denied; however, in some circumstances, continued VR funding may not be appropriate. 
    • If reasonable progress is not achieved at the end of one academic term or semester, financial aid should be discontinued, and the IPE reviewed and revised to identify a suitable employment goal.
    • Financial assistance may be continued for one academic term or semester to determine whether the client is able to make reasonable progress with the corrective actions. The opportunity to achieve reasonable progress with continued VR funding shall not be unreasonably denied; however, in some circumstances, continued VR funding may not be appropriate.
    • If reasonable progress is not achieved at the end of one academic term or semester, financial aid should be discontinued, and the IPE reviewed and revised to identify a suitable employment goal.
  7. Obtain verification of the credential upon completion. 

 

 

 

 


Approved Date
April 27, 2020 Show this Archived Version
October 02, 2018 Show this Archived Version


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