academic accommodations

Modifications provided so that a student with a disability can participate in class, complete assignments, and share knowledge and ideas.


Placement test used by most community colleges to determine the academic level of incoming students. Covers 3 subject areas: reading, writing, and math.

assistive technology

Technology that helps people with disabilities to participate in activities as independently as possible. This can include low-technology options, such as timers or calculators, or more advanced technology, such as wheelchairs or computer software.

benefits counselor

A professional, often employed by a state agency, who assists Social Security Administration disability beneficiaries with making choices about work.

clock hour

A time period consisting of one of the following: 1) 50 to 60 minutes of class, lecture, or recitation in a 60-minute period; 2) 50 to 60 minutes of faculty-supervised laboratory, shop training, or internship in a 60-minute period; 3) 60 minutes of preparation in a correspondence course. Also referred to as a "contact hour."

Comprehensive Transition Programs

Comprehensive Transition Programs, or CTPs, are degree, certificate, or non-degree programs for students with intellectual disabilities that meet specific criteria. If students with intellectual disabilities are attending a CTP, they are able to use federal financial aid to help pay for attendance.

CTPs are offered by a college or career school, and are approved by the U.S. Department of Education. They support students with intellectual disabilities who want to continue academic, career, and independent living instruction to prepare for gainful employment.

CTPs offer academic advising and a structured curriculum. They require students with intellectual disabilities to participate, for at least half of the program, in one of the following: 1) regular enrollment in credit-bearing courses with "typical" college students (those who do not have disabilities), 2) auditing or participating (with typical college students) in courses for which the student does not receive regular academic credit, 3) enrollment in noncredit-bearing, non-degree courses with typical college students, or internships or work-based training with individuals who do not have disabilities.

CTPs were initially described and defined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.


See "Comprehensive Transition Programs."


developmental disability

disability support office

The office responsible for supporting students with disabilities enrolled at a college.


United States Department of Labor

dual enrollment

Enrolling in postsecondary education and secondary education simultaneously. Usually done by high school students with disabilities to use local education funds to pay for postsecondary education.

educational coach

Coaches students with intellectual disability in the typical role of a college student. This includes teaching about appropriate classroom behavior, study skills, test-taking skills, time management, organizational skills, and how to access resources on campus. May assist students in arranging for tutors and/or accommodations from disability services.


A group of individuals with disabilities working in a particular setting doing the same type of work (e.g., a cleaning crew).


A legal right, typically used when discussing a student's Individual Education Plan, or IEP. Depending on a student's age and where he or she attends school, the student may be legally entitled to services written in the IEP that are provided and/or monitored by the school system. In other cases, a student may be entitled to an IEP, but receiving services is not an entitlement (i.e., services are not guaranteed).


Leads meetings to address various topics, including person-centered planning, resource mapping, etc.

FDIC Money Smart

A training program to help adults outside the financial mainstream enhance their money skills and create positive banking relationships.


Costs a college requires that are not part of tuition for courses. These payments typically cover athletic events, clubs, laboratory expenses, and/or student activities.

financial need

The difference between what it costs a student to attend school, and what they and their family can afford to pay. Student resources are the amount a student and their family are expected to have available for school. This amount is calculated based on the information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. A standard government formula is used to determine the family's contribution. It takes into account the family size, number in college, total income from the previous calendar year, and assets.

full-time student

A student enrolled for 12 or more semester credits, or 12 or more quarter credits, or 24 or more contact hours a week each term.

Functional Vocational Assessment

Identifies an individual's vocational interests and potential using actual job tasks in a variety of environments.


See "Higher Education Opportunity Act."

Higher Education Opportunity Act

Higher Education Opportunity Act. This act (PL 110-315) was enacted on August 14, 2008, reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965.

The HEOA covers a wide variety of issues related to higher education. New in 2008 were several provisions related to students with intellectual disability. These included defining Comprehensive Transition Programs, and funding model demonstration projects and a National Coordinating Center for those projects.

Individual Training Account (ITA)

Funds set aside by One-Stop Career Centers (American Job Centers) to help individuals pay for training that will lead to employment.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal law mandating free and appropriate public education for all students. Includes specific requirements for planning the transition from high school to adult life for students with disabilities.

Intellectual disability

A disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This disability originates before the age of 18. Intellectual disability is the currently preferred term for the disability previously referred to as "mental retardation." (Definition adapted from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities).

interagency team

Local group representing different consituencies meeting regularly and working together toward common goals.

natural supports

Helpful relationships among individuals with disabilities and those around them, including co-workers, classmates, activity participants, and neighbors. These relationships can help someone with disabilities succeed on the job or in the classroom.

No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)

Federal legislation that requires every state to conduct testing for all students in reading and math, sets graduation requirements, and mandates teacher and school accountability.

One-Stop Career Centers

Federally sponsored community centers created to serve people seeking employment. Also called American Job Centers.

person centered planning

Planning that focuses on the individual and his/her interests, strengths, and needs. There are numerous models of this type of planning available (e.g. Whole Life Planning, MAPS, Essential Lifestyles Planning, COACH, etc.).

Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS)

Federal work incentive that allows a person with a disability to set aside otherwise countable income or resources for a specific period of time to achieve a work goal.

postsecondary education

Any type of school or training beyond the high school level (e.g., community college, four-year university, vocational training program).

reasonable accommodation

Changes in an environment to meet the access needs of an individual in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

resource mapping

A method used to link community resources with an agreed-upon vision, organizational goals, strategies, or expected outcomes.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Requirements that students must meet to keep receiving financial aid in college. The SAP requirements address areas such as grade-point average and pace of course completion.

School to Work

Process of going to work (and being trained) in a community setting while still receiving services from the school. This is a way of assisting in the transition process for individuals who are interested in having a job immediately following high school. Should begin no later than two years prior to graduation.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Federal law guaranteeing students with disabilities reasonable accommodations in higher education.


Understanding and addressing one's wants and needs through decision-making, problem solving, and goal setting.

service learning

Educational model in which learning opportunities come from structured service activities, rather than traditional classroom settings.


Social Security Administration

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A federal benefits program, administered by the Social Security Administration. Helps people who are older, are blind, or have other disabilities, and also have little or no income. Provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

supported education

Individualized assistance to help students with disabilities achieve their goals in college. May assist students to identify and access reasonable and appropriate accommodations, and to coordinate with on- and off-campus disability support services.

supported employment

Ongoing supports from an external source (e.g., a state agency) to an individual in a paid, community-based setting, where the majority of the workers do not have disabilities. Teaches the person specific job tasks as they occur.


Money paid to a college for enrollment in courses.

Universal Design for Learning

A method of teaching that takes into consideration various learning styles during the course development phase to ensure that all students are engaged in the material.


vocational rehabilitation