Preparing to Apply to become a CTP

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After assuring that the PSE program meets the requirements outlined in the HEOA as listed in Section 1 of this module, the next step is to meet with the college/university’s financial aid office to begin the application process. 

The CTP program application must be submitted by the Financial Aid office, so personnel from this office are critical partners to include from the beginning. Program staff will work with the financial aid office to complete a program narrative that is a required part of the application, and offer the financial aid office whatever assistance they can with the other aspects of the application.  This may be a different type of application that what the Financial Aid office is used to, so dialogue and communication is very important throughout the process.

  • Tip: Have a clear description of the program with you when first meeting with the Financial Aid office, so they can understand what the program is all about.

Did You Know? Because the college or university must already be participating in Title IV (the federal financial aid program), an application to approve a CTP program is considered an “update” to the college/university’s existing Title IV approval.

We have created a diagram that illustrates the complete CTP Program Application process and can be used during meetings with financial aid to review the application process. You can download and print this diagram (CTP Application Process) in Key Related Resources.

Task Breakdown for CTP Application

The application process is a collaborative effort. The financial aid office will have useful information to share, as in many respects this is the same process they go through for any new program at the college/university. There are some specific tasks that will be completed by the Financial Aid office, and others the program staff will be responsible for.

Financial Aid Office

Generally, the Financial Aid Office will work to assure that the program aligns with accepted policies and practices for the college/university. Key aspects of that are:

  • Determining the clock hours included in the program's course of study. For college programs that do not lead to a degree, there is a required clock hour to credit hour conversion. Note that there is no regulatory designation of an eligible program as full-time. CTP programs are designed to be flexible. Schools should state in the CTP application whether they consider the program to be part or full time.

    Did You Know? What may be counted as a contact hour in a comprehensive transition program is significantly broader than what may count as a contact hour in degree programs. Activities such as individualized instruction to support independent living, meetings with a career adviser, participating in college clubs, or attending campus events with a peer mentor are all things that could count towards the CTP clock hours.  If these activities fulfill requirements of the CTP credential, they can be counted as clock hours in the program. Note that all activities included in clock hours towards the course of study must have a grading/evaluation process in order to factor these activities in when determining satisfactory academic progress. 

  • Assuring that there is a process to include students attending the program in the college software systems (i.e. Banner, PeopleSoft).

  • Assisting in the development of a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for the CTP program that aligns with college policies (see examples of CTP program Satisfactory Academic Progress policies in Key Related Resources).

  • Submitting, via email, a detailed description of the program along with supporting documentation. A template for this program description, as well as a checklist designed to assure that applications address each requirement thoroughly, is included in Section 3 of this module.

  • Submitting the online request to add a new program to their existing Title IV eligibility via the online application or "E-App" on the FSA website. For a CTP program application, Sections A, E and L of the e-App must be completed.  A step by step list for submitting the e-App is in Section 4 of this module.

    Program Staff

Providing the Financial Aid office with the information they need to understand how the program works is the primary responsibility of the PSE program staff.

Specific tasks include:

  • Writing a detailed description of the program that clearly explains how it meets the HEOA requirements. Section 3 of this module provides a template for this.  A completed program description from a successful CTP application is included in Key Related Resources. While each program will be different, it can be helpful to see an example of what is expected in the program narrative.

  • Sending a letter or notice to the institution’s accrediting agency informing the agency of its Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary program. A copy of this document must be included with the application. An example of this required letter is included in Key Related Resources.

Financial Aid offices and other campus administrators are likely to have questions about this new and unfamiliar process. If the Financial Aid office has questions about this process, they should contact the School Participation Team at their regional Federal Student Aid office. This is the team that offers support to all Title IV participating colleges/universities regarding federal financial aid programs.  You can find contact information in Key Related Resources.

This flow chart illustrates the complete process for applying to become a Comprehensive Transition Program and can be used during meetings with financial aid to review the entire application process.Read more

These applications are from two programs that have been approved as Comprehensive Transition programs. They can be used as a model or example for other colleges when completing a CTP application. Read more

This letter is from an approved CTP application and is a good example of what to include in this required letter informing the IHE accrediting agency of the CTP application.Read more

Two examples of Satisfactory Academic Progress Policies that were submitted as part of approved applications to become a CTP.Read more

This is an example of a Learning Agreement contract that could be used for establishing individual learning goals for a student auditing a college course.Read more

Orignially published on January 19, 2011, this official guidance document from the US DOE (DCL ID: GEN-11-01) provides guidance regarding Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary (CTP) Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities.  Addressed to Accrediting Agency Executive Directors, this communication serves...Read more

Guidance provided by the US Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, for the completion of the electronic application to participate in federal student aid, which is the process used to submit a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) application.Read more

A listing of the contacts for School Participation Divisions, a resource for those submitting a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) application. Read more