On September 17, 2019, the US Department of Education issued new guidance clarifying that IDEA and vocational rehabilitation funds can be used to support dual enrollment, comprehensive transition, and other postsecondary education programs for students and youth with disabilities. A comprehensive Q&A was released by Johnny Collett, Assistant Secretary of OSERS, in an effort to provide clarity and guidance to professionals and families. Specifically, the Q&A addresses the following topics:
- The opportunity for students and youth with disabilities to enroll in postsecondary education programs while still in high school, an option known as college-based transition services or dual enrollment;
- The opportunity for students and youth with disabilities to enroll in comprehensive transition and other postsecondary programs for individuals with disabilities after leaving high school;
- That students with disabilities may receive coordination of transition-related services under IDEA and VR programs; and
- Financial aid is available to students with disabilities enrolled in comprehensive transition programs and postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual disabilities offered at Institutions of Higher Education under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
While traveling this week, Assistant Secretary Collett said, “the Department is committed to ensuring that students and youth with disabilities are held to high expectations and have the resources and supports needed to expand their learning opportunities and prepare them for success in postsecondary education or careers.”
Upon reviewing the Q&A and statements from Department of Education personnel, Think College Program Director, Cate Weir, had this to say, “we are so appreciative of the Department of Education for clarifying that federal funds can be used to support postsecondary education. We feel strongly that this guidance on IDEA and VR funding will result in greater participation in higher education programs for students with intellectual disabilities.”