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Because RIT/NTID receives special federal support, deaf and hard-of-hearing students enrolled in any undergraduate degree program pay less than one-half of RIT’s regular tuition. The reduced tuition rate also applies for students enrolled in the ASL-English Interpretation program.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing students enrolled in graduate degree programs also pay a reduced tuition rate. This also applies to hearing students enrolled in the Master of Science program in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. At RIT/NTID, we pride ourselves on making a great education truly affordable.
You might not be aware that your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation office is an important resource available to you to help you plan and finance a college education. VR offices exist in every state, and VR counselors work with high schools, junior colleges and universities across the country to help students who are deaf or hard of hearing or who have disabilities get the education they need for career success. VR may assist with vocational training or college.
VR services may include financial assistance, employment planning, counseling, transportation, and job placement assistance. A VR counselor, who determines eligibility for services, is assigned to each individual requesting assistance. States have various names for VR, and services vary depending on need and the state in which a student lives.
If you have questions about VR related to RIT/NTID, please contact the NTID Student Financial Services Office:
Vocational Rehabilitation Services
585-475-2582 (V) firstname.lastname@example.org
State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies can be an important resource in helping deaf and hard-of-hearing students fund their education. VR can provide invaluable assistance in helping you obtain your college degree so you can realize your career goals. Click on your state below for information about VR services and support in your state.
Vocational Rehabilitation is a federal- and state-funded program that provides financial and other types of support for employment- and education-related services and training to assist individuals with disabilities to qualify for, find or keep a job. The services available through VR for college students with hearing loss are designed specifically to meet the needs of the individual student.
Is my student eligible for services through VR?
To be eligible for services through VR, your student must meet the following federally mandated guidelines:
Your student must have a documented physical, mental, emotional or learning disability that has a significant impact on your student’s ability to get a job.
Your student must require VR services to find, keep and succeed in a job.
Meeting with the VR counselor in your area can help determine if your student is eligible.
How can my student apply for VR?
Your student should contact a guidance counselor, teacher, principal or other school representative who can provide an application and make a referral. You also can contact your area’s VR office directly to get an application and set up an interview with a VR counselor.
How does my student qualify for services?
Based on your student's application and interview, the assigned VR counselor will decide whether or not your student qualifies for services. What services are available for my student? Services vary depending on need and the state in which your student lives. Each state agency has its own eligibility criteria, application process and methods for deciding the level of support it will provide. If your student is eligible, the VR counselor will work with him/her to develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The IPE has three basic parts: the individual’s job goals, the services needed to be successful in those job goals, and the process for review of progress toward goal achievement. This IPE is based on your student’s abilities, strengths, priorities, concerns, interests and resources.
When should we contact our VR office?
Students should contact VR during their junior year of high school or earlier to allow themselves sufficient time to work with a VR counselor to determine employment goals prior to entering college.
Should the parent/guardian go with the student to meetings with his/her VR counselor?
Parent’s/Guardian’s participation in the VR process is very important, especially if the student is underage. Go to the first meeting, then stay in touch to make sure VR’s planning activities are consistent with the plans you and your student are making with the college your student plans to attend.
What are some questions to ask VR?
A few questions you can ask VR to get your discussion underway include:
How does my state decide how much funding my student will receive?
How long will it take to determine if my student is eligible?
If I claim my student on my taxes, does that affect VR support?
If my student receives SSI benefits, how will this benefit affect VR funding?
Does VR support cover the cost of career-related summer programs for high school students?
Will VR pay for all services in the IPE?
VR might not cover all of your student’s expenses related to college. Contact RIT’s Financial Aid and Scholarship Office about other sources of financial support, including scholarships.
Can my VR state agency refuse to support my student from attending an out-of-state college, such as RIT?
No. According to the Rehabilitation Act, federal regulations state clearly that state agencies cannot establish policies that “effectively prohibit the provision of out-of-state services.” However, a state agency "may establish a preference for in-state services," as long as there are provisions to ensure that your student is not denied a necessary service. If the out-of-state program costs more than an in-state service, and it is determined that either service would meet your student’s rehabilitation needs, the VR system is not responsible for costs in excess of the cost of the in-state service. Your student can still choose an out-of-state service, and the VR system would be responsible for the costs of the out-of-state program, up to the cost of the in-state program.
If there is no program within the state that will enable your student to meet his/her employment goal, the state must have a process to fully fund the out-of-state program (subject to any financial need criteria the state may have established). Generally, VR offices have a written policy covering this situation.
What if I disagree with VR’s decision?
If you disagree, you have the right to appeal. To initiate an appeal, you or your student should write to the director of your state VR office and identify the reason(s) for the appeal and the action you wish the office to take. In addition, each state has a Client Assistance Program, which can provide you with advice and assistance in resolving issues and concerns. In most cases, an individual issue or concern is addressed without having to conduct a formal appeal hearing. Get more information on appealing a VR decision.
If my student receives SSI benefits, how will services through VR affect this benefit?
Contact the Social Security Administration District Office to get specific information about the impact of VR services on your student’s SSI benefits.
Will VR support automatically continue until my student graduates from college?
No, VR support must be assessed each semester. Your student is expected to maintain good academic standing and is required to maintain contact with their VR counselor and to keep the counselor up to date with all transcripts, changes in courses or curricula, financial status or problems encountered.
If I am receiving VR support, do I still need to file a FAFSA?
Yes, you need to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in your student’s last year of high school and each year while your student is attending college. The FAFSA is available after October 1 of your student’s senior year.
Will VR support my student to participate in transition programs that will help lead them to identify their career interests?
VR may support your student to participate in activities related to his/her transition planning from high school to college, such as the NTID’s Explore Your Future (EYF) program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. By participating in transition programs like EYF, your student begins the process to prepare for life after high school. Through self-assessment and hands-on activities, your student will learn more about how to match his/her interests, personality and skills to a career and career-education options. To find out if your VR office will support transition planning programs like EYF, contact your VR counselor.
Online transition planning programs also are available for your student to help him/her learn about his/her career interests and goals.
How do I get more information about VR Services?
Contact the VR office closest to your home. VR programs are known by different names in different states, but you can find information in your local telephone directory under "State Government."
If you and your student believe that RIT/NTID is the best choice, and Vocational Rehabilitation denies funding, you can appeal VR’s decision.
In your appeal, you must demonstrate why your student will have a better opportunity to succeed at RIT/NTID than at another college. Here are some facts you can use in your appeal:
Outstanding Job Placement Rate—Last year, 95 percent of deaf and hard-of-hearing RIT/NTID graduates who chose to enter the workforce found employment after graduation.
Impressive Persistence and Graduate Rates—First-year persistence rates and graduation rates for both associate- and bachelor-level deaf and hard-of-hearing students at RIT/NTID are higher than the national rates for students in community colleges and other four-year colleges.
Higher Earnings for Graduates—A recent study by NTID and the Social Security Administration shows that completing a degree from RIT/NTID has significant economic benefits for deaf and hard-of-hearing graduates. At age 50, deaf and hard-of-hearing RIT/NTID graduates with a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree earn 178% and 95% more, respectively, than deaf and hard-of-hearing students who graduate from other postsecondary institutions around the country.
Exceptional Value & Affordability—Because RIT receives special federal support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, those students pay less than one-half of RIT’s regular tuition rate.
Unparalleled Access and Support Services—RIT/NTID provides the most accessible educational community in the world for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing students enrolled in RIT bachelor’s degree programs will have access to more than 150 sign language interpreters, the largest staff of professional and skilled interpreters of any college program in the world, each with an average of 14 years of experience. There also are more than 50 captionists and hundreds of notetakers whose classroom notes are uploaded onto a website for easy access by deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
For deaf and hard-of-hearing students enrolled in associate degree programs, instructors will communicate directly with students using a variety of communication strategies, which may include sign language with voice, sign language without voice, spoken language (FM systems are available), fingerspelling, printed/visual aids, Web-based instructional materials and individualized tutoring. In cases where a faculty member's communication strategies do not appropriately meet their needs, students can request access services from the Department of Access Services for courses at NTID via the MyAccess.RIT.edu website.
Tutors, advisors and faculty and staff members who have experience working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students are available to help students succeed.
On-campus audiologists provide services related to hearing and hearing aids, cochlear implants and assistive devices, and speech-language pathologists offer a broad range of speech and language services.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing students at RIT complete a required cooperative work experience that provides them with real-world job experience in their field of study before they graduate.
Job Search Assistance—Unlike career placement offices at most other colleges, RIT/NTID employment specialists travel coast to coast meeting with employers, building relationships and educating the marketplace about the value of hiring deaf and hard-of-hearing RIT/NTID students and graduates. They also provide job search and interview preparation services, and host an annual on-site career fair specifically for deaf and hard-of-hearing students with employers from across the country.
RIT/NTID’s 50 years of experience and expertise in teaching English to deaf and hard-of-hearing students set the college apart from other colleges. The college offers a strong English program that enables deaf and hard-of-hearing students to develop their English literacy skills. An English remediation program also is available to those deaf and hard-of-hearing students who need additional support.
With more than 1,100 deaf and hard-of-hearing students on campus, RIT/NTID has made sure the campus is fully accessible. Classrooms and laboratories support the latest technologies for teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Academic and residence halls are equipped with visual emergency warning systems.
RIT/NTID offers more than 300 clubs and organizations for deaf and hard-of-hearing students to develop their professional, leadership and life skills. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students participate fully in the campus community, and for many students this is an integral part of their success at RIT/NTID and after graduation.
All of these factors set RIT/NTID apart from other colleges in the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
You and your student are encouraged to work with your VR counselor and exhaust all options to reach a consensus about supporting your student at RIT/NTID. If, after making your case, you and your student still cannot reach an agreement with VR, you have the right to appeal the decision and request a review of the case by your state’s Client Assistance Program representative who can provide you with advice and assistance in resolving issues and concerns. Your CAP representative can also help you request mediation services, where a third party will be brought in to try and negotiate a compromise between your student and VR.
When your concerns are not resolved through this process, your CAP representative can assist you with requesting an administrative review by a supervisor. Each state is different, but if your appeal is denied at this level then you can request your case to go to the Appeals Board. The Appeals Board is composed of appointees who are neutral, objective and have familiarity with federal and state rehabilitation laws and regulations. The board will make a decision, which is usually adopted by the VR agency.
Again, each state is different in its appeal process, so you need to check your state’s VR written materials or website for your student’s rights and remedies.
RIT is an exceptional college choice for deaf and hard-of-hearing students from all countries.
RIT provides excellent academic programs, outstanding access and support services, and diverse educational, social and personal development opportunities that you won't find anywhere else in the world. If you're looking for a superior education and a truly unique college experience, you'll find it here at RIT/NTID.
Among RIT's 18,000 students are hundreds of international students, including nearly 100 deaf and hard-of-hearing students from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
RIT/NTID has welcomed students from countries around the world, including deaf and hard-of-hearing students from places like Australia, Bolivia, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vietnam, and others!