Facts and Guidelines That Support Requests for VR Appeals, Exceptions and Waivers

FAQ

How do I apply for Vocational Rehabilitation financial aid?

Contact your local Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in your home state.

What types of financial aid are available?

Financial aid may include student loans, student employment, combinations of grant-in-aid, Vocational Rehabilitation and federal and state grants that are available for students in need. RIT's Financial Aid Office has more information.

When must I contact VR?

Be sure to contact your VR before you drop a class, withdraw from a class or change your major.

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:

  1. Outstanding Job Placement Rate—Last year, 94 percent of deaf and hard-of-hearing RIT/NTID graduates who chose to enter the workforce found employment after graduation.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 130 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.
    • Deaf and hard-of-hearing students enrolled in associate degree programs receive direct instruction, 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. RIT/NTID’s nearly 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.
  9. With more than 1,200 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.
  10. 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.