IDEA Funds for Postsecondary Programs – While Still in High School

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Secretary DeVos Makes Clear Federal Funds can be Used to Support Dual Enrollment, Postsecondary Options for Students and Youth with Disabilities

On September 17, 2019, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made it clear that –

…vocational rehabilitation (VR) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds can be used to support dual enrollment, comprehensive transition and other postsecondary education programs for students and youth with disabilities.

“All students deserve the freedom to pursue an education that is challenging and allows them to reach their full potential,” said Secretary DeVos. “I hope this information will make clear what the law says and serve as a resource to families, Individualized Education Program (IEP) Teams and State VR agencies as they continue to collaborate and find ways to increase postsecondary opportunities – and success – for students and youth with disabilities.”

Joint Question and Answer (Q&A) document issued by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) describes how State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and State VR agencies may coordinate to assist students and youth with disabilities, including students and youth with intellectual disabilities, in preparing for postsecondary success.

The document reinforces the appropriate use of funds under the IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“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,” said Collett.

Specifically, the Q&A addresses the following topics:

  • The opportunity for students with disabilities to enroll in postsecondary education programs while still in high school;
  • 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;
  • The coordination of transition-related services that students with disabilities may receive under the IDEA and under the VR program; and
  • The financial aid available to students with disabilities enrolled in comprehensive transition and postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual disabilities offered at Institutions of Higher Education under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Wrightslaw Transition Resources

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Summer School Series 2019: Transition – Planning for Your Child’s Future

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08/16/2020 7:14 pm

If college students do not have 504 plans, are universities still legally bound to honor their accommodations?

01/21/2020 8:39 pm

This is great information. Unfortunately, Maine interprets federal law in the most modest of ways. Transition is poorly understood and not supported. It is the burden of the family to pay for a lawyer to hold the district accountable.

10/01/2019 4:28 pm

Some school districts in Illinois fail to
1. link transitioning goals to the student’s IEP.
2. fail to follow Indicator 13, however, click yes to each question to appease the Illinois State Board of Education.
3. violate IDEA by not completing a Summary of Performance (SOP)

09/28/2019 8:15 am

This is great news however if the law is not making schools accountable for each section being detailed in an IEP how will the Gov know what the schools are using the money for? Also should make schools update all records by law! Because they sure are not updated in Ohio!

11/14/2019 9:24 am
Reply to  TNR

YOU need to make your district accountable. No one in any governmental role can scrutinize every IEP for compliance. In Ohio we have state-wide support from multiple agencies to call on when we can’t get schools to do the right thing. Every district is supported by a State Support Team:
and parent mentors through OCECD:
as well as non-profits providing free advocacy state-wide like OCALI and Disability Rights Ohio.
Every medium and large city has free legal aid organizations that often help with school related issues, and in my county we have other non profit organizations providing free advocates to accompany parents to their school meetings.

11/14/2019 2:58 pm
Reply to  Peter

WOW!! This is great information of what a state & community are doing. Thanks for sharing.