Florida Division of Blind Services logo

 

Division Policy 2.9

SUBJECT

Post Secondary Education

EFFECTIVE DATE

July 11, 2003

REVIEW DATE

August 30, 2012

EXPIRATION DATE

This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed.

PURPOSE

To establish guidelines for the provision of post-secondary education services for DBS consumers.

AUTHORITY

FS 413; Rehabilitation Act of 1973, As Amended

POLICY

Post-Secondary Training

Post-secondary training may be sponsored by DBS if the individual requires such training to obtain his/her employment outcome.  Our goal is to provide the client with skills necessary to obtain employment consistent with his/her unique strengths resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, career interests, and informed choice. The following guidelines must be followed when determining the level of DBS sponsorship for post-secondary training (also see College Handbook):

  1. DBS will only sponsor the cost that would be required if the individual attended a state university as a Florida resident. For any student who is not a Florida resident, DBS will pay the non-resident rate until the client becomes a resident.  Residency must be obtained in a reasonable time.  (suggestion within a year of application)
  2. DBS will sponsor individuals to attend private schools and out-of-state universities, (at the Florida state rate) as well as field trips, or international experiences when the degree program can be justified in terms of the individual's employment outcome, and it is a unique circumstance. These shall be approved by the Bureau Chief.
  3. Clients attending in state or out-of-state universities will attend the educational institution on a full time basis, full-time will be considered 12 semester hours unless the institution’s definition of full time is different or an exception is granted by the District Administrator after discussing such with the Bureau Chief.
  4. DBS will only sponsor individuals at institutions that are fully accredited according to the list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies provided by the Secretary of Education. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by instructions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met.  
  5. DBS may sponsor individuals beyond a Bachelor’s degree, if the client and Rehabilitation Specialist agree the client is unable to reach the selected employment goal without additional training and education.
  6. DBS will only sponsor a course one time. If a student fails or drops a class he or she will be responsible for paying to retake the class. Exceptions may be made for medical reasons of student and/or family and bereavement.
  7. All distance learning must comply with these guidelines.   If a distance learning program offers on-line courses, whether for the entire program or certain courses during a term, DBS may sponsor those courses. The client/student shall meet with and inform their Rehabilitation Specialist about on-line courses prior to enrolling in them.   The District Administrator may grant requests to take more than one or two courses on-line per semester/term with proper justification. If a student is sponsored for distance learning and takes more than 50% of their courses on-line, DBS will not cover housing costs.

Given the rehabilitation needs of the individual, the District Administrator may approve exceptions to these guidelines after discussing exceptions with the Bureau Chief.

If an individual chooses an out-of-state institution at a higher cost than an in-state institution and if either institution can meet the individual’s rehabilitation needs, DBS will only sponsor fees at the in-state rate. The individual will be responsible for all fees in excess of the cost of the in-state fees.  Clients who choose out-of-state institutions will be responsible to pay for all trips to and from the institution and their homes in Florida.

No training or training services in an institution of higher education may be sponsored by DBS unless maximum efforts have been made by the Rehabilitation Specialist and the individual to secure grant assistance in whole or in part from other sources.

An individual must maintain the minimum academic standards established by the post-secondary institution and must provide grade records after each academic term throughout the program.

The IPE must indicate the number of semester/quarter hours the individual will attend in the post-secondary program.  Students receiving financial aid will be expected to take the number of hours required by the financial institution providing the assistance. When it has been jointly agreed that the individual will attend the educational institution on a full time basis, full-time will be considered 12 semester hours unless the institution’s definition of full time is different. 

Signed by director Joyce Hildreth on 9/1/2012.