Approved March 20, 2018
Student Responsibilities and Expectations
Failure to meet any of the below requirements may result in discontinuation of IDB’s financial support for tuition, books and related costs.
- Students must comply with all financial aid requirements listed below. Students must send a copy of his or her Financial Aid Award Letter, the Student Aid Report (SAR), and all other pertinent information to the counselor no later than ONE MONTH before the new academic year begins. Any late fees that result from the student’s negligence to submit the necessary verifications in a timely manner will be the responsibility of the student.
- Students in an associate or bachelor degree program must maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5, or the required GPA for a specific program. Students enrolled in a certificate, apprenticeship, or other post-secondary program must achieve the acceptable performance level for continued program participation. Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 or higher grade point average.
- Students must comply with the course-load requirements outlined below.
- Grades must be submitted no later than four weeks after the end of each academic semester.
- Students must inform their VR counselor if they receive notice that they are failing any course.
- The student must inform the counselor, in advance, of any necessity to drop and/or add courses or to take in-completes during or before the semester ends.
- Students must notify the counselor before changing their major or vocational goal.
IDB requires that all VR-sponsored post-secondary students apply for all Federal Financial Aid, including the Pell Grant and other available grants. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for financial aid before the college deadline for accepting these applications. Graduate students must also apply for all available scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships, including federal financial aid.
Certificate, licensure, and other non-degree seeking post-secondary training
IDB will only sponsor students attending programs that will allow them to comply with state licensure and employment requirements. Students in these programs must maintain the minimum level of achievement required by the particular program.
IDB will only sponsor students who attend accredited colleges or universities. A full time student should take no less than 12 credit hours per semester. A two-year college program should be completed in four semesters and one summer school.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements:
IDB will only sponsor students who attend accredited colleges or universities. A full-time student is expected to complete required coursework within a “standard” period of time. For a bachelor’s degree, ordinarily this would be for four academic years. In order to be a full-time student, at a minimum, the individual must take twelve hours per semester. IDB will allow students up to four years and two summer schools to complete the degree or up to nine semesters.
Graduate School Requirements
IDB will only sponsor students who attend accredited colleges or universities. In order to receive funding for graduate school from IDB, the degree must be directly related to and necessary for the achievement of the client’s vocational goal. Graduate students are required to carry an average of nine hours a semester and maintain a “B” average of a 3.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average.
Types and Amounts of Financial Support Provided by IDB
Tuition, fees, and room and board paid directly to an academic institution
IDB will directly pay an academic institution up to 95% of the remaining cost of tuition, required fees, and room and board costs after financial aid and comparable benefits have been applied. This does not include any optional activity or facilities fees not directly related to the student’s vocational goal. Students wishing to acquire room or meal plans above the institution’s basic or standard plan will need to pay the difference between the cost of the standard plan and their desired option.
Financial aid and comparable benefits include and are not limited to Pell grants, work study, university grants, non-merit scholarships and any merit scholarships paid directly to the school. The student may cover the remaining 5% with non-merit/unrestricted scholarships, personal savings, employment earnings, or any other funding source they choose. For example, if the cost of a semester is $10,000 and the student receives $9,000 in total financial aid as stated on their SAR, IDB would pay $950 and the student would be responsible for paying $50.
General Living Expenses
Students who reside in an institutional setting for the purpose of a training program and are receiving SSI or SSDI are expected to use those funds toward their general living expenses. IDB counselors will assist students in computing additional funds needed for participation in the training program..
Students must secure and manage their own transportation. Transportation options may include using public transportation, carpooling with other students, or getting rides from family or friends. If there is no transportation available, the VR counselor can help students develop long-term transportation strategies and may provide short-term assistance. Short-term assistance is defined as no more than two round trips to and from school per academic semester.
The student is responsible to utilize reader services provided by the college as this is a comparable benefit. The student must inform the counselor when reader services are not available through the academic institution. If not available through the academic institution, reader service may be provided by IDB. Readers may be paid between minimum wage and $10 per hour. The maximum amount authorized is 400 hours an academic year. The maximum for a summer session is 150 hours. Reader service assistance will be prorated for students that are in school less than full-time because they have met exceptions to this rule. Payment for reader service cannot be made to the client’s family members state employees, or family members of current State of Iowa employees, including work study students at state funded institutions (Board of Regents Schools).
Books and Supplies
IDB has established a maximum amount for books and supplies per academic semester and summer season. The amount is $400. A book list must be provided to the VR counselor prior to the authorization for books and supplies. IDB will authorize for the cost of books in “used” condition if available. All receipts must be provided to the VR counselor to be included in the case file.
IDB may pay for a limited amount of tutoring services for students attending college. The tutoring need must be required to successfully complete a required course. Tutoring resources available through the college will be fully explored and utilized prior to IDB support.
Students must provide documentation to their counselor regarding the need for tutoring in a required course, such as a letter from their instructor or academic advisor regarding the student's performance in the course and the number of tutorial hours recommended to improve performance. When cost effective, IDB can negotiate for "co-pay" of tutors with the college. IDB support for tutorial service cannot exceed 4 hours per week. Counselors shall make every effort to obtain the lowest possible fee for service, not to exceed $15 per hour. This limit may be waived, when necessary, with the approval of the Program Administrator. IDB will not allow reimbursement for travel by tutors.
Counselors must follow up with the college to confirm that tutoring is not available through the college. The Disabled Student Services Coordinator should be contacted to help identify tutors that meet the requirements of IDB and the consumer.
Tutors must provide written documentation of their expertise and ability to provide the specific tutorial services required (e.g., academic degree in the specialty area, letters of reference from responsible and knowledgeable sources). In instances where a school maintains a list of approved tutors, IDB may consider use of one of these tutors thereby waiving the requirement of documentation of the individual's credentials.
All grants or scholarships provided by any branch of government, an institution, or other public entity must be considered a comparable benefit. In some cases, monetary merit awards (scholarships) are not considered comparable benefits. The Students who receive SSI or SSDI will be required to use those payments for incidentals.
Authorizations and Reimbursements
All services and reimbursements must be authorized and approved prior to the purchase of the service or the service start date. It is the student’s responsibility to keep his or her counselor informed about their schedule or registration, need for books and supplies, etc. IDB will not provide payment for services that were not planned, necessary and authorized prior to the purchase or start date. IDB will not authorize for the same class more than one time. Students are responsible for late fees to educational facilities.
Exceptions to Policy
Occasionally, there are circumstances that will prevent a student from attending school full-time or from achieving a 2.5 grade point average. Situations such as working, surgery, medical or health crisis, or family crisis can have an impact on the student’s ability to fully participate in school. The student must communicate with the counselor about the circumstances and provide any requested documentation to prepare the request for an exception to policy. The request for an exception to policy must be approved by the VR Program Administrator If an exception is needed for more than one year, it must be reviewed and resubmitted annually.
My signature below signifies that these terms and conditions have been reviewed by me. I also understand that the Iowa Department for the Blind reserves the right to alter these terms and conditions as requirements dictate, and that my rehabilitation program is subject to such revision if I desire continued sponsorship by IDB.