Beyond Academics can offer federal student aid
UNCG students with intellectual and developmental disabilities can now apply for federal student aid.
UNCG’s Beyond Academics program is now one of only 34 similar programs in the country approved to participate in federal student aid programs. The approval came July 1 when Beyond Academics was designated a Comprehensive Training Program (CTP) by the U.S. Department of Education, giving eligible students access to federal grants.
Joan Johnson, UNCG’s CTP director, said the opportunity is “an exciting option in transforming lives.”
“The Integrative Community Studies certificate program has underscored UNCG’s vision and commitment to diversity, access and inclusion for more than seven years,” Johnson said. “The pursuit of and participation in higher education is a demonstrated and effective means to improvement in the quality of life for all citizens. The relatively new access to higher education for students with intellectual disabilities is showing significant results in higher success rates for self-sufficiency, employment and engaged citizenship.”
Post-secondary education prepares individuals with intellectual disabilities for 21st century jobs, independent living, and fulfilling personal, social, and civic responsibilities. UNCG houses one of the largest CTP programs in the nation, and is one of only three institutions offering a four-year curriculum. CTP partners with the nonprofit Beyond Academics.
Qualifying UNCG students may apply for funding from the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs. Students with intellectual disabilities are eligible for federal financial aid thanks to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.
North Carolina is also seeking to ease financial burdens for students with intellectual disabilities and their families. Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan and Representatives David Price, Howard Coble, and Patrick McHenry are among those cosponsoring The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The bill would allow individuals with a disability to establish tax-free accounts to pay for expenses such as higher education, health and wellness, and employment training. The ABLE Act was introduced into Congress in 2013 by a bipartisan bicameral set of Congress members and currently has 377 co-sponsors.
For more information about aid for students with intellectual disabilities, go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/intellectual-disabilities. Learn more about the ABLE Act at https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/647.