a. Academic year. DARS accepts the school’s definition.
b. Cost of attendance (school budget) means:
tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal/miscellaneous, and travel/transportation needed for school training.Note: The Higher Education Act permits each school to determine the cost of attendance for the student body.
universities, colleges, community or junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, or hospital schools of nursing. Note: Vocational schools and technical institutes may also be called career or trade schools and offer job-specific skills rather than a liberal arts education.
prerequisite college developmental courses needed during the college freshman year; trial college semester as assessment; high school/post-secondary school dual enrollment; small business development workshops needed for self employment; preparation course and testing fee for entrance examination or occupational examination for certification or licensure; adult continuing education courses, and tutorial services needed as a disability accommodation.
2. Provided Under Employment Plan.
3. Criteria for receiving school training service.
Once in school, the individual must maintain a “C” average for each academic year, or higher if required by the school training program. If the individual eanrs less than a "C" average for the academic year, DARS finanical assistance may be reinstated only if the individual completes one term, maintains "C" average, and meets all other eligibility criteria for school training services.
If a graduation extenison is not needed for a current student, the counselor may approve a double major or a change in majors/field of study for any reason. DARS shall not support a double major or changein the major/field of study that requires an extension to the graduation deadline when the school does not grant the extension.
Audited courses are not funded by VR, including all categories in the cost of attendance (school budget). This provision does not apply to Virginia Commonwealth University's ACE-IT in College program.
The individual must provide a copy of the semester's transcripts, with the current semester's grades, copy of degree completion, trade school certificate of completion, etc. and the counselor shall keep the documents in the case record.
4. Graduate degrees.
DARS may assist the client in securing a graduate degree only when it is essential to their achieving an employment goal agreed to by DARS and the individual in the IPE (per State Regulation
22 VAC 30-20- 120). District director approval is required for inclusion of a graduate degree on the client’s IPE (See Section 1D).
5. Maximizing employment.
Maximizing employment means the opportunity to reach employment potential and is not the same as a bigger paycheck. Depending on the occupation and the career potential of the individual, entry level jobs may be the maximum employment level, may be an appropriate first step on the path to upward career mobility, or may be underemployment. The counselor shall not limit the individual to entry level jobs solely to achieve employment of some kind or because the employment plan program will cost less (e.g., only requires placement assistance, job retraining, less education etc.). Client choice by itself shall not be the sole reason for selecting an employment goal. The employment goal must be based, primarily, on the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and reflect career interests and informed choice to the extent that they are consistent with the strengths, resources, etc. as well as other employment factors such as labor market information in the local area or willingness to relocate, job market outlook, etc. These considerations apply to individuals who are not currently employed and individuals seeking to advance in their present careers (per federal policy directive RSA-PD-97-04). For employment goal selection, see Chapter 5, PLAN, Policy 2, Section B1.
Resources: Resources for labor market information include the Virginia Employment Commission's Virginia Occupational Career Resource Guide, Virginia View, O*Net, job descriptions, etc.
6. Career advancement.
Career advancement means upward career mobility and a higher level job in the present career path (not just earning more money in the current occupation). Criteria for school training services for career advancement are:
7. Career change. Criteria for school training services for career change are:
7. Career change.
Criteria for school training services for career change are:
8. Vocational necessity. Vocational necessity is determined by comparing the job qualifications of the employment goal to the current education level, transferable skills, and abilities. If the established employment goal requires certification, licensing, examinatin, degree, or other qualification that is usually obtained through a school trainig program (including a preparation course for an occupational examination) then that school training program is vocationally necessary (e.g. school trainign and license required for employment as a barber, cosmetologist, commerical driver, polygraph examiner, real estate agent, nurse, certain health care and medical occupations).School training is vocationally necessary if the individual needs updated or additional job skills or education to meet the hiring standards. School training may be vocationally necessary if employers do not require, but prefer, more school training than the individual has attained - therefore, consider the competitiveness of the labor pool and hiring standards.9. 6 "A"s.
8. Vocational necessity.
Vocational necessity is determined by comparing the job qualifications of the employment goal to the current education level, transferable skills, and abilities. If the established employment goal requires certification, licensing, examinatin, degree, or other qualification that is usually obtained through a school trainig program (including a preparation course for an occupational examination) then that school training program is vocationally necessary (e.g. school trainign and license required for employment as a barber, cosmetologist, commerical driver, polygraph examiner, real estate agent, nurse, certain health care and medical occupations).School training is vocationally necessary if the individual needs updated or additional job skills or education to meet the hiring standards. School training may be vocationally necessary if employers do not require, but prefer, more school training than the individual has attained - therefore, consider the competitiveness of the labor pool and hiring standards.
9. 6 "A"s.
Potential to successfully complete all requirements of the school training program and to achieve employment must be demonstrated in the case record. Factors to consider include, but are not limited to:
aptitude,Guidance: Ability to perform at that academic level may be assessed by high school grades, whether a standard or advanced high school diploma was awarded, college board score or SAT score or entrance examination score, vocational evaluation, IQ score, teacher/guidance counselor recommendations, etc. Also consider the disability and functional limitations and ability to handle the demands and stresses of school now and job later.
attitude,Guidance: When assessing attitude, consider the individual’s attitude, motivation, organizational skills, time management, maturity level, independence, responsibility and follow through, completion of assignments on time, etc.
accommodation,Guidance: Accommodations may be needed in the classroom. If the individual tried school training in the past, consider if the needed accommodations were provided and whether they were used and if not, why not. Consider what accommodations are needed now and if existing needs assessments are sufficient, or if additional or new information is needed. For transition students, accommodation appropriate for college may be different than for high school, and you may need new needs assessments.
advocacy skills to request reasonable accommodation,Guidance: Advocacy skills are needed to self-advocate effectively with instructors and campus disability services staff. Unlike high school, accommodations are usually requested course by course. The individual may benefit from career counseling, assertiveness training, etc. For transition students, there is no IEP in college and accommodation rights may differ from high school.
availability of jobs, and Guidance: Availability of jobs is a factor. Consider local job market or relocation, occupational growth trends, labor market competitiveness, etc. Resources include Virginia View, and the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.allowances for cost of attendance. See maximum allowances.
9. Factors not having to do with maximizing employment, vocational necessity, and potential for successful training and employment do not justify VR support, including, but not limited to (per agency mandate):
11. Consumer ResponsibilitiesThe individual must satisfy all requirements in section B of this policy.
11. Consumer Responsibilities
The individual must satisfy all requirements in section B of this policy.
12. Disallowed services.
Note: Although merit-based aid is not acomparable benefit, this is a resource that may be available to the client and the counselor
e. Per federal OMB Circular A-87 revised May 10, 2004, DRS shall not pay bad debts, liens or judgments (e.g., defaulted student loans); entertainment expenses, including costs of amusements and social activities (e.g., fraternity or social organization fees); fines, court costs, and similar expenses; or the consumer interest payments (e.g., interest portion of student loan payment).
13. Financial participation.School training services, except trial semester as assessment, are subject to consumer financial participation policy (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54) and annual RS-13 Client Financial Statement. For policy on when FAFSA and RS-25 are also required, See Policy 1: Section D3 of this chapter. For financial participation policy, see Chapter 14.3, FINANCIAL, Policy 1.
13. Financial participation.
School training services, except trial semester as assessment, are subject to consumer financial participation policy (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54) and annual RS-13 Client Financial Statement. For policy on when FAFSA and RS-25 are also required, See Policy 1: Section D3 of this chapter. For financial participation policy, see Chapter 14.3, FINANCIAL, Policy 1.
14. Comparable benefits.
Merit-based aid and scholarships (i.e., athletic, artistic, academic, essay contest, etc.) are not a comparable benefit, even when accepted (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5). VR shall accept the school’s determination whether the aid is based on merit. The SCHEV Website at
www.schev.edu lists some merit-based aid for which the student may apply.
Note: Although merit-based aid is not acomparable benefit, this is a resource that may be available to the client and the counselor can negotiate with the family to see about covering other costs associated with attendance, such as travel or personal expenses.
15. Ineligibility to apply for financial aid prohibits VR funding.
When the RS-25 is required under Policy 1: Section D1 of this chapter, DARS shall not authorize a training program that participates in the financial aid program for an individual who is ineligible to apply for financial aid for any of the reasons listed here (per U.S. Department of Education Guide to Federal Student Aid). These individuals have not used maximum efforts to secure grant assistance in whole or in part from other sources (Higher Education Act Title IV; Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) regulations; P.L. 102-569 Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended Title I Section 103(a)(3); federal policy directive RSA-PD-92-02 issued November 21, 1991; federal program assistance circular RSA-PAC-88-05 issued September 9, 1988; 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.48). The financial aid program is responsible for determining financial aid application eligibility and DARS shall abide by their decision. Refer the individual to the lender or school’s financial aid office to discuss possible remedies.
h. not meet eligibility criteria for non-U.S. citizens. i.
Does not have a valid social security number.
16. Purchasing. School training services are subject to DRS established purchasing policies and procedures (see Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 1).
School training services are subject to DRS established purchasing policies and procedures (see Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 1).
With supervisor approval, the counselor may authorize one trial semester when the counselor is unsure of the individual’s capability to perform academically beyond the high school level. It is an assessment service exempt from the RS-13, FAFSA and RS-25, and may or may not be provided under an Employment Plan at the counselor’s discretion. The individual must takes courses within the plan of study identified as meeting their established employment goal.Regardless of where the individual enrolls, the maximum allowance (not to exceed the actual cost) is the local community college tuition and fees rate, $0 room and board, cost of attendance (school budget) for books and supplies, one meal per day while on campus, parking permit, and one round trip travel per day spent on campus. The student must earn a minimum “C” average for the semester to continue to receive support for future semesters. For lowest cost policy, see Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 6.Cross reference: For lowest cost services policy, see
Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 6.
The counselor may authorize up to one year of developmental courses required by the school only for entering college freshman whose employment goal requires college coursework or degree. Supervisor’s written pre-approval is required. If the individual is taking only developmental courses, use the RS-13 but not the FAFSA or RS-25. Regardless of where the individual enrolls, the counselor shall authorize no more than the local community college tuition and fees rate, $0 room and board, actual books and supplies, one meal per day while on campus, campus parking permit if needed, and one round trip travel per day spent on campus at the client mileage reimbursement rate (see
Chapter 8.20, TRANSPORTATION, Policy
1). The student must earn a minimum “C” average each semester and make satisfactory progress towards meeting all of the school requirements within the school deadlines to demonstrate college potential.
Tutorial services provided by DRS vendors may be authorized if needed for the individual to achieve the established employment goal as indicated by assessment of medical, vocational, psychological and other factors (per State Regulation 22 VAC 30-20-120). Peer tutoring may not be adequate for some consumers who have specific learning needs. In this cae, it is appropriate to use private tutorial services. Refer to the DRS Services Reference Manual for additional information and for maximum allowance.
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Summer school training is subject to the RS-13, and RS-25 when it applies. See Policy 1: Section D3 of this chapter.
Guidance: Factors to consider when approving summer school include, but are not limited to: required course is offered only in the summer; part-time student needs summer school to graduate within the school’s deadline; student needs less than a full semester to graduate; student will perform well under the faster learning pace with grades based on fewer assignments and tests; school’s attendance policy and whether the student will miss any days due to disability or vacation or other reasons, etc. Summer school may be utilized for consumers to participate in an internship, unpaid work experience, or paid employment within their established employment goal. This builds work experiences and references for the consumer.
Failure to meet any of the conditions below is sufficient cause for denial or withdrawal of financial assistance for school training. The individual must:
Guidance 1: The earlier the student applies for aid, the more comparable benefits and financial aid assistance will be available. There are
federal, state, and college financial aid deadlines. Check the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) website to determine how early an individual can apply for aid.
Guidance 2: The individual is encouraged to apply for federal financial aid even if the individual is 100% responsible on the RS-13, in case the individual does qualify for financial aid.
Example: if the cost of attendance is $5,000 for private school tuition and $1,000 for books, and the DRS maximum allowance is $2,400 for community college tuition and $1,000 for books, the counselor shall not authorize $3,400 ($2,400 + $1,000) for tuition. For example, if the authorized amount for travel/transportation has been exhausted but the authorized amount for books category has not been exhausted, the counselor shall not use the remainder of the books amount for travel.
Exception 1: The supervisor may give written pre-approval for an individual who would normally be considered a commuting student to live away from the pre-enrollment home if the counselor and individual determine that it is in the individual’s best interest to do so. The maximum allowance is the cost of attendance at the school attended, not to exceed the actual cost. Examples include, but are not limited to:
Resources: The Transfer Modules published by the State Council of Higher Education ( http://ww.schev.edu) and the Virginia Community College system (http://www.vccs.edu) will assist you to determine whether community college is comparable to the proprietary vocational school or technical institute training or first two years of the bachelor’s degree. The Chief Transfer Officer at the four-year university can confirm if the university will accept the community college credits. The Academic Common Market Website has a feature to search for majors and which colleges offer it.
Before the counselor authorizes school training services for inclusion on the client’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), the counselor shall obtain supervisor approval as documented in the form of an actual service note in the case record. District director approval is also required for inclusion of a graduate degree on the client’s IPE.
DRS Services Reference Manual. Use the Authorization and not the SPCC so if the client drops a course, the counselor can cancel or adjust the Authorization amount (if the SPCC is used, the school refunds the money into the student account and not to DARS).