Financial Aid for College Students with Intellectual Disabilities

From Eduardo M. Ochoa, Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education
Subject: Guidance Regarding Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary (CTP) Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Dear Accrediting Agency Executive Director:

This communication serves to make you aware of new provisions under title IV of the Higher Education Act, as amended (HEA), that affect accrediting agencies.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act, Pub. L. 110-315, added provisions to the HEA in sections 760 and 766 that enable eligible students with intellectual disabilities to receive Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Work-Study funds if they are enrolled in an approved program. These programs, which can be degree, certificate, nondegree, or noncertificate programs, are referred to as comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) programs for students with intellectual disabilities (

The regulations governing the eligibility of CTP programs are in 34 CFR Part 668, Subpart O. Under those regulations, an institution that currently participates in the federal student financial aid programs under title IV of the HEA is eligible to apply to have its CTP program determined to be an eligible program for the federal student aid programs. The institution must submit an updated Electronic Application for Approval to Participate in the Title IV Federal Student Aid Programs (E-App) to the Department (34 CFR 600.20). The application must include a detailed description of the CTP program and must indicate how the program meets all of the regulatory requirements for a CTP program.


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