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Financial Aid

Comprehensive Transition Program certification is a prestigious status granted by the US Department of Education to college programs serving students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Once schools receive this designation, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities enrolled at that institution may apply for Federal Financial Aid, including grants/scholarships and work study.

As of spring 2019, students enrolled via Elevate at ACC and GOAL at UNC may apply for federal financial aid.  

Wondering if financial aid impacts Social Security Income? Think College has a great FAQ page available here.

Scholarship Opportunities

Local Scholarships

The Veronica Brennan Memorial Scholarship is a scholarship based upon financial need that supports one student each semester who is admitted to and enrolled full-time in the GOAL Program at the University of Northern Colorado. Through this scholarship, financial assistance is provided by the Bresnahan-Halstead Center, School of Special Education, to offset costs of similarly enrolled typical undergraduate students at UNC. Application is made through UNC's Office of Financial Aid. The award is made to one student each semester and is renewable for the academic year, depending upon student's eligibility.

National Scholarships

The National Down Syndrome Society offers a scholarship opportunity through the O'Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund for students with Down syndrome who are pursuing post-secondary educational programs. For any questions regarding the O'Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund, please either send an email to or call 800-221- 4602.

Ruby's Rainbow grants scholarships to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking post-secondary education, enrichment or vocational classes. It is the goal to create awareness of the capabilities of these amazing individuals and help them achieve their dreams of higher education.  Review their website for application deadlines and contact information.

Other Considerations

There may be other sources of scholarships to consider. For example scholarships:

  • Awarded to seniors in your school district
  • Based on region - via organizations or Mill levy funds
  • Specific to the college you plan to attend
  • Disability specific

Some scholarships may say they are only for students pursuing a Bachelor's degree. Don't be afraid to ask whether an exception can be made for a student with an intellectual disability pursuing a certificate.

Savings Accounts

Colorado ABLE 

ABLE accounts are savings accounts designed for individuals with disabilities and their families. They enable individuals to save, while maintaining their Social Security Income. Students in college may use an ABLE account to have greater financial independence, or families may use an account to save for college, or any other disability related expense. To learn more, go to

Government Funding

Department of Vocational Rehabilitation 

Students with intellectual disabilities may be able to access support from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to help defray some of the cost of a college education while working to achieve their employment goals. DVR's services are very individualized, so families are encouraged to discuss available supports with their counselor. To learn more about DVR and find your local office please visit

Other Funding Options

Think College, a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with IDD, has a resource page about paying for college

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