Student Guide to Vocational Rehabilitation

Introduction

You are coming to Gallaudet! It is going to be a very important step in your life, because here is where you will obtain the education and growth necessary to have a great future.

Gallaudet is an important personal investment, and yes, it costs money. But that should not be a barrier that prevents you from coming or from staying until you finish. One of the most important assets any student can have is support from his or her state's Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency. VR can provide invaluable assistance in helping you obtain your college degree so that you can realize your educational and career goals.

You will read about strategies to develop, and maintain a strong relationship with your VR service. With effective communication and proper planning, VR can become an important partner in your education.

VR is not the only way for you to find money for college. Gallaudet's Financial Aid Office can also help you apply for federal and institutional scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. They also can help you plan your budget wisely. You should also aggressively seek out scholarships and grants from the many private sources which exist throughout the country or in your home communities and schools.

What to do before entering Gallaudet?
Once you've been accepted to Gallaudet and before your freshman year, you should complete your financial aid forms. It is also very important to make a strong start with your VR agency. What you need to do to make this start is:

  • Meet with your VR counselor early to establish your job goals, as early as your senior year in high school. This is a very important step. VR support will always focus on the successful completion of these goals.
  • Make sure you are on the same page with your counselor. Discuss expectations and goals. Decide how you will communicate with each other. Make sure you have a copy of your individualized rehabilitation plan for services.
  • Obtain a copy of your VR authorizations, if possible. These are proof that VR has agreed to support you at Gallaudet and will help you with your financial planning.
  • Maintain a personal file which consists of VR agreements, copies of VR authorizations, financial aid awards, (grants/scholarships and loans) and personal budget plans. Plan your budget in advance. Estimate your costs and figure out how to cover them.

What to do during the academic year?
Your freshman year at Gallaudet will pass by like a whirlwind, but it is very important to maintain communication with your VR Counselor throughout the year.

  • Submit copies of class schedules, university bills and grade reports as soon as you get them.
  • Keep in regular contact through e-mail, fax or letters regarding your school performance. Be sure to mention if you need any additional help to succeed. Notify your VR Counselor in advance if you withdraw from a course, change your major, decide to go to summer school, or make other important decisions which affect your educational program. Any change you make can have an impact on your VR agreement.
  • Make sure you keep your finances in order so you can keep track of your student account. You will need to clear any debt to the university before you can enroll in the next semester's courses.
  • See your VR Counselor during winter break, if possible, to follow through and make sure your academic performance and progress has been satisfactory. It is critical that you maintain good academic standing.
  • Reapply for financial aid every spring for the following school year (VR requires you to do this).

What to do during the summer after each academic year?

  • See your VR Counselor to wrap up the year and discuss any upcoming changes.
  • Start planning for your next year in college.
  • Make sure any debt to the university is paid off so that you can enroll in the fall.
  • If you need to discuss your account, contact the Student Accounts Office.
  • Check with the Financial Aid Office to make sure that all necessary applications and documents have been submitted.

 

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