THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

EMSC-VESID Committee

FROM:

Rebecca H. Cort  

SUBJECT:

Proposed Amendment to the Regulations of the Commissioner Relating to the rates set for College Study for Individuals with Disabilities participating in Vocational Rehabilitation Services

 

DATE:

December 19, 2006

 

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goal 4

 

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Discussion

 

Should the Board of Regents approve the proposed amendment of section 247.14 and the addition of a new section 247.18 of the Regulations of the Commissioner, relating to the rates set for meeting the costs of college study for individuals with disabilities participating in vocational rehabilitation services?

 

Reason(s) for Consideration

 

          Review of Policy.

 

Proposed Handling

 

This question will come before the EMSC-VESID Committee at its January 2007 meeting as a consent item.

 

Procedural History

 

The proposed regulations were discussed by the Board of Regents at its October meeting.  VESID has worked with its State Rehabilitation Council and notified the Client Assistance Program, as required in federal regulations, regarding the proposed change.

 

Background Information

 

          Current regulations set specific dollar limits on cost for college study that have been in place for more than 10 years.  As an example, the regulations set the tuition reimbursement amount at $1,650 for full-time enrollment during an academic year.  For several years VESID has been granting waivers of this amount up to the SUNY tuition amount to nearly every consumer who requests a waiver.  The proposed amendment to section 247.14 will allow VESID to set college tuition, room and board, and book rates through policy.  This will give VESID greater flexibility to meet its consumers' needs by allowing for reimbursement of realistic college costs without having to amend its regulations each year or having to waive each studentís request for funding over the minimum regulatory amount.  In addition, the proposed new section 247.18 would expressly permit waivers of any maximum amount, maximum allowance or other cost and/or duration limit established in the regulations, upon a finding by the Department that such cost and/or duration limit would effectively deny a consumer access to services necessary to achieve an employment outcome.  This section would be aligned with federal requirements indicating that states must have the capacity to make individual determinations.

 

          These changes support the Regents Strategic Goal 4 in that it can increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in postsecondary education.  

 

          A Notice of Proposed Rule Making was published in the State Register on October 25, 2006.  No comments were received and no revisions were made to the proposed regulations.

 

Recommendation

 

          It is recommended that the Board of Regents take the following action:

 

          VOTED:  That subdivisions (d) and (j) of section 247.14 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education be amended and section 247.18 of such Regulations be added, as submitted, effective February 1, 2007.

 

Timetable for Implementation

 

The effective date of the proposed regulations is February 1, 2007.

 

 

AMENDMENT OF SECTION 247.14 AND PROMULGATION OF SECTION 247.18 OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION 

          Pursuant to sections 101, 207 and 1004 of the Education Law

          1.  Subdivision (d) of section 247.14 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is amended, effective February 1, 2007, as follows:

          (d)  Maintenance.  Maintenance shall be provided to an eligible individual or an individual receiving either trial work or extended evaluation services, when appropriate, to cover additional costs including basic subsistence expenses such as food, shelter and clothing that are in excess of the individual's normal expenses and are necessary because of the individual's participation in a program of vocational rehabilitation.

          (1)  Types of maintenance.  (i) Major maintenance shall be provided for food, shelter and miscellaneous personal needs for individuals living away from home to compensate for extra expenses incurred while undergoing diagnostic evaluation or participating in a training program. Supplementation for food and shelter provided for an individual participating in a training program while living away from home shall be funded [at] up to a maximum [of $1,350 per year from the date of commencement of training] amount established by the agency, provided that such maximum amount shall not exceed the current and actual State University of New York (SUNY) room and board costs.  Approval may be granted for a variance from such maximum [supplementation] amount upon a finding by the agency that the cost to the agency resulting from such variance will not be greater than the alternative cost of providing commutation transportation and/or other support services.  Major maintenance shall also be provided to individuals living at home only if all the following conditions are met:

          (a)  .   .   .

          (b)  .   .   .

          (c)  .   .   .
          (ii)  .   .   .

          (2)  .   .   .

          2.  Subdivision (j) of section 247.14 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is amended, effective February 1, 2007, as follows:

          (j)  Training.  (1) Types of training provided.  The agency shall provide the following types of training when necessary for the individual to achieve an employment outcome:

          (i)  .   .   .

          (ii)  .   .   .

          (iii)  .   .   .

          (iv)   training at a college, business college or university, provided that the [maximum] funding for tuition shall [be $1,650] not exceed the maximum amount  established by the agency, and provided further that such maximum amount shall not exceed the current and actual resident tuition rate for the State University of New York (SUNY) [for] full-time enrollment during an academic year (excluding mini-session, intersession and/or summer session).  Funding for tuition for mini-session, intersession, and summer session shall be prorated based on such established maximum. [The agency shall be prorated based on such established maximum.] The agency shall waive this maximum, or any prorated amount based on such established maximum, and pay tuition in an amount not to exceed the tuition costs of attending the least expensive public institution of higher education within New York offering an academic program necessary to achieve the student's vocational goal. If there is no such public program in New York State, the actual tuition costs of attending the least expensive non-public institution of higher education may be paid. Tuition and other necessary costs shall be paid only upon a finding that all available means of alternative funding including, but not limited to, grants, scholarships and tuition assistance, have been obtained by the student and subtracted from the tuition, and that payment of the balance of tuition is necessary to achieve the vocational goal of the student. Maintenance provided during such training shall be provided in accordance with subdivision [(e)] (d) of this section. An individual who attends training out-of-state when necessary training or services are available within New York State, shall bear the full costs of such attendance to the extent they exceed what would have been such costs had the individual attended the least expensive program within New York State;

          (v)  training at a business school.  Maintenance provided during such training shall be provided in accordance with subdivision [(e)] (d) of this section;

          (vi)  training at a vocational trade school.  Maintenance provided during such training shall be provided in accordance with subdivision [(e)] (d) of this section;

          (vii)  training at other educational institutions.  Maintenance provided during such training shall be provided in accordance with subdivision [(e)] (d) of this section;

          (viii)  .   .   .

          (ix)  .   .   .

          (x)  .   .   .

          (xi)  .   .   .

          (2)  Conditions for provision of training.  Training shall be provided only under the following conditions:

          (i)  .   .   .

          (ii)  .   .   .

          (iii)  .   .   .

          (iv)  .   .   .

          (v)  .   .   .

          (vi)  books and related training materials may  be provided, to a maximum combined allowance [of $500 each year] as established by the agency, provided that such maximum allowance shall not exceed the average cost of books published annually by the State University of New York (SUNY), unless there is documentation of the need to exceed this limit including, but not limited to, written confirmation by appropriate school personnel that each item for which an allowance is made is actually necessary for the individual's participation in a particular course or program.

          3.  A new section 247.18 is added to Part 247 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, effective February 1, 2007, as follows:

     247.18 Waiver.  The agency shall grant a waiver to an eligible individual of any maximum amount, maximum allowance or other cost and/or duration limit established in this Part, upon a finding by the agency that such cost and/or duration limit, if made applicable to such individual, would effectively deny his or her access to services necessary to achieve an employment outcome.  A request for a waiver shall be submitted in a form prescribed by the Commissioner.