Unedited Session Transcript

How to use the "Connections" Training Packet to Initiate Interagency Agreement Discussions and Identify Issues

Josie Durkow

4/10/03

JOSIE DURKOW: Good morning. I'm JOSIE DURKOW and I direct the-it's located in southern New Jersey, and I want to give you a little bit of background about Camden County College before I start my presentation. Camden County College is located in southern New Jersey, it's about 15 miles outside of Philadelphia, and it is a New Jersey regional center for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. And we are in our role as a regional center, we are-our responsibilities are twofold: We have a direct service component where we are currently serving about 65 students who are deaf and hard of hearing. And we offer a full array of support services such as interpreters, note takers, see principle captioning, tutoring, transition counseling.

And we also have a series of developmental English classes designed specifically for students who are deaf and hard of hearing that are taught in American sign language using ESL, English as a second language, methodologies. And the other part of our responsibility as a regional center is to provide technical assistance to colleges throughout New Jersey. And we are also, Camden County College, the northeast technical assistance centers site for New Jersey and Delaware. So my responsibilities to provide technical assistance in helping colleges serve students who are deaf and hard of hearing are not only for New Jersey but also Delaware.

JOSIE DURKOW: I'm the director of the regional center for students who are deaf and hard of hearing at Camden County College. And the northeast technical assistance centers and that is NETAC, which is very similar to the WROCC, the WROCC out here in the western region. Today I'm here to talk to you about the connections training packet that was developed initially in the 1980s by NTID, and then it was updated in 1999 or 2000 by NETAC at Rochester Institute of Technology. My objectives here today are to provide you with an overview of connections workshop intent, materials and use. And also to provide you with some tips for use in identifying issues and initiating discussions for interagency agreements.

I've worked in higher education for over 15 years. Initially when I started working in higher education I was the recruiter for Camden County College center for deaf students and I was liaison for deaf and hard of hearing students and the college. So I had a very good relationship with the vocational rehabilitation counselors for the deaf in order to be a successful recruiter I needed to make sure that students were going to get funding to come to Camden County College. And in that process I had a very good relationship with VR and I also learned about the VR process. And a little later my responsibilities changed and then I became the director of the center, and then I became the NETAC site coordinator for New Jersey, and I was responsible for helping other colleges serve deaf and hard of hearing students. And in that role, in order to help colleges serve deaf and hard of hearing students, I had to know who the people were who were working with students throughout the state.

So I became involved with the New Jersey association of higher education and disabilities, New Jersey AHEAD. And the one thing I learned from that involvement was most of the disability services staff throughout New Jersey did not have a good relationship with vocational rehabilitation. And because I had such a good relationship with VR, I really wanted to see other disability services staff have that same kind of relationship. So when I saw the connections training I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to help improve this relationship. So that's how I got excited about connections training. I have co presented this workshop several times, twice as a how-to offer connections, the trainer model, and then the other two times were as facilitator. The first time was in New Jersey, and it was for the New Jersey AHEAD group and vocational rehabilitation counselors. And this came about after New Jersey signed its interagency agreement. And so we were using the connections training package to develop the relationship between the disability service staff and the VR counselors as well as to inform people throughout the state about the interagency agreement and how to implement it.

And then the next time I co presented the connections training as a facilitator was in Delaware, and we used the connections training really to develop the relationship with VR, identify issues and start interagency discussions. When you offer the training, and you're going to get the two groups to work that are actually doing the training you serve as facilitator because your audience, the higher education staff and the DVR counselors, they're the experts. So today when I go through-I'm going to take you through the parts of the connections training, and you the audience will be the experts and will be able to identify issues from your states that we're going to list off on the board. And I have Debbie Farris from the University of Delaware today in the audience who is going to assist me in identifying issues and then at the end to talk about the process. Because Delaware started their process of developing an interagency agreement last May, and they're still-they're come to an end and Debbie can update you about their process. As well as I can talk to you later on about the process of New Jersey, because I was on the task force in New Jersey to develop an interagency agreement for the community colleges.

In your handout, there is a pretest that we're going to go over. So if you get an opportunity to glance down and try to fill out some of these answers before we get to that point, it will be helpful for our discussion. There are also copies of the agreement for New Jersey and the agreement for Delaware. And both of these say draft. The New Jersey version is the final draft and Delaware, they're still in their process. The connections training is a half day interactive workshop for higher education staff members and vocational rehabilitation counselors. It addresses the VR process in ways higher education, VR and students can work towards positive educational outcomes. These are the workshop objectives. The training packet consists of a trainer's manual, a background and purpose intended audience, all of the information that you would need to actually set up the training. There is a trainer's agenda which I listed in your little packet, I took excerpts from the training packet and copied them for you. And there's also a pretest with discussions to the answers.

There's transparency masters, handouts, registration forms and evaluation forms, and a videotape. And this is all available from the PEPNet resource center. So each of you received one of these catalogs in your packet when you arrived here, and the training packet is available in there. And it's my understanding that there is not a $20 charge because it has a videotape, because this packet is provided by NETAC. So today we're going to go through parts of this training and hopefully we'll be identifying issues as we go along. And I'm going to start with showing you the first segment of the video, which is an overview of the VR. [Video playing.] [Video: This cooperation among states and the federal government is exemplified by a group of the top officers from state VR agencies nationally who form the council of state administrators of vocational rehabilitation or CSAVR.

Well the council state administrators, et cetera, is an organization composed of the administrators, the officials who run state vocational rehabilitation agencies throughout the country, and CSAVR as an organization is in our opinion the primary advocate for the pub rehabilitation program that is designed to ensure that we maintain a strong state-federal relationship in regard to vocational rehabilitation programs for people with disabilities that are available to all individuals with disabilities, that are available on a consistent basis throughout the entire nation, and that continue to make sure that there is a strong public program that's available for all individuals with disabilities who want to pursue to work. The emphasis on consumer partnerships and individuals for individuals with severe disabilities was further strengthened in the 1982 and 1998 amendments in the rehabilitation act. Informed consumer choice was underscored to ensure that rehabilitative consumers are informed and involved in choosing vocational goals, services and service providers.

Eligibility requirements were changed to presume that an individual can become employed as a result of vocational rehabilitation services, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that he or she cannot. Councils were established to ensure that people with disabilities have a voice in rehabilitation agency policy and services. Successful employment and economic self-sufficiency are the ultimate goals of the vocational rehabilitation program. Services provided are those that are needed by an individual to reach his or her jointly agreed upon vocational goal. Many services such as evaluation, counseling and guidance, referral services and job placement require no proof of financial need. However, states may establish financial need criteria for some other services. As we looked to increase technology, opportunities are available that we never even thought might be available to people with disabilities in the '70s and '80s. Aft this point in time, we really place an emphasis on settling for nothing less than an individual having the opportunity to work in competitive employment in integrated settings right alongside their nondisabled peers.

I think in the future we'll say more people with disabilities in entering the work world at competitive jobs in integrative settings. I think in today's economy, high technology, expectations of work force is very, very important for deaf and hard of hearing persons to consider seriously about getting their education after high school. A number of studies done by-especially by NTID with the IRS shows that students who just graduated with a high school diploma earn this much. Those that go to college, have some college education, earned a little more. However, those students that continue in college and complete their degrees earned three, four times more than high school students. It is extremely important for a strong partnership to be developed between the rehabilitation programs and post secondary programs in order that we can maximize success and see more people with a wide variety of disabilities obtaining high quality, good paying jobs through a good, sound, solid post secondary education system. The progression of rehabilitation legislation over the years coupled with expanded post secondary education partnerships with VR has improved life for millions of Americans who have disabilities. These people now have the means to establish economic self-sufficiency and a meaningful place in their community. [End of video.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. So this section of the videotape just real gives you that overview and the history of vocational rehabilitation and it's really a nice introduction, and the first time I saw it I really got to learn some things about VR's history that I didn't know myself. And this training packet can be used in a variety of situations even if you're thinking about using it with high schools often counselors and students and parents aren't aware of vocational rehabilitation services and this is really a great tool for that. Next I would like to go over the answers when asked ask you the answers, actually, to our pretest. And that's the last page of your handout. Okay. Number 1: All high school graduates who have a significant hearing loss are eligible for VR services? False. And why is that false?

JOSIE DURKOW: How many people thought that all students who had a hearing loss were eligible?

SPEAKER 3: Isn't there a financial limitation?

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes some states have financial limitations or financial-a financial need has to be demonstrated in some states, yes. It seems like everyone was comfortable with the answer to number 1. So we're going to be identifying issues when we come to questions where people are not comfortable with the answers or didn't really-

SPEAKER 1: I just want to add onto her comment just because there are some services that we provide that doesn't require financial guidelines. [Discussion.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. So if you're going to answer a question, if you're going to speak, if you could use the microphone. Okay. I was going to add something to that and now I lost my train of thought. Oh, yes and there are services that do not have financial caps, and we're going to get into that too a little bit later. There is a segment in the videotape that addressed that. Number 2, VR will pay for any eligible student who is deaf to attend the college of his or her choice? And no. And why not?

SPEAKER 3: Me?

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes.

SPEAKER 3: Okay. Will pay for how? I mean tuition? It depends. In our state, I'm from Illinois, it depends on the students individual-it used to be called IWRP. It's something else now. And it depends on what the student and the counselor have determined that the student does need. Sometimes tuition, sometimes it's maintenance, sometimes it's books. Did I misunderstand the question?

SPEAKER 2:

JOSIE DURKOW: No.

SPEAKER 3: Okay.

JOSIE DURKOW: About the college of his or her choice. So sometimes this is based on if there is a similar program in the state or a program that is less costly than another program, then VR would ask the student to attend, could ask the student to attend the program that has the lesser cost. And then if the student wanted to attend the other program, the student may have to pay the additional part to the tuition.

SPEAKER 3: I understand it is like that in Illinois. I'm sorry.

JOSIE DURKOW: And also sometimes VR has caps, limits, on what they're going to pay. Number 3: Once approved for college sponsorship, a VR client's sponsorship is not automatically approved each successive year until graduation. True or false? True. .

SPEAKER 3: True. I would think it would be true that it would not be automatically. Is that what it wait a minute. Am I reading it wrong? Not automatically approved. Because it depends probably on the student's progress, I would imagine, whether or not they were being successful in the program and if they weren't they might need to select a different option.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right. And in order to maintain sponsorship VR clients need to communicate regularly with their VR counselor. So that's in terms of informing them of their grades and their registration, their cost. So there needs to be ongoing communication between students and their VR counselors. Number 4: It is the responsibility of the post secondary institution to send regular transcripts of courses and grades to the counselor of the VR student. True or false? Okay. And false. And why is that?

SPEAKER 3: It is the student's responsibility to follow up with the counselor and send in their grades to the counselor on a quarterly basis or a semester basis.

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. And why can't the college do that?

SPEAKER 3: Again, I think we're fostering independence and responsibility. So-that's at least my opinion of that.

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay.

SPEAKER 4: The other piece of that is that we have laws, confidentiality laws, and we would have to have a signed release from the student before we could release that information. I work for higher ed so-

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes, that is a correct answer. Okay. So it is false, it is not the responsibility of the post secondary institution to provide that information. Number 5: VR will cover the cost of interpreters, computer assisted realtime note taking or assistive listening devices to ensure a student's communication access to the classroom.

SPEAKER 4: True and false. What kind of agreement? Depending upon what your state agreement is with the institute of higher education.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right. And if VR does not cover the cost, approximate as we heard yesterday in the workshop by Robert Mathers, if VR is not paying it is still the institution of higher education to provide that service. But there still is an issue in many states of who pays. And this was clearly an issue that was identified in New Jersey and Delaware in developing interagency agreements, you know: Who is going to be responsible for what? Number 6: The post secondary program will cover the cost-oh, we did this one. No, this is number- it's very similar. The post secondary program will cover the cost of interpreters, computer assisted realtime captioning note taking or assistive listening devices to ensure a student's communication access to the classroom. So as we just said, this answer is true. And if the VR-if the student is a VR client then the institution may negotiate with VR. But if it's not a VR client then the institution is responsible to provide those services. Number 7: The VR counselor determines the most appropriate employment goal for the student client based on his or her abilities, interests and aptitudes. The. You're the VR person?

SPEAKER 3: I'm not a VR person.

JOSIE DURKOW: You're the higher ed person that's right.

SPEAKER 3: I believe it's supposed to be client driven, and even though the counselor would facilitate a lot of different options for the person, I think that ultimately it's the client's choice as to which program they're going to select.

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes. And that's where we have the informed consumer choice, so that that consumer has the has the right to choose their employment-appropriate is the word-employment outcome spic VR services that they'll need, specific service providers, and methods to get those services. So sometimes a student may have to participate in the pavement of some services that they need. Maybe it would be their transportation or pay part of-if they are attending a college where they're going to be staying in dorms, maybe they might need to contribute to part of their living. So that will all be worked out between VR and the student. Yes?

SPEAKER 3: In some cases it is the counselor's responsibility to point out to an individual that their employment choice is not appropriate. For example, a blind person who wants to be an airline pilot or something like that. Maybe that is within the realm of possibilities, but, you know, there are, I think cases where the VR agency has to take a stand. The VR counselor does not really make the decision, though, it goes to a higher level, administrative level, in terms of determining whether or not they will go AHEAD with the vocational goals selected by the individual with the disability. And there's an appeal process and all of that as well.

JOSIE DURKOW: Uh-huh. And that's why we do say the appropriate options. Number 8: All other sources of funding must be explored and used prior to VR money? True. That's right. And that's why students must that are VR clients must fill out financial aid applications. Yes?

SPEAKER 3: I believe that recently changed in the State of Washington, and that now VR clients are not required to take-to use financial aid funds for their tuition. That just changed. .

SPEAKER 4: If you say any funds, I think that would-all other sources of funding, I think that would be a mistake, because you don't have to take a loan, and there are student loans.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right.

SPEAKER 4: And individuals don't have to take student loans. So I would think that would make that statement false in terms of it's another source of financial-of funding, getting a loan, and you don't have to do that. That's my understanding.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right. That part is true. But we're mostly talking about direct aid to the student. So because there is the mandate to seek out all similar benefits. So a similar benefit to VR support would be something like financial aid. Not necessarily a student loan though. Because a loan is something you pay back. If you get a direct grant, you don't pay that back. Okay. Number 9 much. Some VR agencies have caps or maximum spending limits on some services. It's true? True, yes. It says that services need to be able to be purchased at a reasonable-that are reasonably priced. So they may have a limit as to how much. In New Jersey the VR it bases it there on what the tuition is at the state colleges is what they'll pay except for Gallaudet or NTID. But if the student wanted to go out of state to a college in Pennsylvania, then VR would have a limit of what they could pay and that's really based on what in state tuition would run for that student. Unless it's a program that's not offered in state. Number 10: All VR counselors are experts on hearing loss and related social, communication vocational, communication, and technological needs. It is false. Right. Mostly what we see are the rehabilitation counselors for the deaf who are knowledgeable on the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. But a deaf or hard of hearing client could be assigned to a generalist, who doesn't really have knowledge of services for deaf and hard of hearing. Okay. Number 11 --

SPEAKER 3: Yeah, just going back to number 9.

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes?

SPEAKER 3: I think the Federal Rules say that you can't have-that it kind of conflicts with number 9 because you can't put a cap on the amount of services.

JOSIE DURKOW: Some-

SPEAKER 3: Does number 9 mean that it should have-some of the agencies actually do have caps for spending, and I think it's a direct conflict with the federal mandates. Because they have to discuss that as well. Because some states do have those caps.

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay.

SPEAKER 4: In Pennsylvania I heard recently they capped college funding up to 3000 per student but so far no one has appealed that, the VR clients. And Pennsylvania is getting away with that.

SPEAKER 4: Why? Because their clients should know about the federal rule as well. I mean that's their right to know that information as well.

SPEAKER 3: It sounds like we're talking about two different things: 1, tuition, and the other would be actually providing accommodation for the person with- through VR funds.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right.

SPEAKER 1: And the federal laws stipulate that if they need an accommodation, I mean, it's the institution's responsible if they're in school. But if it is a VR client that maybe is going into a work environment or something, I don't know, then maybe the employer is responsible. But I know for accommodation purposes they're not allowed to put a cap on what they're providing. But maybe for education they can. Maybe somebody can clarify that.

JOSIE DURKOW: Yeah that was my understanding that in New Jersey the cap is on the cost for the educational, the tuition and books and fees, there is the cap, and housing. But in terms of other types of services, I don't believe that there is a cap. But I'm not the VR expert.

SPEAKER 1: I think that maybe the way that works is if a student is admitted to a college or program, there is no obligation on the higher institution's part to pay for that student. And VR just uses it as an employment goal. And I think VR could probably say: Yes, we will only pay this much. It doesn't mean the student can't go. The student can still go but they somehow have to come up with the additional funding. And then if they need the accommodations, that's where the issue becomes: Yes, they have to be given if they're reasonable and all that. Who pays? That's the million dollar question. You know. But somebody has to pay. And ultimately it usually ends up being the higher ed institution. VR typically tends to pay for more personal things which isn't the institution's responsibility. Although, you know, I know some states have worked out the biggest issue, which is interpreters. That's the biggest issue always. And equipment, of course. But I think-does that help explain the difference maybe? Because I thought the same thing. You know, caps: You can't really put a cap on accommodations but I think you could on what you're going to have to pay for are tuition. Because that's not the responsibility of the institution-or VR really.

JOSIE DURKOW: Thank you. Can we move onto number 11: All post secondary staff are experts on hearing loss and related social, vocational, communication and technological needs. And that's false. And this-will vary according to the program. If it's a specific program for deaf and hard of hearing students, then we would expect that they did have that knowledge. But if it's a general college disability services staff, they may have very limited knowledge about the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. Number 12: All persons with hearing loss are- oh. All persons with hearing loss are experts on hearing loss and related social, vocational, communication, and technological needs. [Laughter.] Do you want to-higher education person-answer?

SPEAKER 3: No. I mean, I don't think that- many times we have students that come in and they don't know what their needs are either. Especially if it's somebody who is late deafened. If it is somebody who is born deaf, it's usually different. They know what works for them.

JOSIE DURKOW: That's what we also see, especially with our hard of hearing students, very often they didn't want to be identified in school as someone with a hearing loss and really didn't accept any services, and so school districts weren't going to pursue it if the student and their family aren't pursuing services. So they'll come to college and they'll really struggle in the beginning and finally maybe come ask for some kind of support. And they had no idea that, you know, life never had to be this hard for them. Okay. So that one is false. Number 13: VR can pick up a student who is already enrolled in college and pay tuition retroactively. False. Right. A student can be referred to VR during the semester. However, what they agree to pay would not be effective until the next semester. So things have to be worked out in advance. After the student is determined eligible for services. So that one was false.

Number 14: If a student and post secondary staff member agree to a curriculum change without the VR counselor's involvement and consent, VR sponsorship will be jeopardized. And that's true. As we talked about earlier, students need to communicate with their VR counselor, and making a change without the consent of the VR counselor could jeopardize their sponsorship. Because the student has the individual IPW-individual plan for rehabilitation-it should probably be in my notes. But they have to have their plan set up in advance. Their goal and how they're going to get there. So if the student makes a change it's not in their already agreed upon contract with the VR. So they must communicate with the VR counselor before they make changes. Number 15: Is it possible for a student to change curriculum or degree goal and not lose VR sponsorship? , they can. But they need to communicate and discuss and it has to be agreed upon by the VR counselor and the student before the change is made. And 16: A college counselor should always share a student's grades with the VR counselor and report if the student has any problems or quits. And we said earlier we made mention to confidentiality laws that would prohibit the institution from communicating this information to the VR counselor without some kind of a signed release to communicate this specific type of information.

SPEAKER 1: I would like to say one thing. I think that it is important for the student, the VR counselor and the DSS person, the person who is coordinating services at the educational institution to collaborate together though. And sometimes sharing of that information if it's approved by the student is a good thing. If they're struggling we all need to get together and look at what the issues are and what might need to be done.

JOSIE DURKOW: And that's a good point for an issue to be included in an interagency agreement, you know, how we're going to work together with VR for positive outcomes for the students, with the student, all three involved, you know. And I believe we have that language in the New Jersey contract and Delaware has language to that effect too. Now I'm going to show you the next part of the videotape. [Videotape playing: The ultimate goal in vocational rehabilitation is to assist people with disabilities to get jobs. VR is an important ally for the student considering a post secondary education to prepare for a career choice. Makes it difficult to get a job. So when they come into the office we sit down and discuss their interests, what they want to do. Also we can provide an educational assessment to determine what kind of jobs would be better for them. The aim is to get and keep a job. So that means sending someone to a 4 year college or a two-year college or ha training program whatever it takes to get that person to their vocational goal. It could be a little bit of job seeking skills, or it could be a 4 year degree, and I know some who have gotten their graduate degrees through vocational rehabilitation.

VR does of course support persons in college but only if their vocational outcome requires a college degree. Often we used to receive calls and say: What are you interested in I'm interested in going to college and that's why they wanted to come to VR. But they had no idea what they wanted to do after college. So we try to find out what type of employment they're interested in. And if it requires a 4 year degree and if they have the abilities to successfully compete in colleges, complete college, then we do support them in college. And it could be tuition assistance or it could be counseling and guidance with support for employment at the end. Students with disabilities become aware of vocational rehabilitation in a variety of ways. Some are referred to VR by their high school guidance counselor, transition team or college counselors. Others learn about VR through friends, doctors, audiologists or social workers. [Pause in audio of videotape.] VR oftentimes will pay a full amount of tuition for students, depending on what state they're from. They'll pay the room and board. They will pay for books and supplies. So it's to the student's benefit to look into the opportunity to see if they're eligible for VR support. [End of videotape.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. This segment dealt with some of the issues that we already discussed: Referral to VR. The VR assessment. VR eligibility. Employment outcomes is the focus of VR. Informed consumer choice, we already spoke about. And services and level of support. Does anyone have any questions on any of these? Are you familiar with the VR assessment? Anyone? Okay. The VR assessment is to really gather information on trying to determine what would be an appropriate choice and what kinds of strengths and weaknesses. So it analyzes their strengths, what kinds of resources are available, their abilities, capacities, interest, their needs.

In New Jersey what we often see referred for vocational rehabilitation-a vocational rehabilitation assessment for employment that really goes over students interests and ability, skills. So with all-all of those together, through that assessment, that's how they determine exactly what is a good path that the student would want to pursue. Can you push play? [Videotape playing again: No two schools have equal programs. Vocational rehabilitation may only pay the amount needed to attend the less expensive school. If the student still wants to attend the more expensive program he or she must make up the financial difference. The primary objective is to provide the are education in state. But if it's something you have a real hankering for an educational goal and it's not available in state, yes, we will provide funding for out of state. Student should also apply for financial aid. This includes federal, state and institutional aid. The financial aid office will process their application. They'll award the financial aid for which the student is eligible. The financial aid student needs an assessment form that determines how much financial aid the student will receive from these various programs. [Pause.]

One of the biggest mistakes they make is forgetting to apply for financial aid. With vocational rehab they're there to assist the student but they require the student apply for any other funds. And so every student has to complete a preapplication for federal student A. So not filling out the form or not filling out the form in time usually will jeopardize their benefits. We do require them to apply for financial assistance from this school the beginning of each year, school year. They. That's at the beginning of each school year. And they must bring the VR counselor the results of that application. They don't have to be granted financial aid but they at least have to apply for it. So prior to VR providing financial assistance, we will want to see what the student is eligible for from, say, a PEL grant or something like that. All the financial information on the financial aid application is confidential. Therefore the student must sign a release form so the financial aid office can release the information to VR. The student is responsible for authorizing the financial aid office to send the needs assessment form to the VR counselor. We did not release information to anyone without the authorization. Now we have all kinds of forms that financial aid has the student sign and then they send off to the VR counselor to let them know what kind of financial aid they're eligible for and we make sure that VR is a last resort. [End of videotape.]

JOSIE DURKOW: I think it goes on Debbie. Two parts this time. [Videotape playing]. Students need to apply early to make sure their benefits are in place when they want to register. If students are planning on attending classes in the fall, they should complete the financial application process in January, nine months prior to the start of classes. Well, that responsibility really falls back on the student and the VR counselor getting together early and getting the paperwork done early. And that doesn't happen very often. You know, it's first day of classes, and they're calling the counselor's office to try to find out how much money they're going to allow for books and asking us to fax an application to we can get the student a voucher for books. Sometimes there are problems with the students not even having money for the housing. So I think it's up tot student and the VR counselor to really start their process as early as possible. Students can't register for future quarters until their bill is paid for the previous quarter. So it's important to make sure the paperwork is here in a timely manner so that students don't run into problems with registering for future quarters, because it's very frustrating for a student trying to go in and register and find out they can't because we've put a block on their account.

The main thing we want to do when we interact with VR is keep the student service perspective in mind. And that is we want to make sure the students get through the registration process, and also have an availability to books if they need books for courses. And the way that we do that is we try to let VR know as an institution what we require from VR so that we can get a student through that process. Initially a letter of intent of sponsorship and then subsequently a voucher of some sort for books and their fees and tuition. VR sometimes gets confused from where to send the paperwork. So it's important that it doesn't go to the financial aid office. A lot of schools financial aid books are combined. Here they are not. It's important that VR authorize separately for both the supplies and tuition fees. [Pause.] [End of video.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. This section of the tape goes over the economic need test that we talked about earlier, financial caps on services. The range of services VR may provide. The financial aid application. Out of state sponsorship. But I think that the most important part in this segment is really the need for VR higher education staff and students to really work together to coordinate all of the services and to have a good established communication. I know we even developed a lot of specific forms, you know, for working with voc-rehab, especially related to financial aid, to make things easier to process. Any comments or questions on this? Do you want to take a short five minute break and come back or continue on? Are we okay to go? Okay. Do you want to hit the deal? [Videotape playing.] Once in the classroom the deaf student may require support services such as interpreters, handwritten or computer assisted note taking. The particular support services requested will vary from student to student. If the student is not a VR client, the school must pay for the necessary services as established by the Americans with disabilities act. If the student is a VR client the decision regarding whether the school or VR pace for the services or whether they share the expense varies from state to state. We've made provisions on our admission application to help us more and more quickly identify students that need support services.

As soon as that happened we encourage early conversation and educational planning so the assessment of their skills, the selection of their courses can happen early and we can line up the support services that are needed with plenty of time before the semester actually begins. Different states have different policies, and even within our own state there are some county VR offices that work differently than others. [Pause.] One of the other problems is an inconsistency among the states. In some states they're very cut and dry. They pay up to 35 hundred. So we know when talking to a student you should be able to get 35 hundred from your state. Florida and California will pay tuition and fees. When we're trying to determine a student's financial aid when we don't know what the state will pay it can cause problems.

JOSIE DURKOW: You can let it go. [Videotape playing.] Students are responsible for sharing their records, grades, course changes and academic problems with the VR counsel. A monthly amendment known as the confidentiality law prevents schools from exchanging this information with anyone unless the student has signed a specific release form. The student is required to make sure that paperwork is submitted to VR via their financial aid award letter, their grades, whatever it is that they need, and they make sure that they get to their counselor on time and just double check with their counselor to make sure that all of their paperwork is in order after they have signed. The worse thing they did is they don't contact their counselor once they got here. They want letters, they want the context- [Pause.] He needs to write a letter to his counselor about his progress and contact the VR office immediately if there are any changes.

The student will have a responsibility too and then they will need to be following through on appointments with their VR counselor, completing all the necessary paperwork, making sure that they communicate with their VR counselor during the semester, if they're having any difficulties, making sure they're sending their final grades to the VR counselor, and make sure- It's important the student contact the VR counselor. VR counselors need to know about the courses. Because sometimes the student might decide I'm going to take a course that's not related to my major. When they fail the course VR does not pay for failed courses or repeated courses. [Pause.] Must carry at least 12 credit hours. So if you drop a class and don't tell your counselor, you may jeopardize your status as a full-time student. In the case of vocational rehabilitation payment is made prior to the completion of classes. In the event the student does not complete the courses after payment is made, that difference is made up usually the following term with the student not permitted to re register for the same type of courses again, depending on the policy of the counselor. So we do something like add a class, they need to let their counselor know because they may incur an additional debt or additional funds. And if they don't let their counselor know and the counselor has to approve that the student may be responsible for paying that additional money. [Pause.]

Usually vocational rehab will adhere to strict guidelines where the student has to maintain at least a 2.0 and maintain 12 credit hours. If you're running into challenges as far as passing your classes or keeping up with your course information, let the counselor know so that the counselor can recommend that you talk to student special services and secure tutoring or whatever it is you need to be successful. The problems can be overcome basically by communication. We have a large majority of students here over the last couple of years worked out a rapport with the counselor where there's a lot of communication. Number one, create a file of names and phone numbers of all VR counselors as they contact your institution. Number 2, keep in contact with them. Number 3, make sure you identify the counselor with the student. [Pause.] Well, I think that-I know we've always had a good working relationship with the counselors to help the student be successful. So if it's an institution that wants to see their student succeed that this partnership is really the best opportunity. [Pause.] Vocational rehabilitation. Students with disabilities. And post secondary programs are connected by an ultimate goal: Job placement for the students. Understanding how the system works and good communication between those involved lead to successful connections. [End of videotape.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Did you learn anything new about VR? Or if you're from VR, anything new about higher ed? I guess we have a lot of people here who are very familiar with VR. But in-I know in my state in New Jersey people don't understand the full services and how VR actually works. And the same goes for VR. They don't understand, you know, how the college works. I think that this videotape really gives a nice understanding, promotes increased understanding of how both agencies work. And although we have different outcomes, VR, their outcome is you know the actual employment of their client. They may have a different outcome goal than higher ed, maybe to see their students complete their program, but they're also interested in seeing their students go on and be successfully employed. Because institutions have to be more responsible for their outcomes also. So what we did today, we identified a lot of issues, and that's what really happened when we did the training in Delaware. And if you could look at that, the Delaware draft of the interagency agreement. You can see that they listed-oh, that's what I had to do. I had that overhead. Okay.

So these are the issues that we developed when we did the training in Delaware. They wanted to know what kind of services, especially transition services, to and from college were available from vocational rehabilitation. How do we determine appropriate accommodations and what are they and what is appropriate and what is necessary? Who pays? I think that is the big question everybody wants to know. How to get contact information. Who are the VR counselors in specific areas of the state that would be working with potential college students? They wanted to understand DVR rules, policies and procedures. And shortly after the training, VR disseminated their whole policy book to all of the colleges that attended the training, connections training. What to do if there's a glitch. Deb yeah maybe you can highlight that one a little bit more.

SPEAKER 1: Okay. Yes. In Delaware, it's kind of interesting, because Josie came and gave the connections presentation, and we had the director of voc-rehab. And in Delaware there's two different agencies, VR agencies that serve sustains students with disabilities: One DVI for the visually impaired and the other one for deaf and hard of hearing. And also just any other disabilities. So we had to get everybody there. The one couldn't make a decision about the other. They operate separately. And all states are like that. So that was confusing. But we had-we first started with-del are wear is small, which is nice, because you can-you know it seems like it would be easier to work with a small state versus a huge state but there are still a lot of problems. But we had the director from DVR, representative of DVI, a represent representative of DVI or for the other disabilities. And then I'm the actual coordinator for the University of Delaware which is the largest University in Delaware. There's also a Delaware state college, Delaware State: And there's three community colleges-four community colleges. And a number of private schools.

And initially we didn't include the private schools, thinking, we'll just work within what we know as far as the state schools and then go to the private schools. So we've met now three times, I believe, and we're still nowhere near a complete agreement. The problem being that the University of Delaware, we are huge, we have a big budget. It's not very-you. You know, we could never say we can't afford to pay interpreter services which is the biggest issue, whereas the community colleges in the state school are saying we don't have the money and we're trying to ed date them. Well you can't just say you don't have the money. Their administrators say they dent have the money. And of course administrators don't really know what the laws are. So we're meeting as the coordinators and they're having to go back to their bosses, and the bosses above them, who keep saying: Why doesn't VR pay? And they're trying to get- and VR keeps on saying we're not going to pay. So we're sort of still stuck in the middle. I found it interesting I went to the workshop before this on the same issue, and it's interesting to know that there are different types of agreements that can be made which is something that I learned today. You don't have to have a five-page or a 10 page legal document. You can have-and we've been talking in Delaware about a memorandum of understanding. Which according to the workshop this morning only has to be a one-page thing. It can be a memo. They say it can even be verbal but of course nobody would ever want that.

So we're still meeting and I can take that back to Delaware and say: Why are we worrying about this big legalese document, et cetera. Because in the state we've actually been able to work out things pretty well up until now verbally. And putting this legalese thing on has created so much tension in our meetings that we just go back and forth and back and forth. And I know other states who are huge, they must have big problems trying to get the people together to do it. So all these issues that Josie mentioned, and that came up here with the quiz and everything, we've had to go through. But a lot of them are you know pretty clear-cut. Most of us here, and we seem to identify that: What the student's rolls are. I've learned a lot about what VRs roles are and they've learned ha lot about us. The good thing that has come out of our agreement or our meeting so far is we have agreed that we like to meet and find out what the other is doing and we've decided we want to continue this beyond the agreement, because a lot of times we don't know what VRs problems are in getting the payment, just like they were mentioning on the videotape: Students are often left weeks into the semester without services because nobody has paid. Sometimes it's the student's fault. Many times it's paperwork's fault. And we're trying to streamline those processes so students can get what they need where they need it which is right at the beginning.

But I also know now there's budget cuts every where. Every state was mentioned in the previous workshop. My state is doing the same thing. I just heard last week that our division for the visually impaired is no longer going to pay for students to live on campus if they live within 35 miles of campus. Which on the one hand you might think is not a big deal but there goes a whole learning opportunity for those students to live on campus. Not only that, our paratransit services are very poor. So students have to rely on that. I think it's going to mean that students will not be able to go to college in some cases. So that is one aspect where they are cutting back. And they can do that. I think the universities and the colleges are going to have to take on more responsibilities rather than fewer. Not to say we have to pay their housing or anything. But I think it's not going to even be an argument anymore. VR is just going to show that we're not paying.

I thought it was interesting to hear this morning in Louisiana how they were saying that the initial agreement said that VR would pay-or was it the colleges would pay? I think it was the colleges would pay. And then one college has refused to pay, saying that VR would pay. And it's in a lawsuit right now or something. So I don't know what's happening to the students in the meantime. But in my case I would never, you know, tell my administration I don't think would ever say, well, we're just not going to pay. But it could happen. And I think it's going to take a case like that to maybe clarify. And I know AHEAD is working on some kind of overall policy on-it would be nice if all the states were together. But even in Delaware we're still working on it. And the problem is getting all the people to agree, which is hard. I'm not sure how New Jersey did on theirs,.

JOSIE DURKOW: In New Jersey we had three separate negotiating groups. We had the community colleges. And I think we were able to be successful at the Community College level in getting a shared agreement because our financial needs are much different than the four year universities and colleges where they will have, you know, endowment funds and much larger budgets than the community colleges. And even the funding that we get from our state and county are much less than what the four year college is getting in our state. And then there also was a group from the research institutions. And only the community colleges really pursued sharing the cost for support services for students with disabilities. And I was really the primary negotiator for the community colleges because I come from a program that's serving 65 deaf and hard of hearing sustain. Although we get funding from the commission on higher education and college, and sometimes there is a counseling position paid by VR. VR.

In order for this program to continue and not become a real burden to the college we really needed additional support. So I never gave up in my arguments. And one of the things VR just thought we could increase our tuition. We they had no idea of the process of increasing your tuition in the state of New Jersey. We receive funding from our county, funding from the state, and often it's dependent on that we're not going to increase our tuition. And it's a very involved process to increase tuition. And it might not even give us additional funding we wanted to pay for additional support services. If we're going to have our funding reduced from the county or the state. So we were really fortunate to get that arrangement. And it's working out well. And one of the things they talked about this morning, the power of interagency agreements was that you also have to communicate that you have this agreement and what's involved in it. So we got to use the training packet, the connections training packet to introduce the Enterprise agency agreement and let people know what it's about and how they can get reimbursement and how they can coordinate services better for vocational rehabilitation. I liked the Delaware model because it really set the stage. It was like a nice place to start.

SPEAKER 1: Yeah, we've learned a lot about each other through this process, VR and what the colleges do, and they didn't any half the things we do and face with students. We didn't know what they have to go through with students that don't communicate with them or with student goals. We didn't know, you know, even their job responsibilities and parameters on them from the state and federal. So it's been nice because we know each other and we even have a group mailing list. And if somebody is having a workshop or something now we'll send it out. And it's gotten the state together as far as people in my position, the coordinators, we all know each other now, we talk. And there's definitely power in numbers and in shared resources as you find by going to conferences like this, and organizations like AHEAD and stuff like that. I'm sure we'll come up with some agreement and probably what it's going to be was the university where I work will probably continue to pay for the interpreter services and related services like that, and the community colleges, and don't have as much money, may end up with a shared agreement.

We may have separate agreements with VR. But that's okay because I found out that can be done. You don't have to do it with everyone agrees to the same thing. And like I said this morning too it's not a fixed document. It's a work in process. And it may be fine this year. Next year somebody may want to come back and renegotiate it. So it's a good idea to keep having those moneys and keeping looking to see if it's working or not working otherwise it becomes a document that gets in somebody's desk and nobody knows about it. And also higher education institutions become aware of what you're facing, and. And they're just paying the bills and they question it all the time, you know, why are we paying this?

JOSIE DURKOW: Do you have any questions?

SPEAKER 3: So am I correct in coming to the conclusion that most of these costs are coming from serving deaf individuals and hard of hearing individuals who need interpreting services and cart services and assisted living technology? Is that where most of the costs are coming from? I realize that interpreter services sometimes cost more than tuition, and cart services could do the same. But I don't know there's that many people using cart services. And then you have note taking as well services. So most of these services are from this particular population. Right?

JOSIE DURKOW: Uh-huh. Yes. Most of the services are really for deaf and hard of hearing students.

SPEAKER 3: And blind.

JOSIE DURKOW: And blind students. Because the services are ongoing, you know. If-most accommodations that are physical in nature if you have to build a ramp it's a one-time cost. But in terms of deaf and hard of hearing students and blind students, such things as note taking, interpreter services, readings, braille, you know, that's something you have to do every semester. It's not just a one-time cost. Although assistive listening devices may be a one-time purchase. Most of the other costs are semester after semester. And with the changes in interpreting practices, when we first starred our program at Camden County College we had four full time interpreters and about 100 deaf students but they were in a lot of the same majors and we had a lot of self contained classes with just deaf students. But we never had to hire really outside interpreters. Now we have 4 full time interpreters plus we higher v hire about 50 part time interpreters per semester. A lot of our classes are running an hour and 15 minutes, we have to provide two interpreters, and that's double the cost: And I hear from other colleges in the state. So it is a big concern to colleges.

SPEAKER 3: Yes. I'm aware that in the past some colleges and universities have requested or actually tried to mandate that the deaf students go to either Gallaudet or NTID, where they would need all these interpreting services. And they can't do that, but they- they did it. Has that happened to anybody here? Okay. Well that's good to see.

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes. And even in New Jersey, we have two regional centers that are specifically for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. There are still students attending many of the other colleges in the state. If you would like to get the connections training package, it's on page 20. And the book says there's a $20 fee but I believe there is not a fee. Because NETAC has provided them. And the $20 fee for videotapes was supposed to be for videotapes that the PRC had to actually make themselves. So when you call, if you want to order it, you should say you were told that there is no charge for the whole program. And if you would like to look at any of the materials in it, I have a complete packet here. Thank you.

SPEAKER 3: Thank you. [Applause.]

Unedited Session Transcript

How to use the "Connections" Training Packet to Initiate Interagency Agreement Discussions and Identify Issues

Josie Durkow

4/10/03

JOSIE DURKOW: Good morning. I'm JOSIE DURKOW and I direct the-it's located in southern New Jersey, and I want to give you a little bit of background about Camden County College before I start my presentation. Camden County College is located in southern New Jersey, it's about 15 miles outside of Philadelphia, and it is a New Jersey regional center for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. And we are in our role as a regional center, we are-our responsibilities are twofold: We have a direct service component where we are currently serving about 65 students who are deaf and hard of hearing. And we offer a full array of support services such as interpreters, note takers, see principle captioning, tutoring, transition counseling.

And we also have a series of developmental English classes designed specifically for students who are deaf and hard of hearing that are taught in American sign language using ESL, English as a second language, methodologies. And the other part of our responsibility as a regional center is to provide technical assistance to colleges throughout New Jersey. And we are also, Camden County College, the northeast technical assistance centers site for New Jersey and Delaware. So my responsibilities to provide technical assistance in helping colleges serve students who are deaf and hard of hearing are not only for New Jersey but also Delaware.

JOSIE DURKOW: I'm the director of the regional center for students who are deaf and hard of hearing at Camden County College. And the northeast technical assistance centers and that is NETAC, which is very similar to the WROCC, the WROCC out here in the western region. Today I'm here to talk to you about the connections training packet that was developed initially in the 1980s by NTID, and then it was updated in 1999 or 2000 by NETAC at Rochester Institute of Technology. My objectives here today are to provide you with an overview of connections workshop intent, materials and use. And also to provide you with some tips for use in identifying issues and initiating discussions for interagency agreements.

I've worked in higher education for over 15 years. Initially when I started working in higher education I was the recruiter for Camden County College center for deaf students and I was liaison for deaf and hard of hearing students and the college. So I had a very good relationship with the vocational rehabilitation counselors for the deaf in order to be a successful recruiter I needed to make sure that students were going to get funding to come to Camden County College. And in that process I had a very good relationship with VR and I also learned about the VR process. And a little later my responsibilities changed and then I became the director of the center, and then I became the NETAC site coordinator for New Jersey, and I was responsible for helping other colleges serve deaf and hard of hearing students. And in that role, in order to help colleges serve deaf and hard of hearing students, I had to know who the people were who were working with students throughout the state.

So I became involved with the New Jersey association of higher education and disabilities, New Jersey AHEAD. And the one thing I learned from that involvement was most of the disability services staff throughout New Jersey did not have a good relationship with vocational rehabilitation. And because I had such a good relationship with VR, I really wanted to see other disability services staff have that same kind of relationship. So when I saw the connections training I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to help improve this relationship. So that's how I got excited about connections training. I have co presented this workshop several times, twice as a how-to offer connections, the trainer model, and then the other two times were as facilitator. The first time was in New Jersey, and it was for the New Jersey AHEAD group and vocational rehabilitation counselors. And this came about after New Jersey signed its interagency agreement. And so we were using the connections training package to develop the relationship between the disability service staff and the VR counselors as well as to inform people throughout the state about the interagency agreement and how to implement it.

And then the next time I co presented the connections training as a facilitator was in Delaware, and we used the connections training really to develop the relationship with VR, identify issues and start interagency discussions. When you offer the training, and you're going to get the two groups to work that are actually doing the training you serve as facilitator because your audience, the higher education staff and the DVR counselors, they're the experts. So today when I go through-I'm going to take you through the parts of the connections training, and you the audience will be the experts and will be able to identify issues from your states that we're going to list off on the board. And I have Debbie Farris from the University of Delaware today in the audience who is going to assist me in identifying issues and then at the end to talk about the process. Because Delaware started their process of developing an interagency agreement last May, and they're still-they're come to an end and Debbie can update you about their process. As well as I can talk to you later on about the process of New Jersey, because I was on the task force in New Jersey to develop an interagency agreement for the community colleges.

In your handout, there is a pretest that we're going to go over. So if you get an opportunity to glance down and try to fill out some of these answers before we get to that point, it will be helpful for our discussion. There are also copies of the agreement for New Jersey and the agreement for Delaware. And both of these say draft. The New Jersey version is the final draft and Delaware, they're still in their process. The connections training is a half day interactive workshop for higher education staff members and vocational rehabilitation counselors. It addresses the VR process in ways higher education, VR and students can work towards positive educational outcomes. These are the workshop objectives. The training packet consists of a trainer's manual, a background and purpose intended audience, all of the information that you would need to actually set up the training. There is a trainer's agenda which I listed in your little packet, I took excerpts from the training packet and copied them for you. And there's also a pretest with discussions to the answers.

There's transparency masters, handouts, registration forms and evaluation forms, and a videotape. And this is all available from the PEPNet resource center. So each of you received one of these catalogs in your packet when you arrived here, and the training packet is available in there. And it's my understanding that there is not a $20 charge because it has a videotape, because this packet is provided by NETAC. So today we're going to go through parts of this training and hopefully we'll be identifying issues as we go along. And I'm going to start with showing you the first segment of the video, which is an overview of the VR. [Video playing.] [Video: This cooperation among states and the federal government is exemplified by a group of the top officers from state VR agencies nationally who form the council of state administrators of vocational rehabilitation or CSAVR.

Well the council state administrators, et cetera, is an organization composed of the administrators, the officials who run state vocational rehabilitation agencies throughout the country, and CSAVR as an organization is in our opinion the primary advocate for the pub rehabilitation program that is designed to ensure that we maintain a strong state-federal relationship in regard to vocational rehabilitation programs for people with disabilities that are available to all individuals with disabilities, that are available on a consistent basis throughout the entire nation, and that continue to make sure that there is a strong public program that's available for all individuals with disabilities who want to pursue to work. The emphasis on consumer partnerships and individuals for individuals with severe disabilities was further strengthened in the 1982 and 1998 amendments in the rehabilitation act. Informed consumer choice was underscored to ensure that rehabilitative consumers are informed and involved in choosing vocational goals, services and service providers.

Eligibility requirements were changed to presume that an individual can become employed as a result of vocational rehabilitation services, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that he or she cannot. Councils were established to ensure that people with disabilities have a voice in rehabilitation agency policy and services. Successful employment and economic self-sufficiency are the ultimate goals of the vocational rehabilitation program. Services provided are those that are needed by an individual to reach his or her jointly agreed upon vocational goal. Many services such as evaluation, counseling and guidance, referral services and job placement require no proof of financial need. However, states may establish financial need criteria for some other services. As we looked to increase technology, opportunities are available that we never even thought might be available to people with disabilities in the '70s and '80s. Aft this point in time, we really place an emphasis on settling for nothing less than an individual having the opportunity to work in competitive employment in integrated settings right alongside their nondisabled peers.

I think in the future we'll say more people with disabilities in entering the work world at competitive jobs in integrative settings. I think in today's economy, high technology, expectations of work force is very, very important for deaf and hard of hearing persons to consider seriously about getting their education after high school. A number of studies done by-especially by NTID with the IRS shows that students who just graduated with a high school diploma earn this much. Those that go to college, have some college education, earned a little more. However, those students that continue in college and complete their degrees earned three, four times more than high school students. It is extremely important for a strong partnership to be developed between the rehabilitation programs and post secondary programs in order that we can maximize success and see more people with a wide variety of disabilities obtaining high quality, good paying jobs through a good, sound, solid post secondary education system. The progression of rehabilitation legislation over the years coupled with expanded post secondary education partnerships with VR has improved life for millions of Americans who have disabilities. These people now have the means to establish economic self-sufficiency and a meaningful place in their community. [End of video.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. So this section of the videotape just real gives you that overview and the history of vocational rehabilitation and it's really a nice introduction, and the first time I saw it I really got to learn some things about VR's history that I didn't know myself. And this training packet can be used in a variety of situations even if you're thinking about using it with high schools often counselors and students and parents aren't aware of vocational rehabilitation services and this is really a great tool for that. Next I would like to go over the answers when asked ask you the answers, actually, to our pretest. And that's the last page of your handout. Okay. Number 1: All high school graduates who have a significant hearing loss are eligible for VR services? False. And why is that false?

JOSIE DURKOW: How many people thought that all students who had a hearing loss were eligible?

SPEAKER 3: Isn't there a financial limitation?

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes some states have financial limitations or financial-a financial need has to be demonstrated in some states, yes. It seems like everyone was comfortable with the answer to number 1. So we're going to be identifying issues when we come to questions where people are not comfortable with the answers or didn't really-

SPEAKER 1: I just want to add onto her comment just because there are some services that we provide that doesn't require financial guidelines. [Discussion.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. So if you're going to answer a question, if you're going to speak, if you could use the microphone. Okay. I was going to add something to that and now I lost my train of thought. Oh, yes and there are services that do not have financial caps, and we're going to get into that too a little bit later. There is a segment in the videotape that addressed that. Number 2, VR will pay for any eligible student who is deaf to attend the college of his or her choice? And no. And why not?

SPEAKER 3: Me?

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes.

SPEAKER 3: Okay. Will pay for how? I mean tuition? It depends. In our state, I'm from Illinois, it depends on the students individual-it used to be called IWRP. It's something else now. And it depends on what the student and the counselor have determined that the student does need. Sometimes tuition, sometimes it's maintenance, sometimes it's books. Did I misunderstand the question?

SPEAKER 2:

JOSIE DURKOW: No.

SPEAKER 3: Okay.

JOSIE DURKOW: About the college of his or her choice. So sometimes this is based on if there is a similar program in the state or a program that is less costly than another program, then VR would ask the student to attend, could ask the student to attend the program that has the lesser cost. And then if the student wanted to attend the other program, the student may have to pay the additional part to the tuition.

SPEAKER 3: I understand it is like that in Illinois. I'm sorry.

JOSIE DURKOW: And also sometimes VR has caps, limits, on what they're going to pay. Number 3: Once approved for college sponsorship, a VR client's sponsorship is not automatically approved each successive year until graduation. True or false? True. .

SPEAKER 3: True. I would think it would be true that it would not be automatically. Is that what it wait a minute. Am I reading it wrong? Not automatically approved. Because it depends probably on the student's progress, I would imagine, whether or not they were being successful in the program and if they weren't they might need to select a different option.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right. And in order to maintain sponsorship VR clients need to communicate regularly with their VR counselor. So that's in terms of informing them of their grades and their registration, their cost. So there needs to be ongoing communication between students and their VR counselors. Number 4: It is the responsibility of the post secondary institution to send regular transcripts of courses and grades to the counselor of the VR student. True or false? Okay. And false. And why is that?

SPEAKER 3: It is the student's responsibility to follow up with the counselor and send in their grades to the counselor on a quarterly basis or a semester basis.

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. And why can't the college do that?

SPEAKER 3: Again, I think we're fostering independence and responsibility. So-that's at least my opinion of that.

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay.

SPEAKER 4: The other piece of that is that we have laws, confidentiality laws, and we would have to have a signed release from the student before we could release that information. I work for higher ed so-

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes, that is a correct answer. Okay. So it is false, it is not the responsibility of the post secondary institution to provide that information. Number 5: VR will cover the cost of interpreters, computer assisted realtime note taking or assistive listening devices to ensure a student's communication access to the classroom.

SPEAKER 4: True and false. What kind of agreement? Depending upon what your state agreement is with the institute of higher education.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right. And if VR does not cover the cost, approximate as we heard yesterday in the workshop by Robert Mathers, if VR is not paying it is still the institution of higher education to provide that service. But there still is an issue in many states of who pays. And this was clearly an issue that was identified in New Jersey and Delaware in developing interagency agreements, you know: Who is going to be responsible for what? Number 6: The post secondary program will cover the cost-oh, we did this one. No, this is number- it's very similar. The post secondary program will cover the cost of interpreters, computer assisted realtime captioning note taking or assistive listening devices to ensure a student's communication access to the classroom. So as we just said, this answer is true. And if the VR-if the student is a VR client then the institution may negotiate with VR. But if it's not a VR client then the institution is responsible to provide those services. Number 7: The VR counselor determines the most appropriate employment goal for the student client based on his or her abilities, interests and aptitudes. The. You're the VR person?

SPEAKER 3: I'm not a VR person.

JOSIE DURKOW: You're the higher ed person that's right.

SPEAKER 3: I believe it's supposed to be client driven, and even though the counselor would facilitate a lot of different options for the person, I think that ultimately it's the client's choice as to which program they're going to select.

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes. And that's where we have the informed consumer choice, so that that consumer has the has the right to choose their employment-appropriate is the word-employment outcome spic VR services that they'll need, specific service providers, and methods to get those services. So sometimes a student may have to participate in the pavement of some services that they need. Maybe it would be their transportation or pay part of-if they are attending a college where they're going to be staying in dorms, maybe they might need to contribute to part of their living. So that will all be worked out between VR and the student. Yes?

SPEAKER 3: In some cases it is the counselor's responsibility to point out to an individual that their employment choice is not appropriate. For example, a blind person who wants to be an airline pilot or something like that. Maybe that is within the realm of possibilities, but, you know, there are, I think cases where the VR agency has to take a stand. The VR counselor does not really make the decision, though, it goes to a higher level, administrative level, in terms of determining whether or not they will go AHEAD with the vocational goals selected by the individual with the disability. And there's an appeal process and all of that as well.

JOSIE DURKOW: Uh-huh. And that's why we do say the appropriate options. Number 8: All other sources of funding must be explored and used prior to VR money? True. That's right. And that's why students must that are VR clients must fill out financial aid applications. Yes?

SPEAKER 3: I believe that recently changed in the State of Washington, and that now VR clients are not required to take-to use financial aid funds for their tuition. That just changed. .

SPEAKER 4: If you say any funds, I think that would-all other sources of funding, I think that would be a mistake, because you don't have to take a loan, and there are student loans.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right.

SPEAKER 4: And individuals don't have to take student loans. So I would think that would make that statement false in terms of it's another source of financial-of funding, getting a loan, and you don't have to do that. That's my understanding.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right. That part is true. But we're mostly talking about direct aid to the student. So because there is the mandate to seek out all similar benefits. So a similar benefit to VR support would be something like financial aid. Not necessarily a student loan though. Because a loan is something you pay back. If you get a direct grant, you don't pay that back. Okay. Number 9 much. Some VR agencies have caps or maximum spending limits on some services. It's true? True, yes. It says that services need to be able to be purchased at a reasonable-that are reasonably priced. So they may have a limit as to how much. In New Jersey the VR it bases it there on what the tuition is at the state colleges is what they'll pay except for Gallaudet or NTID. But if the student wanted to go out of state to a college in Pennsylvania, then VR would have a limit of what they could pay and that's really based on what in state tuition would run for that student. Unless it's a program that's not offered in state. Number 10: All VR counselors are experts on hearing loss and related social, communication vocational, communication, and technological needs. It is false. Right. Mostly what we see are the rehabilitation counselors for the deaf who are knowledgeable on the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. But a deaf or hard of hearing client could be assigned to a generalist, who doesn't really have knowledge of services for deaf and hard of hearing. Okay. Number 11 --

SPEAKER 3: Yeah, just going back to number 9.

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes?

SPEAKER 3: I think the Federal Rules say that you can't have-that it kind of conflicts with number 9 because you can't put a cap on the amount of services.

JOSIE DURKOW: Some-

SPEAKER 3: Does number 9 mean that it should have-some of the agencies actually do have caps for spending, and I think it's a direct conflict with the federal mandates. Because they have to discuss that as well. Because some states do have those caps.

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay.

SPEAKER 4: In Pennsylvania I heard recently they capped college funding up to 3000 per student but so far no one has appealed that, the VR clients. And Pennsylvania is getting away with that.

SPEAKER 4: Why? Because their clients should know about the federal rule as well. I mean that's their right to know that information as well.

SPEAKER 3: It sounds like we're talking about two different things: 1, tuition, and the other would be actually providing accommodation for the person with- through VR funds.

JOSIE DURKOW: Right.

SPEAKER 1: And the federal laws stipulate that if they need an accommodation, I mean, it's the institution's responsible if they're in school. But if it is a VR client that maybe is going into a work environment or something, I don't know, then maybe the employer is responsible. But I know for accommodation purposes they're not allowed to put a cap on what they're providing. But maybe for education they can. Maybe somebody can clarify that.

JOSIE DURKOW: Yeah that was my understanding that in New Jersey the cap is on the cost for the educational, the tuition and books and fees, there is the cap, and housing. But in terms of other types of services, I don't believe that there is a cap. But I'm not the VR expert.

SPEAKER 1: I think that maybe the way that works is if a student is admitted to a college or program, there is no obligation on the higher institution's part to pay for that student. And VR just uses it as an employment goal. And I think VR could probably say: Yes, we will only pay this much. It doesn't mean the student can't go. The student can still go but they somehow have to come up with the additional funding. And then if they need the accommodations, that's where the issue becomes: Yes, they have to be given if they're reasonable and all that. Who pays? That's the million dollar question. You know. But somebody has to pay. And ultimately it usually ends up being the higher ed institution. VR typically tends to pay for more personal things which isn't the institution's responsibility. Although, you know, I know some states have worked out the biggest issue, which is interpreters. That's the biggest issue always. And equipment, of course. But I think-does that help explain the difference maybe? Because I thought the same thing. You know, caps: You can't really put a cap on accommodations but I think you could on what you're going to have to pay for are tuition. Because that's not the responsibility of the institution-or VR really.

JOSIE DURKOW: Thank you. Can we move onto number 11: All post secondary staff are experts on hearing loss and related social, vocational, communication and technological needs. And that's false. And this-will vary according to the program. If it's a specific program for deaf and hard of hearing students, then we would expect that they did have that knowledge. But if it's a general college disability services staff, they may have very limited knowledge about the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. Number 12: All persons with hearing loss are- oh. All persons with hearing loss are experts on hearing loss and related social, vocational, communication, and technological needs. [Laughter.] Do you want to-higher education person-answer?

SPEAKER 3: No. I mean, I don't think that- many times we have students that come in and they don't know what their needs are either. Especially if it's somebody who is late deafened. If it is somebody who is born deaf, it's usually different. They know what works for them.

JOSIE DURKOW: That's what we also see, especially with our hard of hearing students, very often they didn't want to be identified in school as someone with a hearing loss and really didn't accept any services, and so school districts weren't going to pursue it if the student and their family aren't pursuing services. So they'll come to college and they'll really struggle in the beginning and finally maybe come ask for some kind of support. And they had no idea that, you know, life never had to be this hard for them. Okay. So that one is false. Number 13: VR can pick up a student who is already enrolled in college and pay tuition retroactively. False. Right. A student can be referred to VR during the semester. However, what they agree to pay would not be effective until the next semester. So things have to be worked out in advance. After the student is determined eligible for services. So that one was false.

Number 14: If a student and post secondary staff member agree to a curriculum change without the VR counselor's involvement and consent, VR sponsorship will be jeopardized. And that's true. As we talked about earlier, students need to communicate with their VR counselor, and making a change without the consent of the VR counselor could jeopardize their sponsorship. Because the student has the individual IPW-individual plan for rehabilitation-it should probably be in my notes. But they have to have their plan set up in advance. Their goal and how they're going to get there. So if the student makes a change it's not in their already agreed upon contract with the VR. So they must communicate with the VR counselor before they make changes. Number 15: Is it possible for a student to change curriculum or degree goal and not lose VR sponsorship? , they can. But they need to communicate and discuss and it has to be agreed upon by the VR counselor and the student before the change is made. And 16: A college counselor should always share a student's grades with the VR counselor and report if the student has any problems or quits. And we said earlier we made mention to confidentiality laws that would prohibit the institution from communicating this information to the VR counselor without some kind of a signed release to communicate this specific type of information.

SPEAKER 1: I would like to say one thing. I think that it is important for the student, the VR counselor and the DSS person, the person who is coordinating services at the educational institution to collaborate together though. And sometimes sharing of that information if it's approved by the student is a good thing. If they're struggling we all need to get together and look at what the issues are and what might need to be done.

JOSIE DURKOW: And that's a good point for an issue to be included in an interagency agreement, you know, how we're going to work together with VR for positive outcomes for the students, with the student, all three involved, you know. And I believe we have that language in the New Jersey contract and Delaware has language to that effect too. Now I'm going to show you the next part of the videotape. [Videotape playing: The ultimate goal in vocational rehabilitation is to assist people with disabilities to get jobs. VR is an important ally for the student considering a post secondary education to prepare for a career choice. Makes it difficult to get a job. So when they come into the office we sit down and discuss their interests, what they want to do. Also we can provide an educational assessment to determine what kind of jobs would be better for them. The aim is to get and keep a job. So that means sending someone to a 4 year college or a two-year college or ha training program whatever it takes to get that person to their vocational goal. It could be a little bit of job seeking skills, or it could be a 4 year degree, and I know some who have gotten their graduate degrees through vocational rehabilitation.

VR does of course support persons in college but only if their vocational outcome requires a college degree. Often we used to receive calls and say: What are you interested in I'm interested in going to college and that's why they wanted to come to VR. But they had no idea what they wanted to do after college. So we try to find out what type of employment they're interested in. And if it requires a 4 year degree and if they have the abilities to successfully compete in colleges, complete college, then we do support them in college. And it could be tuition assistance or it could be counseling and guidance with support for employment at the end. Students with disabilities become aware of vocational rehabilitation in a variety of ways. Some are referred to VR by their high school guidance counselor, transition team or college counselors. Others learn about VR through friends, doctors, audiologists or social workers. [Pause in audio of videotape.] VR oftentimes will pay a full amount of tuition for students, depending on what state they're from. They'll pay the room and board. They will pay for books and supplies. So it's to the student's benefit to look into the opportunity to see if they're eligible for VR support. [End of videotape.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. This segment dealt with some of the issues that we already discussed: Referral to VR. The VR assessment. VR eligibility. Employment outcomes is the focus of VR. Informed consumer choice, we already spoke about. And services and level of support. Does anyone have any questions on any of these? Are you familiar with the VR assessment? Anyone? Okay. The VR assessment is to really gather information on trying to determine what would be an appropriate choice and what kinds of strengths and weaknesses. So it analyzes their strengths, what kinds of resources are available, their abilities, capacities, interest, their needs.

In New Jersey what we often see referred for vocational rehabilitation-a vocational rehabilitation assessment for employment that really goes over students interests and ability, skills. So with all-all of those together, through that assessment, that's how they determine exactly what is a good path that the student would want to pursue. Can you push play? [Videotape playing again: No two schools have equal programs. Vocational rehabilitation may only pay the amount needed to attend the less expensive school. If the student still wants to attend the more expensive program he or she must make up the financial difference. The primary objective is to provide the are education in state. But if it's something you have a real hankering for an educational goal and it's not available in state, yes, we will provide funding for out of state. Student should also apply for financial aid. This includes federal, state and institutional aid. The financial aid office will process their application. They'll award the financial aid for which the student is eligible. The financial aid student needs an assessment form that determines how much financial aid the student will receive from these various programs. [Pause.]

One of the biggest mistakes they make is forgetting to apply for financial aid. With vocational rehab they're there to assist the student but they require the student apply for any other funds. And so every student has to complete a preapplication for federal student A. So not filling out the form or not filling out the form in time usually will jeopardize their benefits. We do require them to apply for financial assistance from this school the beginning of each year, school year. They. That's at the beginning of each school year. And they must bring the VR counselor the results of that application. They don't have to be granted financial aid but they at least have to apply for it. So prior to VR providing financial assistance, we will want to see what the student is eligible for from, say, a PEL grant or something like that. All the financial information on the financial aid application is confidential. Therefore the student must sign a release form so the financial aid office can release the information to VR. The student is responsible for authorizing the financial aid office to send the needs assessment form to the VR counselor. We did not release information to anyone without the authorization. Now we have all kinds of forms that financial aid has the student sign and then they send off to the VR counselor to let them know what kind of financial aid they're eligible for and we make sure that VR is a last resort. [End of videotape.]

JOSIE DURKOW: I think it goes on Debbie. Two parts this time. [Videotape playing]. Students need to apply early to make sure their benefits are in place when they want to register. If students are planning on attending classes in the fall, they should complete the financial application process in January, nine months prior to the start of classes. Well, that responsibility really falls back on the student and the VR counselor getting together early and getting the paperwork done early. And that doesn't happen very often. You know, it's first day of classes, and they're calling the counselor's office to try to find out how much money they're going to allow for books and asking us to fax an application to we can get the student a voucher for books. Sometimes there are problems with the students not even having money for the housing. So I think it's up tot student and the VR counselor to really start their process as early as possible. Students can't register for future quarters until their bill is paid for the previous quarter. So it's important to make sure the paperwork is here in a timely manner so that students don't run into problems with registering for future quarters, because it's very frustrating for a student trying to go in and register and find out they can't because we've put a block on their account.

The main thing we want to do when we interact with VR is keep the student service perspective in mind. And that is we want to make sure the students get through the registration process, and also have an availability to books if they need books for courses. And the way that we do that is we try to let VR know as an institution what we require from VR so that we can get a student through that process. Initially a letter of intent of sponsorship and then subsequently a voucher of some sort for books and their fees and tuition. VR sometimes gets confused from where to send the paperwork. So it's important that it doesn't go to the financial aid office. A lot of schools financial aid books are combined. Here they are not. It's important that VR authorize separately for both the supplies and tuition fees. [Pause.] [End of video.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Okay. This section of the tape goes over the economic need test that we talked about earlier, financial caps on services. The range of services VR may provide. The financial aid application. Out of state sponsorship. But I think that the most important part in this segment is really the need for VR higher education staff and students to really work together to coordinate all of the services and to have a good established communication. I know we even developed a lot of specific forms, you know, for working with voc-rehab, especially related to financial aid, to make things easier to process. Any comments or questions on this? Do you want to take a short five minute break and come back or continue on? Are we okay to go? Okay. Do you want to hit the deal? [Videotape playing.] Once in the classroom the deaf student may require support services such as interpreters, handwritten or computer assisted note taking. The particular support services requested will vary from student to student. If the student is not a VR client, the school must pay for the necessary services as established by the Americans with disabilities act. If the student is a VR client the decision regarding whether the school or VR pace for the services or whether they share the expense varies from state to state. We've made provisions on our admission application to help us more and more quickly identify students that need support services.

As soon as that happened we encourage early conversation and educational planning so the assessment of their skills, the selection of their courses can happen early and we can line up the support services that are needed with plenty of time before the semester actually begins. Different states have different policies, and even within our own state there are some county VR offices that work differently than others. [Pause.] One of the other problems is an inconsistency among the states. In some states they're very cut and dry. They pay up to 35 hundred. So we know when talking to a student you should be able to get 35 hundred from your state. Florida and California will pay tuition and fees. When we're trying to determine a student's financial aid when we don't know what the state will pay it can cause problems.

JOSIE DURKOW: You can let it go. [Videotape playing.] Students are responsible for sharing their records, grades, course changes and academic problems with the VR counsel. A monthly amendment known as the confidentiality law prevents schools from exchanging this information with anyone unless the student has signed a specific release form. The student is required to make sure that paperwork is submitted to VR via their financial aid award letter, their grades, whatever it is that they need, and they make sure that they get to their counselor on time and just double check with their counselor to make sure that all of their paperwork is in order after they have signed. The worse thing they did is they don't contact their counselor once they got here. They want letters, they want the context- [Pause.] He needs to write a letter to his counselor about his progress and contact the VR office immediately if there are any changes.

The student will have a responsibility too and then they will need to be following through on appointments with their VR counselor, completing all the necessary paperwork, making sure that they communicate with their VR counselor during the semester, if they're having any difficulties, making sure they're sending their final grades to the VR counselor, and make sure- It's important the student contact the VR counselor. VR counselors need to know about the courses. Because sometimes the student might decide I'm going to take a course that's not related to my major. When they fail the course VR does not pay for failed courses or repeated courses. [Pause.] Must carry at least 12 credit hours. So if you drop a class and don't tell your counselor, you may jeopardize your status as a full-time student. In the case of vocational rehabilitation payment is made prior to the completion of classes. In the event the student does not complete the courses after payment is made, that difference is made up usually the following term with the student not permitted to re register for the same type of courses again, depending on the policy of the counselor. So we do something like add a class, they need to let their counselor know because they may incur an additional debt or additional funds. And if they don't let their counselor know and the counselor has to approve that the student may be responsible for paying that additional money. [Pause.]

Usually vocational rehab will adhere to strict guidelines where the student has to maintain at least a 2.0 and maintain 12 credit hours. If you're running into challenges as far as passing your classes or keeping up with your course information, let the counselor know so that the counselor can recommend that you talk to student special services and secure tutoring or whatever it is you need to be successful. The problems can be overcome basically by communication. We have a large majority of students here over the last couple of years worked out a rapport with the counselor where there's a lot of communication. Number one, create a file of names and phone numbers of all VR counselors as they contact your institution. Number 2, keep in contact with them. Number 3, make sure you identify the counselor with the student. [Pause.] Well, I think that-I know we've always had a good working relationship with the counselors to help the student be successful. So if it's an institution that wants to see their student succeed that this partnership is really the best opportunity. [Pause.] Vocational rehabilitation. Students with disabilities. And post secondary programs are connected by an ultimate goal: Job placement for the students. Understanding how the system works and good communication between those involved lead to successful connections. [End of videotape.]

JOSIE DURKOW: Did you learn anything new about VR? Or if you're from VR, anything new about higher ed? I guess we have a lot of people here who are very familiar with VR. But in-I know in my state in New Jersey people don't understand the full services and how VR actually works. And the same goes for VR. They don't understand, you know, how the college works. I think that this videotape really gives a nice understanding, promotes increased understanding of how both agencies work. And although we have different outcomes, VR, their outcome is you know the actual employment of their client. They may have a different outcome goal than higher ed, maybe to see their students complete their program, but they're also interested in seeing their students go on and be successfully employed. Because institutions have to be more responsible for their outcomes also. So what we did today, we identified a lot of issues, and that's what really happened when we did the training in Delaware. And if you could look at that, the Delaware draft of the interagency agreement. You can see that they listed-oh, that's what I had to do. I had that overhead. Okay.

So these are the issues that we developed when we did the training in Delaware. They wanted to know what kind of services, especially transition services, to and from college were available from vocational rehabilitation. How do we determine appropriate accommodations and what are they and what is appropriate and what is necessary? Who pays? I think that is the big question everybody wants to know. How to get contact information. Who are the VR counselors in specific areas of the state that would be working with potential college students? They wanted to understand DVR rules, policies and procedures. And shortly after the training, VR disseminated their whole policy book to all of the colleges that attended the training, connections training. What to do if there's a glitch. Deb yeah maybe you can highlight that one a little bit more.

SPEAKER 1: Okay. Yes. In Delaware, it's kind of interesting, because Josie came and gave the connections presentation, and we had the director of voc-rehab. And in Delaware there's two different agencies, VR agencies that serve sustains students with disabilities: One DVI for the visually impaired and the other one for deaf and hard of hearing. And also just any other disabilities. So we had to get everybody there. The one couldn't make a decision about the other. They operate separately. And all states are like that. So that was confusing. But we had-we first started with-del are wear is small, which is nice, because you can-you know it seems like it would be easier to work with a small state versus a huge state but there are still a lot of problems. But we had the director from DVR, representative of DVI, a represent representative of DVI or for the other disabilities. And then I'm the actual coordinator for the University of Delaware which is the largest University in Delaware. There's also a Delaware state college, Delaware State: And there's three community colleges-four community colleges. And a number of private schools.

And initially we didn't include the private schools, thinking, we'll just work within what we know as far as the state schools and then go to the private schools. So we've met now three times, I believe, and we're still nowhere near a complete agreement. The problem being that the University of Delaware, we are huge, we have a big budget. It's not very-you. You know, we could never say we can't afford to pay interpreter services which is the biggest issue, whereas the community colleges in the state school are saying we don't have the money and we're trying to ed date them. Well you can't just say you don't have the money. Their administrators say they dent have the money. And of course administrators don't really know what the laws are. So we're meeting as the coordinators and they're having to go back to their bosses, and the bosses above them, who keep saying: Why doesn't VR pay? And they're trying to get- and VR keeps on saying we're not going to pay. So we're sort of still stuck in the middle. I found it interesting I went to the workshop before this on the same issue, and it's interesting to know that there are different types of agreements that can be made which is something that I learned today. You don't have to have a five-page or a 10 page legal document. You can have-and we've been talking in Delaware about a memorandum of understanding. Which according to the workshop this morning only has to be a one-page thing. It can be a memo. They say it can even be verbal but of course nobody would ever want that.

So we're still meeting and I can take that back to Delaware and say: Why are we worrying about this big legalese document, et cetera. Because in the state we've actually been able to work out things pretty well up until now verbally. And putting this legalese thing on has created so much tension in our meetings that we just go back and forth and back and forth. And I know other states who are huge, they must have big problems trying to get the people together to do it. So all these issues that Josie mentioned, and that came up here with the quiz and everything, we've had to go through. But a lot of them are you know pretty clear-cut. Most of us here, and we seem to identify that: What the student's rolls are. I've learned a lot about what VRs roles are and they've learned ha lot about us. The good thing that has come out of our agreement or our meeting so far is we have agreed that we like to meet and find out what the other is doing and we've decided we want to continue this beyond the agreement, because a lot of times we don't know what VRs problems are in getting the payment, just like they were mentioning on the videotape: Students are often left weeks into the semester without services because nobody has paid. Sometimes it's the student's fault. Many times it's paperwork's fault. And we're trying to streamline those processes so students can get what they need where they need it which is right at the beginning.

But I also know now there's budget cuts every where. Every state was mentioned in the previous workshop. My state is doing the same thing. I just heard last week that our division for the visually impaired is no longer going to pay for students to live on campus if they live within 35 miles of campus. Which on the one hand you might think is not a big deal but there goes a whole learning opportunity for those students to live on campus. Not only that, our paratransit services are very poor. So students have to rely on that. I think it's going to mean that students will not be able to go to college in some cases. So that is one aspect where they are cutting back. And they can do that. I think the universities and the colleges are going to have to take on more responsibilities rather than fewer. Not to say we have to pay their housing or anything. But I think it's not going to even be an argument anymore. VR is just going to show that we're not paying.

I thought it was interesting to hear this morning in Louisiana how they were saying that the initial agreement said that VR would pay-or was it the colleges would pay? I think it was the colleges would pay. And then one college has refused to pay, saying that VR would pay. And it's in a lawsuit right now or something. So I don't know what's happening to the students in the meantime. But in my case I would never, you know, tell my administration I don't think would ever say, well, we're just not going to pay. But it could happen. And I think it's going to take a case like that to maybe clarify. And I know AHEAD is working on some kind of overall policy on-it would be nice if all the states were together. But even in Delaware we're still working on it. And the problem is getting all the people to agree, which is hard. I'm not sure how New Jersey did on theirs,.

JOSIE DURKOW: In New Jersey we had three separate negotiating groups. We had the community colleges. And I think we were able to be successful at the Community College level in getting a shared agreement because our financial needs are much different than the four year universities and colleges where they will have, you know, endowment funds and much larger budgets than the community colleges. And even the funding that we get from our state and county are much less than what the four year college is getting in our state. And then there also was a group from the research institutions. And only the community colleges really pursued sharing the cost for support services for students with disabilities. And I was really the primary negotiator for the community colleges because I come from a program that's serving 65 deaf and hard of hearing sustain. Although we get funding from the commission on higher education and college, and sometimes there is a counseling position paid by VR. VR.

In order for this program to continue and not become a real burden to the college we really needed additional support. So I never gave up in my arguments. And one of the things VR just thought we could increase our tuition. We they had no idea of the process of increasing your tuition in the state of New Jersey. We receive funding from our county, funding from the state, and often it's dependent on that we're not going to increase our tuition. And it's a very involved process to increase tuition. And it might not even give us additional funding we wanted to pay for additional support services. If we're going to have our funding reduced from the county or the state. So we were really fortunate to get that arrangement. And it's working out well. And one of the things they talked about this morning, the power of interagency agreements was that you also have to communicate that you have this agreement and what's involved in it. So we got to use the training packet, the connections training packet to introduce the Enterprise agency agreement and let people know what it's about and how they can get reimbursement and how they can coordinate services better for vocational rehabilitation. I liked the Delaware model because it really set the stage. It was like a nice place to start.

SPEAKER 1: Yeah, we've learned a lot about each other through this process, VR and what the colleges do, and they didn't any half the things we do and face with students. We didn't know what they have to go through with students that don't communicate with them or with student goals. We didn't know, you know, even their job responsibilities and parameters on them from the state and federal. So it's been nice because we know each other and we even have a group mailing list. And if somebody is having a workshop or something now we'll send it out. And it's gotten the state together as far as people in my position, the coordinators, we all know each other now, we talk. And there's definitely power in numbers and in shared resources as you find by going to conferences like this, and organizations like AHEAD and stuff like that. I'm sure we'll come up with some agreement and probably what it's going to be was the university where I work will probably continue to pay for the interpreter services and related services like that, and the community colleges, and don't have as much money, may end up with a shared agreement.

We may have separate agreements with VR. But that's okay because I found out that can be done. You don't have to do it with everyone agrees to the same thing. And like I said this morning too it's not a fixed document. It's a work in process. And it may be fine this year. Next year somebody may want to come back and renegotiate it. So it's a good idea to keep having those moneys and keeping looking to see if it's working or not working otherwise it becomes a document that gets in somebody's desk and nobody knows about it. And also higher education institutions become aware of what you're facing, and. And they're just paying the bills and they question it all the time, you know, why are we paying this?

JOSIE DURKOW: Do you have any questions?

SPEAKER 3: So am I correct in coming to the conclusion that most of these costs are coming from serving deaf individuals and hard of hearing individuals who need interpreting services and cart services and assisted living technology? Is that where most of the costs are coming from? I realize that interpreter services sometimes cost more than tuition, and cart services could do the same. But I don't know there's that many people using cart services. And then you have note taking as well services. So most of these services are from this particular population. Right?

JOSIE DURKOW: Uh-huh. Yes. Most of the services are really for deaf and hard of hearing students.

SPEAKER 3: And blind.

JOSIE DURKOW: And blind students. Because the services are ongoing, you know. If-most accommodations that are physical in nature if you have to build a ramp it's a one-time cost. But in terms of deaf and hard of hearing students and blind students, such things as note taking, interpreter services, readings, braille, you know, that's something you have to do every semester. It's not just a one-time cost. Although assistive listening devices may be a one-time purchase. Most of the other costs are semester after semester. And with the changes in interpreting practices, when we first starred our program at Camden County College we had four full time interpreters and about 100 deaf students but they were in a lot of the same majors and we had a lot of self contained classes with just deaf students. But we never had to hire really outside interpreters. Now we have 4 full time interpreters plus we higher v hire about 50 part time interpreters per semester. A lot of our classes are running an hour and 15 minutes, we have to provide two interpreters, and that's double the cost: And I hear from other colleges in the state. So it is a big concern to colleges.

SPEAKER 3: Yes. I'm aware that in the past some colleges and universities have requested or actually tried to mandate that the deaf students go to either Gallaudet or NTID, where they would need all these interpreting services. And they can't do that, but they- they did it. Has that happened to anybody here? Okay. Well that's good to see.

JOSIE DURKOW: Yes. And even in New Jersey, we have two regional centers that are specifically for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. There are still students attending many of the other colleges in the state. If you would like to get the connections training package, it's on page 20. And the book says there's a $20 fee but I believe there is not a fee. Because NETAC has provided them. And the $20 fee for videotapes was supposed to be for videotapes that the PRC had to actually make themselves. So when you call, if you want to order it, you should say you were told that there is no charge for the whole program. And if you would like to look at any of the materials in it, I have a complete packet here. Thank you.

SPEAKER 3: Thank you. [Applause.]


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