More money available to assist Ohioans with disabilities pursue educational opportunities
Ohioans with disabilities can now get up to $7,000 per person for college or educational programs. The money is available for the 2023 fall term.
As part of allocations in the new state budget, federal funds are being made available to offer these opportunities to Ohioans with disabilities.
Ohioans with Disabilities Director Kevin Miller said the state currently gives around 25,000 Ohioans with disabilities funds for educational pursuits. He says this extra drawdown will allow at least 7,000 additional people to be served. Miller also said the money can be used for college, but it’s not limited to that, saying that recipients of the funding can also pursue programs that teach them a skill or trade.
“It’s not just college. We can assist you to get into these types of credentialing programs that are non-traditional and be able to get you those credentials, so that you can earn a higher wage,” Miller said.
Miller said there’s a lot of flexibility available with the money. He said it obviously can cover tuition, but can also be used for a variety of accommodations, such as translators and other necessities.
“(The funding can be used for) some sort of technology, transportation assistance, laptops and computers that are configured specifically for maybe someone who is blind or low vision or deaf or hard of hearing, or has some other type of physical disability so that they might be able to move around the campus,” Miller said.
“Higher education and a successful future should be available for all students,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “By supporting college and non-traditional students with disabilities through services from OOD and its partners, they are given a greater opportunity of success as they transition from education and training to in-demand careers.”
Miller said the state is able to leverage federal dollars that have been left on the table in previous budgets.
“For every dollar in general revenue or tax dollars (state), you get $3.69 from the federal government. Ohio, unfortunately, for almost 20 years, we’ve been either….this is not one of the things we want to lead the country, but Ohio has been first, second or third in the amount of money we have left in Washington D.C. to the tune of almost a half a billion dollars in that 20 years,” Miller said.
Miller said this will also help Ohio's employers who are looking for skilled workers. Miller noted 55% of Ohioans who go through these programs are still working at the job they were eventually hired for one year later.
Ohio residents with disabilities who are interested in the funds can click here for more information on the program.