Postsecondary Education

Visit Transition to Adulthood for more resources on the transition process. 

Post-secondary education is an exciting opportunity for all youth, including those with disabilities. Going to college can mean attending a 4-year university, a 2-year community college, or a trade school. It can mean studying full-time or part-time, living at school or commuting from home.

  • Learning and earning go hand-in-hand. The more years of schooling your youth completes, the higher his or her income is likely to be.

Will my child get a diploma or a certificate of completion?

A high school diploma is awarded to students that have met the Michigan Merit Curriculum graduation requirements. A certificate of completion might be given to certain students at the discretion of the local school district. The Michigan Merit law allows a parent to request certain modifications to the state high school graduation requirements.

What is a Summary of Performance?

When a student exits the school system, either by obtaining a diploma or aging out, schools must provide them with a Summary of Performance (SOP) to assist in the process of transitioning to post school activities.  The Summary of Performance is a summary of the their academic achievement and functional performance, and includes recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting post-secondary goal. 

What considerations should go into postsecondary education?

Part of Transition Planning includes planning for a career path.   Students likely have completed an Educational Development Plan (EDP). This document shows educational and career goals, a way to achieve these goals, and the activities accomplished.

What is Project SEARCH?

Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain employment through training and career exploration. It’s a one year high school transition program which provides training and education leading to employment.

What is vocational education?

Vocational training is training for a specific career or trade. A large part of education in vocational schools is hands-on training.

The Michigan Career & Technical Institute (MCTI) in Plainwell is an educational center for adults with disabilities in Michigan.  MCTI is supported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan Rehabilitation Services.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program through the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons provides diagnostic evaluations, vocational counseling, and training in skills of blindness at no cost.  Additional services may include low-vision equipment, vocational training, technical school training, a college education, job development and placement, and follow-up.

What are Transition Centers?

Transition Centers and Young Adult Programs are operated by Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) or local schools districts.   These transition programs and services are for students up to 26 years-old with disabilities who have not received a high school diploma.  Contact your ISD to learn more about the specifics in your area.

What is Adult Education?

Adult education provides opportunities for adults to improve education levels, obtain a high school credential, or become better English speakers.

What other opportunities are out there?

Local school districts may offer community education programs.  Community colleges may offer lifelong learning classes.  Libraries and community recreation departments often offer enrichment classes.  There may be other businesses or non-profits in the community as well.

After IEPs are gone, then what?

There are two main federal disability-rights laws that protect adults with disabilities in postsecondary education settings.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 cover postsecondary education and training, employment, and for independent living.

Support services and academic accommodations at college must be requested by the student.  Colleges and universities have an office dedicated to this.  These offices are called different things, like Student Support Services, Student Disability Services, like Disability Support Services.

What about paying for college or further education?

There is a range of possible funding sources that can be used to finance higher education costs.   There is not a universal answer, funding sources listed work differently across the state.  Students with intellectual disabilities are eligible to apply for federal financial aid under certain circumstances.

Students who were Medicaid eligible between age nine and high school graduation may qualify for the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) .

Great Resources