Pay for College

Explore ways to pay for college.

Going to college is a big investment.

College can be expensive. College students are required to pay for tuition, fees, books, and sometimes housing and food plans. It is important to start planning early for how you are going to pay for college. To help you plan, talk to trusted adults in your life and discuss your options.

As you plan, it is important to determine whether the inclusive college programs you are interested in are Comprehensive Transition Programs (CTPs). Students who attend CTPS are eligible for federal financial aid.

Learn more about the PASS plan

There are a number of sources to help you pay for college. View this video for details on how the Social Security Administration’s PASS plan can work for you in Missouri.

Discover more about FAFSA

FAFSA is a free application almost every college student will use. Watch this video to learn more about our steps to better understand using this way to help you pay for college. 

Another way to pay: Medicaid-SB40

Yet another way you can pay for college! Watch this video to learn more about how you could use Medicaid or resources from a county SB40 board.

Comprehensive Transition Programs

Comprehensive Transition Programs, or CTPs, are degree, certificate, or non-degree programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who meet specific criteria.  If students with IDD attend a CTP, they can use federal financial aid to help pay for attendance. 

CTPs are based at universities, colleges, or technical schools, and are approved by the U.S. Department of Education. They support students with IDD who want to continue academic, career, and independent living instruction to prepare for gainful employment. 

CTPs offer academic advising and a structured curriculum. They require students with IDD to participate, for at least half of the program, in one of the following:  

  1. Regular enrollment in credit-bearing courses with college students who do not have disabilities.
  2. Audit or participation in courses (with college students who do not have disabilities) for which the student with IDD does not receive regular academic credit. 
  3. Enrollment in noncredit, non-degree courses (with college students, who do not have disabilities), or internships or work-based training with individuals who do not have disabilities.

Students with IDD who attend CTPs are eligible to apply for federal financial aid to help cover the cost of attending college under these circumstances: 

  • The student meets the definition of intellectual disability as outlined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.
  • Students must be attending an approved CTP – a list is on the Think College website
  • Students who meet these two criteria DO NOT have to have a standard high school diploma or be pursuing a degree or certificate.
  • Students with intellectual disabilities DO still have to meet the financial need criteria for eligibility.

They are eligible for federal grants and work study funds, but NOT federally subsidized student loans.

Educational Opportunity Centers

Counselors at Educational Opportunity Centers are available to help you through the financial aid process. The centers serve at-risk and low-income students in specific areas. EOC counselors can help you:

  • Create a career and educational plan
  • Select, and apply to, a college
  • Fill out the FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • Search for scholarships, grants, and other ways to pay for college

Southwest Missouri
The Crowder College Educational Opportunity Center
serves first-generation college students and adults who meet income guidelines. Call 1-866-822-1362, to make sure you meet the guidelines.

Kansas City Metropolitan Area
The Kansas City Educational Opportunity Center serves Jackson County residents living west of Highway 291, & southern Clay County residents. Click here for their important reminders and a scholarship guide.

St. Louis Metropolitan Area
The St. Louis Higher Education Consortium Trio Educational Opportunity Centers serve both Missouri and Illinois residents in St. Louis metro area. Click here for the list of counties covered.

College Aid for Students with IDD

Medicaid Waivers
You can use your Medicaid waiver for education supports, tuition, general fees, and on-campus peer mentors if you are working toward a specific job or career path. You cannot use waivers to cover room and board, or books.

County Senate Bill (SB) 40 Developmental Disability Boards
“SB 40” refers to Missouri Senate Bill 40, the law that funded the proposal to provide supports for residents with IDD. Some of the county boards help cover college costs for their clients. Check with yours to see how it can help. Click here to see a map of Missouri SB 40 county boards.

Social Security Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) Plans
If you receive Social Security benefits, you can create a PASS (Plan to Achieve Self Support) to help pay for college. Click here to contact your local SSA Pass Plan Coordinator for help completing the plan.