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Becoming a Comprehensive Transition Program

Comprehensive Transition Programs (CTP) were initially described and defined by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Comprehensive Transition Programs are degree, certificate, or non-degree programs  for students with intellectual disabilities that:

  • Are offered by a college or career school and approved by the U.S. Department of Education;
  • Are designed to support students with intellectual disabilities who want to continue academic, career, and independent living instruction to prepare for gainful employment;
  • Offers academic advising and a structured curriculum; and
  • Requires students with intellectual disabilities to participate, for at least half of the program, in:
    • Regular enrollment in credit-bearing courses with nondisabled students,
    • Auditing or participating (with nondisabled students) in courses for which the student does not receive regular academic credit,
    • Enrollment in noncredit-bearing, non-degree courses with nondisabled students, or
    • Internships or work-based training with nondisabled individuals.

If students with intellectual disabilities are attending a CTP, they are able to use federal financial aid to help pay the cost of attendance.

Resources to support colleges in applying for CTP status.

Think College Learn module on Financial Aid features an interactive checklist for Applying to be a Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary Program (CTP).

Link to Electronic Application for Approval to Participate in Title IV Federal Student Aid Programs (E-App)

Guidance documents from the US Department of Education

Guidance from US Department of Education on Applying to become a Comprehensive Transition Program

Letter to Accrediting Agency Executive Directors from the US Department of Education regarding Comprehensive Transition Programs

Guidance related to Gainful Employment