Exceptional Parent - August 2010 - (Page 61)
private pay students and the Medicaid program. The biggest problem at this stage is admissions: there are over 10 applicants for every space available. Potential Beyond Academics students must be capable of managing their activities of daily living independently and must either participate in the North Carolina CAP program or have the financial means to pay privately. The private pay cost can be greater than a typical college education, largely because of the individualized one-on-one instruction. Students must be capable of living in a community of other people with and without disabilities. Most importantly, the child must want independence and be willing to work hard to make it happen. How can parents prepare for admissions to Beyond Academics? First, they can help their special children take advantage of educational opportunities while still in their home school system. Second, they can begin saving, just as if their child will attend college. One idea to consider is a 529 Plan owned by a parent, grandparent or in trust. While a typical child would begin college at 18 or 19, children with disabilities may need more time and effort to reach this milestone in life. Students range in age from their 20’s to their 50’s in the Beyond Academics program. Recently, Congress approved of financial aid for non-degree post-secondary education of persons with intellectual disabilities in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Programs like Beyond Academics in a university setting will grow with greater federal funding options. Non-degree tract students with intellectual disabilities can finance their studies through federallysecured loans and other forms of aid and grants, including Pell Grants and federally-funded Work Study programs. Do you think your child may not succeed in a program like Beyond Academics? Many of the parents of the current students were skeptical before they watched their children thrive with independence. Would you like to discover post-secondary study opportunities for your child? Start your research at www.thinkcollege.net and www.beyondacademics.org. Think College’s website will allow you to locate post-secondary opportunities in your area. •
About the author: Bailey Liipfert, III of Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a partner in Craige Brawley Liipfert & Walker LLP, the state’s oldest law firm. He is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. His practice focuses on elder law, disability planning and fiduciary administration of special needs trusts. He is active in his local community and currently serves as secretary of Beyond Academics, Inc. and as the board chairman of The Adaptables Inc., a Center for Independent Living. Mr. Liipfert is a member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national, non-profit organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them. Contact information for a member in your state can be obtained by calling toll-free 1-877-5728472, or by visiting: www.specialneedsalliance.org.
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