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How Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities Works


Work-study for Students with Disabilities
Work-study programs allow students to make money to help pay for school.
Work-study programs allow students to make money to help pay for school.
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Work-study is essentially payment in exchange for completion of a job. Most work-study is funded through the federal government and administered through the schools. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, during the 2007-2008 school year, students received on average about $2,400 in wages through a work-study job [source: U.S. Department of Education]. The amount of money a student can earn usually corresponds to the student's Work-Study award, or maximum amount of money they can earn during that year through the program, which is based on FAFSA information and federal standards [source: University of Missouri-Kansas City, Oklahoma State University]. The hourly wages for work-study jobs start at the federal minimum wage and can go higher depending on the jobs performed [source: U.S. Department of Education, Oklahoma State University]. Job opportunities can range from clerical work to updating Web pages to food service [source: University of Washington].

Some students with disabilities may require special assistive technologies or accommodations when attending college. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities [source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, The George Washington University HEATH Resource Center]. Postsecondary institutions covered under these laws must only provide services or accommodations necessary to ensure that they are not discriminating against a student with disabilities [source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights]. Such free services may include assistive listening devices, video closed captioning or academic assistants. In order to receive accommodations, documentation of a given disability is usually required. According to Margaret Collins Totty, M.Ed., around 1,000 students use the Disability Resource Center's services every semester [source: Totty].

From work-study to loans, students with disabilities have many financial aid opportunities open to them to help them pursue their career dreams through postsecondary education.