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Feb 09 2012

Financial Aid Available for Students in Vocational Independence Program

Central Islip, N.Y.  (February 9, 2012)   ΜΆ   A New York Institute of Technology program for students with intellectual disabilities has received federal approval that allows its students to apply for special grants and work-study programs.

The U.S. Dept. of Education granted the approval to the Vocational Independence Program, (VIP) making NYIT one of only 10 institutions nationwide that received the equivalent of an accreditation of its operations.

“This means that our students and their families can have valuable opportunities for financial aid that they weren’t eligible for in the past,” said Ernst Vanbergeijk, VIP’s associate dean and executive director.  “It also puts the VIP program into an elite class of programs for students with intellectual disabilities.”

The amount of aid VIP students can receive from grant and work-study programs will vary based on their financial profiles. 

VIP is a post-secondary program focusing on academics, independent living, social skills development, and vocational exploration and training.  About 60 students are enrolled and live in apartments at NYIT’s Central Islip site. 

Vanbergeijk said the approval signals a new perspective on students with intellectual disabilities.  Prior to the change, he said “the doors have been closed to higher education for people with intellectual disabilities” because only students in a full-time degree program were eligible for various forms of federal student aid.  The VIP students are enrolled full time but they do not earn a degree, although some take courses at NYIT’s Old Westbury or Manhattan campuses.

“It means that they have access to higher education, which gives them a better chance of getting hired and being employed,” Vanbergeijk said.


About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 89,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit
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