Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How are students funded for the program?
VIP students receive funds from a variety of different sources. Approximately 25 percent of the students are funded through either IEP transition plans, which are paid through local school districts or by state offices of disability. Many families take out continuing education loans to pay for the program’s expenses. Most families pay for the tuition out of pocket. Occasionally, some scholarship monies become available, but this is based upon donations, which can vary from year to year.

What are the backgrounds of your staff?
The philosophy of VIP is that no one profession can assist students with special needs, so we have incorporated a multidisciplinary approach for the program. Consequently, our staff members have degrees in fields such as education, special education, instructional technology, English, counseling, school counseling, social work, psychology, nursing, anthropology, and human relations, to name a few. Most have master’s degrees in their fields or are in the process of obtaining a master’s degree.

What is the ratio of students to staff?
It is approximately two students for every one staff member, including our residential staff.

What are the resident advisors’ backgrounds and training?
The resident advisors are NYIT undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students who are earning degrees in a variety of fields such as medicine, physical therapy, culinary arts, engineering, etc. They have been trained to deal with young adults with special needs, including courses in: working with students with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders; basic counseling skills; crisis management; community development and social programming; CPR; first aid; and the use of automatic external defibrillator devices.

What is the supervision like in the residence halls?
We are a college-based vocational and independent living skills program. Consequently, the supervision is similar to that of any college residence hall. Our resident advisors are on duty from 5 to 11 p.m. in the resident advisor office during the week days, and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. During the week, our director of residential life and medical director are in the building to provide supervision. There are two head resident advisors, 9 resident advisors, a director of residential life, and a medical director in the residence halls.

What security precautions can I expect?
NYIT provides 24-hour security officers seven days a week, 365 days a year. Each dormitory has swipe card access, which means only VIP students are able to access the doors. Each student has his or her own room key.

What vocational areas are offered?
VIP offers vocational training in six areas: childcare; elder care; clerical/computer skills; food service; retail; and hotel hospitality. VIP also works with the Board of Cooperative Education Services, where students can earn certificates in fields such as Cisco Systems, small animal care, carpentry, cosmetology, etc.

Will I have a roommate?
Generally, freshmen and sophomores do not have roommates. However, by their junior year, many students request to have a roommate. Most of our graduates do not live alone after they leave VIP but live with a roommate. The junior year provides students with the opportunity to learn to live with another person and vet a potential future roommate. Approximately 100 graduates live near the Central Islip site.

What kinds of recreational activities are there for the students?
On campus, there is a Student Activities Center, which houses a gymnasium, two fitness rooms, a game room, bowling alley and a swimming pool. In the basement of our dorm, we have two fitness rooms featuring Nautilus™ and StarTrack™ fitness equipment. There are a number of television lounges in the residence halls, and we have pool, ping pong, and air hockey tables. During the week our students may take advantage of our nine-hole golf course for free. There are also volleyball and tennis courts as well as softball and soccer fields. Weekends include regularly scheduled trips to local attractions such as shopping malls, movies, restaurants, and NYIT sporting events. Each resident advisor sponsors two recreational/educational events per semester. On Fridays, leisure electives are run by the staff and include golf, walking club, movies, War Hammer™ or Dungeons and Dragons™, art , karaoke, sports, and swimming. Offerings vary each semester depending upon student interest. On Friday nights, the students congregate in our coffee house for live bands, games and karaoke. On Saturday nights there are scheduled runs to the local movie theaters. We also offer trips to New York City to visit museums, and to attend Broadway plays and professional sporting events. Travel opportunities during vacations have included Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, California, Florida, Italy, Spain, France, England, and Ireland. These annual trips are chaperoned by VIP staff.

Will I receive tuition statements?
As of February 2009 NYIT instituted e-billing and will no longer issue paper statements. Students can access their e-bills through the Student Portal of NYIT Connect. In NYIT Connect students may designate access to their billing statements for parents or guardians.

Is tuition insurance available? Can I opt out of the tuition insurance?
Given the substantial financial commitment that students and their families make to pay for an NYIT VIP education, it is increasingly important to protect your investment. Of particular concern are students who, due to illness or accident, may require to withdraw from classes and leave school during a semester. New York Institute of Technology's Tuition Refund Plan offered by A.W.G. Dewar, Inc. is an elective insurance plan that provides coverage for tuition as well as NYIT housing (room and board costs if applicable) if a medical or mental health withdrawal occurs.

While NYIT provides partial refunds for withdrawals, these refunds are limited and effective only when the student withdraws early in a term. The Tuition Refund Plan significantly extends and enhances NYIT's published withdrawal policy. If a student withdraws because of injury/sickness or mental health reasons, the Tuition Refund Plan returns 100% or 60% of the insured term tuition/fees and NYIT housing costs and meal plans where applicable, less any refund or credit due you from the college when plan conditions are followed. This coverage does not apply if the student drops classes without completely withdrawing.

Students are enrolled in the insurance when they register for the Fall and Spring terms. Students who are enrolled by NYIT and who wish to opt out of this plan must email the Office of the Bursar at from their NYIT issued email account no later than midnight the day prior to the start of the Fall or Spring term. For more information, call 516.686.7510.

Can I opt of the NYIT medical insurance?
Yes, Check with your insurance provider to determine if your private insurance or  the NYIT student medical insurance is preferable. If you choose to opt out of the NYIT medical insurance, you must provide proof of medical insurance for your student. You must physically opt out of the NYIT medical insurance on a yearly basis by September 30th of each year. For more information on what is provided in Plan 2, visit the Aetna Student Health Web site at, click on "Find your school" and type in NYIT. The cost of the health insurance policy will continue to be automatically charged to students’ bursar accounts. However, once a waiver has been submitted and accepted, the health insurance fee will be credited to your account. Click here to complete the waiver. The waiver application will be accessible for new students at the start of each semester. Please take note of any applicable deadlines. Please note that you will need your student identification number to complete the waiver application. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Alice Heron-Burke, M.A., LMHC, Director of Counseling and Wellness Services at or call 516-686-7683.

How do I find out what activites are available?
A monthly activities calendar is posted on the VIP website as well as in the dormitory.

What is Degree Prep and how do I qualify for it? 

Degree Prep is a program for our more academically suited students. The students, who take credit-bearing classes at New York Institute of Technology’s Old Westbury campus, may select any courses from the NYIT undergraduate catalog. VIP provides transportation to Old Westbury and additional academic support. There are a number of ways students qualify for Degree Prep:

  • If the applicant scores an 18 on the ACT or an 850 on the combined verbal and mathematical reasoning subsections of the SAT.
  • If an applicant provides us with a copy of a college transcript that demonstrates successful completion of credit-bearing courses.
  • During our placement process we assess the student’s ability to advocate for ADA accommodations and writing level. If the student is able to articulate his or her need for reasonable accommodations and can write at a college level.
  • After being a part of VIP for a length of time, if the faculty feels a student is not sufficiently challenged, the faculty will recommend placement into Degree Prep.