Tuition Exemption for Blind or Deaf Students

Program Purpose

Help enable students who are blind or deaf to attend public colleges or universities in the state of Texas.

NOTE:This webpage is intended to provide basic information for the public by highlighting requirements that appear in the Texas Education Code (TEC) and Texas Administrative Code (TAC). When reviewing eligibility requirements this exemption program, you should always refer to the relevant statutes and rules. The information on this webpage is to be used solely as a resource and does not override the statute or rules for this exemption program. It is not intended as, and does not constitute, legal advice.

Eligibility Requirements

Texas residents with a vision-related disability (e.g., blindness, significant visual impairment) are determined eligible by Vocational Rehabilitation Services Offices through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Students must contact their local TWC office to apply.

Texas residents with a hearing disability who meet certain criteria are determined eligible by Texas Health and Human Services (HHS). To apply, students must submit the Application for Certificate of Deafness for Tuition Waiver (Form 3900) to HHS.
After eligibility is established, HHS will issue the student a certification of eligibility letter that he or she must provide to the institution’s registrar.

Eligible students:

  • Are not required to demonstrate financial need.
  • Must be registered with Selective Service or be exempt.
  • Who meet the enrollment eligibility requirements can receive the exemption while attempting any program of study offered at an eligible institution (i.e., undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree).
  • Can continue to receive the exemption in subsequent semesters or terms only if the student is meeting the institution’s grade point average (GPA) requirement for financial aid.
  • May not continue to receive the exemption while enrolled in undergraduate hours considered to be excessive. (TEC, Section 54.014)

Eligible Institutions

All Texas public colleges and universities are required to participate in this program.

Award Amount

  • Exemption from tuition is only for courses in which the institution receives formula funding (i.e., a course that does not depend solely on student tuition and fees to cover its costs).
  • The student may be awarded tuition and all fees authorized by TEC, Chapter 54 (such as lab fees) for any eligible course attempted.

Application Process

  • Enroll and be admitted at an eligible institution in Texas.
  • Registrar verifies enrollment eligibility and collects all required documentation, which includes:

    • Student’s written statement of purpose that indicates the certificate or degree program to be pursued or the professional enhancement from the course of study for that certificate or degree program;
    • Student’s high school diploma or its equivalent;
    • Letter of recommendation from the high school principal of the student who is blind or deaf, or from a public official, or from some other responsible person who knows the student who is blind or deaf and is willing to serve as a reference; and
    • Certification for:

      • Vision-Related Disability; OR
      • Hearing Disability
  • Institution verifies each year that the student remains eligible. (Student does not have to reapply for the exemption each year.)

Additional Information

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