MEMO FROM GVRA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEAN T. CASEY RE: PROPOSED POLICY CHANGE

March 8, 2018

Last month, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) released a proposed policy change impacting clients attending two specialized post-secondary institutions, Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), which serve students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Since the opening of public comments, I have been listening to heartfelt concerns and questions regarding the proposed removal of the exemption from financial means tests for those wishing to attend Gallaudet and NTID. As Executive Director, I am revoking that proposed change effective immediately. This means that all procedures for GVRA clients applying to these institutions remain the same.

When we consider an issue, I always ask two questions. First, how does this affect the client? Second, does this benefit the client? It is my sincere conviction that students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing benefit from access to specialized training via every opportunity possible.  Therefore, I have asked that existing policy 446.1.04 remain intact with no changes.  Additionally, I am a making a commitment that, as long as I have the privilege of serving you in this role, I will do everything in my power to ensure all students who are eligible have access to Gallaudet and NTID with GVRA’s support.  

Public hearings will continue to address a separate and independent topic. However, because the voices of those we serve are the most important voices we hear, all are still welcome to express opinions.  However, I want to make it abundantly clear that every student currently enrolled at these two institutions, plus future applicants, will have the opportunity to pursue their education with no changes to services and tuition assistance GVRA provides.  We also continue to accept public comments at gvs.ga.gov. Thank you to those who have shared your personal stories of education and achievement. Please know we continue to listen and serve with our clients at the forefront of all we do.   

Sean T. Casey, GVRA Executive Director