.12 Training in Institutions of Higher Education.

A. An eligible individual who requests financial assistance for training and related services in institutions of higher education shall submit an annual financial aid application to the U.S. Department of Education, Student Financial Assistance Programs, and provide the rehabilitation counselor a copy of the resulting Student Aid Report, as a condition for the provision of those services.

B. An exception to this requirement will be considered in the following circumstances:

(1) The individual is seeking admittance to an institution not participating in the federal student financial aid process; or

(2) The individual is enrolling for non-degree courses, that is, selected courses that are not part of a degree program.

C. Division financial assistance for post-secondary education for individuals ineligible for federal financial aid because of previous loan default or history of drug conviction requires the approval of the Director or designee.

D. Division's Financial Assistance. The amount of financial assistance to be provided to the eligible individual by the Division shall be equal to:

(1) The individual's educational expenses, determined in accordance with §E of this regulation;

(2) Minus the amount of grants and scholarships not including scholarships based on merit, awarded to the individual to attend the institution of higher education;

(3) Minus the individual/family financial participation in accordance with Regulation .10 of this chapter.

E. Educational Expenses.

(1) The Division shall determine the eligible individual's educational expenses based on the cost of:

(a) Training services, including tuition, mandatory fees, books, and supplies;

(b) Training-related expenses that are necessitated by attending an institution of higher education, such as the cost of commuting to and from the institution, but only to the extent that these costs exceed the individual's normal living expenses;

(c) Room and board, only if:

(i) The individual resides 45 miles or more from the institution of higher education and a comparable educational program is not available within 45 miles or disability issues require residence at the institution;

(ii) The individual does not receive comparable benefits according to Regulation .09 of this chapter for living expenses; and

(iii) The Director or designee approves; and

(d) Other related expenses with the approval of the Director or designee.

(2) The cost of tuition and fees for the first 60 credits of a post-secondary program or in pursuit of a certificate or associate's degree may not exceed the rate of Montgomery (Community) College unless:

(a) Disability issues or cost efficiency requires participation in a 4-year institution of post-secondary education for the first 60 credits; and

(b) The Director or designee approves.

(3) The cost of tuition, fees, room, and board beyond 60 credits in pursuit of a bachelor's degree or unless an exception has been granted in accordance with §D(2)(a) of this regulation, may not exceed the in-State rates established for the University of Maryland at College Park. Exceptions may be based on disability factors and cost efficiency and require approval of the Director.

(4) Additional costs related to the individual's choice to attend an out-of-State or private institution are the responsibility of the individual and may not be included as educational expenses.

F. Satisfactory Academic Progress.

(1) To be eligible for the continuation of the Division's financial assistance at an institution of higher education, an eligible individual shall:

(a) Earn credit on a minimum of 75 percent of all credits for which the individual registered each semester or grading period;

(b) Maintain a minimum average grade of "C" or its equivalent on all credits completed each semester or grading period; and

(c) Maintain eligibility for financial aid in accordance with the institution of higher education's written criteria for satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate.

(2) An eligible individual shall meet the requirements set forth in §F(1) of this regulation on a minimum of six credits at an institution of higher education before being reconsidered for financial assistance by the Division if the individual:

(a) Was dismissed by an institution of higher education; or

(b) Stopped attending an institution of higher education due to the individual's failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the institution of higher education's academic requirements, or financial aid eligibility criteria.

G. The individual may not change the course of studies or major agreed on in the individualized plan for employment without prior approval of the Division.

H. Graduate Education. The Division will provide financial assistance for graduate education:

(1) Only when it is determined to be necessary and essential to the achievement of the employment goal on the approved individualized plan for employment; and

(2) With the approval of the Director or designee.