The Federal Government has approved the Project Forward program at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) as Massachusetts’ first “Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP),” making the College the first to offer financial aid to eligible students with intellectual disabilities.
Project Forward, now in its thirtieth year of operation at Cape Cod Community College, provides students with disabilities the opportunity to gain and maintain vocational skills, key to independent living and long-term success. As an approved CTP College, students in Project Forward are now eligible to apply for Federal Pell Grant dollars via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process.
“This is a landmark moment for our College, community, and the entire Project Forward program,” said John Cox, President of Cape Cod Community College. “For three decades, Project Forward at 4Cs has set the standard for vocational and educational opportunities for students with intellectual challenges, and our students and graduates have thrived. Through Federal support, the cost is reduced and access is increased for those eligible for Financial Aid. Even more students can benefit from Project Forward.”
Project Forward gives their students hands-on experience in multiple different fields, including Animal Care, Hospitality, Health Care Assisting, Food and Retail, and Mass Communications. With a dedication to helping those with intellectual disabilities thrive in their everyday lives, the program has an employment rate of more than 85 percent for graduates. This past May, Project Forward graduated more than 60 students from the program, with nationally recognized journalist Paula Zahn in attendance to serve as guest speaker and to celebrate the graduation of her son.
“Project Forward at Cape Cod Community College is known across New England as the leader in supporting these students in need,” said Heather Bish, Director of Project Forward. “Our students are just like every other student at the College: they work hard, they are dedicated, and they have their sights set on the future. As the State’s first recognized Comprehensive Transition Program, we are thrilled that, like every other student, they now have the opportunity to take advantage of Financial Aid. It’s going to open doors to so many more families.”
The maximum Pell Award for a full-time enrolled college student for 2019-20 is $6,195. The cost of enrolling full-time in Project Forward is $4,520, or $2,260 per semester. This means a Project Forward student who is eligible for a full-Pell award at 4Cs receives enough aid to cover the entirety of their tuition in the program.
“Access to higher education is truly the largest road block any prospective college student faces, regardless of intellectual ability,” said Dr. Arlene Rodriguez, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Cape Cod Community College. “For decades, Project Forward students and their families have carried these costs on their own, and have still succeeded. We are honored our program is Massachusetts’ first Comprehensive Transition Program, and we cannot wait to show the world just how talented our Project Forward students really are.”
Project Forward is still accepting applications for the Fall semester and Financial Aid is currently being awarded to eligible students in the program, but seats are limited. Classes begin September 3. To apply or learn more about Project Forward and how to take advantage of Financial Aid, email [email protected] or call 774-330-4763.