RSA Application Directions

The major purpose of RSA academic scholarship awards is to increase the supply of rehabilitation personnel available for employment as rehabilitation counselors in public and private nonprofit agencies involved in the vocational rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities, especially those with the most severe disabilities. These scholarships are made available through a federal grant from Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), United States Department of Education. In keeping with the priorities established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Vocational Rehabilitation Graduate Program with a concentration in rehabilitation counseling, is designed to provide the student competencies in the rehabilitation of adults with severe physical, mental or emotional disabilities and to provide a special relevance to state vocational rehabilitation services and closely related cooperating private agencies and programs.

Scholarships are available to graduate students enrolled in the rehabilitation counseling concentration of the Vocational Rehabilitation Master's degree program. Awards are based upon an appropriate match of a person's career objectives in relation to the purpose of the scholarship program. Potential for graduate work as indicated by educational background, work experience, and references is also used in selecting scholarship recipients. In order to qualify for the portion reserved for financial need, the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA) must be completed and the analysis sent to UW-Stout's Financial Aid Office. (More information found at: Persons with disabilities, the elderly, women and members of racial or ethnic minority groups will be given priority, and are encouraged to apply for the RSA scholarships.  Persons receiving a scholarship:

  • must document certain United States residency or citizenship status;
  • must state an interest in a career in the vocational rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities;
  • must agree to the employment obligation described in the application;
  • must not be concurrently receiving any other federal, state or local public or voluntary agency educational allowance when that allowance is conditional on a conflicting employment obligation;
  • must not be in default on a debt to the federal government under a non-procurement transaction;
  • must not be declared by a judge (under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988) ineligible to receive federal assistance;
  • must be a full-time graduate student at UW-Stout;
  • must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or above;
  • must maintain satisfactory progress toward completing the degree requirements (see Graduate Bulletin for details); and
  • must meet program retention policies.

A scholarship recipient must be enrolled as a full-time (or equivalent) student. The normal length of time for which the RSA Scholarships is awarded is two years for on-campus students (where nine credits per semester is considered full-time)  and three years for online students (where six credits a semester is the equivalent of full-time enrollment). Length of scholarship award varies dependent on the years remaining in our training grant cycle.

All awards are contingent upon receipt of an annual award of an RSA Long-Term Training Grant.  Should a grant award be received by UW-Stout, award levels for individual RSA Scholarships are dependent on the number of qualified applicants, the need demonstrated by these applicants, and the level of funding.  Full scholarships would provide annual payment of a monthly stipend for ten months (no payments in January or August). Because of an extensive number of qualified applicants and limited financial support, partial scholarships may be awarded at times.

The following information outlines the terms and conditions of your employment obligation if you should receive an RSA scholarship. 

A.   Employment Obligation

  1. The scholar will obtain and maintain employment -- in a state rehabilitation agency or in a nonprofit rehabilitation agency or related agency, including a professional corporation or professional practice group through which the individual has a service arrangement with the designated state rehabilitation agency -- on a full or part-time basis for a period of not less than the full-time equivalent of two years for each year for which a scholarship is received.  The work requirement for portions of an academic year are prorated.

  2. After completion of the training for which the scholarship is awarded, the employment obligation must be met within a period of not more than the sum of the number of years in the period described in item one and two additional years.  If the degree is not completed, the student is considered to be in repayment status.

  3. The employment obligation as applied to a part-time scholar is based on the accumulated academic years of training for which the scholarship is received.

  4. Until the scholar has been notified that s/he has satisfied the employment obligation described in item one, or has entered repayment status, the scholar will inform the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Department of Rehabilitation and Counseling, of any change of name, address, or employment status and will document employment satisfying the terms of the agreement.

  5. Subject to the provisions regarding deferral or repayment exception, when the scholar enters repayment status, the amount of the scholarship that has not been retired through eligible employment will constitute a debt owed the United States that -
    1. will be repaid by the scholar, including interest and costs of collection; and
    2. may be collected by the Secretary of Education by any means permitted in federal law for the collection of debts, in the case of the scholar's failure to meet the obligation.

B.    Deferral/Repayment Exception

Deferral or repayment exception to the above may be granted, in whole or part, by the Secretary of the Department of Education as follows:

  1. Repayment is not required if the scholar:
    1. is unable to continue the course of study or perform the work obligation because of an impairment that is expected to continue indefinitely or result in death; or
    2. has died.
  1. Repayment of a scholarship may be deferred during the time the scholar is -
    1. engaging in a full-time course of study at an institution of higher education;
    2. serving, not in excess of three years, on active duty as a member of the armed    services of the United States;
    3. serving as a volunteer under the Peace Corps Act;
    4. serving as a full-time volunteer under Title I of the Domestic Volunteer ServiceAct of 1973;
    5. temporarily totally disabled, for a period not to exceed three years; or 
    6. unable to secure employment as required by the agreement by reason of the are provided to a disabled spouse for a period not to exceed twelve months.
  1. Written application must be made to the Commissioner of the RSA, U.S. Department of Education, 550 – 12th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-2800 to request a deferral or exception to performance or repayment of a scholarship. Documentation must be provided to substantiate the grounds for deferral or exception.

C.    Failure to Meet Obligation

In the event of failure to meet the terms and conditions of a scholarship agreement or to obtain a deferral or exception, the scholar shall repay all or part of the scholarship.

  1. Amount: The amount of scholarship to be repaid is proportional to the employment obligation not completed.

  2. Interest Rate: The Secretary of Education charges the scholar interest on the unpaid balance owed in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3717.

  3. Interest Accrual:
    1. Interest on the unpaid balance accrues from the date the scholar is determined to have entered repayment status.
    2. Any accrued interest is capitalized at the time the scholar's repayment schedule is established.
    3. No  interest  is charged  for  the  period  of time during which repayment has beendeferred.
    4. Collection Costs:  The Secretary of Education may impose reasonable collection costs.

  4. Repayment Status:  A scholar enters repayment status on the first day of the first calendar month after the earliest of the following dates, as applicable:
    1. The date the scholar informs the Commissioner of RSA he or she does not plan to fulfill the employment obligation under the agreement.
    2. Any date when the scholar's failure to begin or maintain employment makes it  impossible for that  individual to complete the employment obligation within the number of years required.

  5. Amounts and Frequency of Payment:  The scholar shall make payments to the Secretary of Education that cover principal, interest, and collection costs according to a schedule established by the Secretary.

D.   Agreement is Subject to Change

Policies, regulations and procedures established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Department of Education, governing the scholarship, take precedence. The University of Wisconsin-Stout is not responsible to provide scholarships to students should this Federal funding be withdrawn.