Students who meet certain criteria can apply to have their tuition waived at state-supported, post-secondary schools in Texas. It is called the Certification of Deafness Tuition Waiver (CODTW) program.

Applicants must prove:

  • an unaided average hearing loss in the better ear of 55 decibels (dB) or greater, using 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz, as verified by a licensed audiologist or licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments;
  • an aided average hearing loss of 30 dB or greater, using 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz, as verified by a licensed audiologist or licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments; or
  • speech discrimination of less than 50 percent as verified by a licensed audiologist or a licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments.

Who is Eligible?

Applicants must be at least 17 years old, or if younger than 17, provide proof of being a senior in high school or of having been awarded a high-school diploma or its equivalent.

What Costs are Waived?

The waiver is for tuition and tuition-based fees at any institution of higher education that uses public funds. It does not cover room, board or books.

How do I Apply for the Program?

Complete Form DARS3900 Certificate of Deafness for Tuition Waiver Program and submit it per the instructions.

FAQs

If I am moving to Texas from another state, can I be eligible for the program?

Residency for HHS programs and services begins when you move to Texas with the intention of staying. However, to use the CODTW you must meet the residency requirements for the institution of higher education in which you intend to enroll. Those requirements can be found in the Texas Education Code 54.052.

Does the tuition waiver cover expenses other than tuition?

The tuition waiver covers only tuition and tuition-based fees. If the amount of the fee is determined by the amount of your tuition (or how many hours/credits you are taking), then that fee should be covered by the waiver. The waiver never covers books, supplies or the cost of any needed accommodations.

Can my old audiogram be used for the tuition waiver application?

As long as the audiogram reflects your current hearing status, there is no time limit on when the test was done.

If I meet the criterion in Part II of the tuition waiver, do I need to complete Part III and/or Part IV?

No. Parts III and IV are alternate criteria to establish eligibility when the regular criterion is not met.

Do I need to submit a new certificate to my college/university each semester?

No, the enabling statute states your certificate is good for the entirety of your program. The only time a college/university may ask for another certificate is if you change your major or focus of study.

I only have a copy of my certificate and the college/university wants an original. What do I do?

If the college/university wants an HHS-issued document, and you no longer have one, you can request one from the agency by emailing dhhs.mailbox@dars.state.tx.us. However, the date of the certificate will be the date you were originally deemed eligible for the program, not the date you requested another copy. You will need to let the agency know your current address when you request the duplicate.

Can I use my tuition waiver for dual credit classes, such as taking a college level class for both high school and college credit?

No, the enabling statute requires a high school diploma or equivalent, so the CODTW cannot be applied to earning high school credits.

Will my CODTW cover the cost of taking a continuing education (CE) or online course?

The answer to this question depends on how the continuing education or online course you wish to take is funded at the college or university. If it is funded solely by the local tax base and course income, the answer is no. If the department receives formula or contact hour funding for that course, then the CODTW is applicable, the answer is yes. You will need to check with the college/university department and ask how that course is funded to determine CODTW applicability.

Is there a time when my CODTW may not be accepted at a Texas public college or university?

Yes, there are a few programs/courses of study around the state within a Texas public college or university that may not receive formula funding or contact hour funding. Because these specially funded courses do not receive any funding from the state, the state cannot extend the waiver program to them.

Is there a limit to the educational level I can achieve using my Certificate?

There is no limit. Students who qualify can enroll for studies up to and including the post-graduate level, as long as enrollment is at a state-supported college or university.

Do I need to re-apply for a certificate after a certain timeframe?

No, your certificate does not expire.

I have legally changed my name. How can I get a new CODTW with my new name?

According to DARS/DHHS policy, to request a name change:

Submit the request either by mail or by fax to:

DHHS
P.O. Box 12904
Austin, Texas 78711

Include one of the following as proof of the name change:

  • marriage certificate,
  • divorce decree, or
  • legal name change document.

Where can I send other questions?

Other questions about this program should be directed to dhhs.mailbox@dars.state.tx.us.

What laws address the Tuition Waiver?