Millicent Nicole Huser Shares With Us…
Millicent Nicole Huser
College is a goal for many, so it is “on the radar” early on in their lives. They prepare for it by taking certain classes, joining certain clubs, and honing their college applications. While the students are doing these things, parents are making financial plans to accommodate these college goals as well.
But what if your young adult has special needs?
That changes the entire landscape. To better understand the journey to college for a special needs young adult, we talked with Millicent Nicole Huser. She is a mom to a young adult who found herself in the familiar position of wondering what her daughter’s future would hold after high school. She explains, “I just assumed my daughter would do the high school until 21. She would, you know, go into the work-force under job coaching. And that would be it.” That is, until she learned about college programs for people with disabilities.
And so began her journey for college for her daughter.
The thing that makes this journey so unique is that even if the mom found out about the option of college by sheer, good luck, she was actually honoring her daughter’s wishes for her life. The life her mom wants her to live to the fullest. “She always had this thing where she wanted to do things with kids. Like she kept saying, I want to go to college….And she could verbalize these things. I was like, well, I want her to have a fully self-expressed life. I want her to have everything life has to offer.”
Suffice it to say the work involved in this process was a lot. There were deadlines to meet, records to find, send, and keep. There were days she allotted solely to the focus of college for her daughter.
But how to fund this became a big question to answer. “So, then I saw the price tags and I started asking questions. I started getting more information about funding sources, like VOC rehab.” She also asked financial questions of any program they were considering.
Her college journey continues for her daughter, but she offers some advice to others:
Talk about college with your child early and often. Find what your child’s goals and interests are, and work towards them together. Start thinking about funding or saving and start researching funding options early. Help your young adult understand what college is and isn’t- so that they’re not walking into this with an unreasonable expectation.
Research college programs early and well- Deadlines can be a big issue. Look at funding options. VOC Rehab is recommended as a place to start, ask financial questions of the program you are considering.
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This post originally appeared on our September/October 2021 Magazine