Finding the Funding to Meet Obligations

Wheelchair lift in a chartered bus overseas
Ensuring that funds are available for disability-related accommodations is a good practice to stick to in your international exchange program.

Add a disability accommodation line item.

Consider a line item of 1% to 5% of the program’s budget. Unused funds can be incorporated into other line items or put towards making programs more accessible.

Collaborate with disability offices or agencies.

Many people are already using accommodations or facilities on campus or in communities. Work with the disability services office or agency to provide funds at least equivalent to the cost of on-campus or community accommodations.

Tap other sources of funding.

People with disabilities may be using funds from vocational rehabilitation or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or equivalent programs outside the U.S. Sometimes these funds can be used towards program fees or accommodations overseas. The University of Missouri worked with vocational rehabilitation to help fund sign language interpreter costs for a participant as well as to fund part of the cost of the study abroad program itself.

Offer a disability-related scholarship or grant.

Such scholarships could be used towards international exchange programs and would also encourage people with disabilities to disclose and apply. People with disabilities should also be encouraged to apply for diversity-related scholarships or grants.

Agree with partners in advance about how disability-related costs will be funded.

Strengthen your language and communicate clear expectations for how disability-related accomodations will be funded and shared in all your written agreements with providers and partners. Address the question of who pays in advance and let all stakeholders know they can expect participants with disabilities in the future.