Prospective TOPS Students

TOPS recruits year-round. Individuals who are interested in attending the TOPS program must meet admission criteria, complete an application and submit requested documentation, and interview with the screening committee.

Admission Criteria

The goal of the admission criteria is to identify potential TOPS participants who are interested in lifelong learning and will benefit from experiences gained at The Ohio State University. Our desire is to ensure that both the personal characteristics of each participant and the characteristics of our unique university are a good match.

The aforementioned prerequisite criteria are as follows:

  1. Student is a high school graduate age 18 or over with an intellectual or developmental disability (has achieved traditional diploma or certificate of completion).
  2. Student is able to benefit from the curricula to improve academic, employment, social and independent living outcomes.
  3. Student demonstrates functional communication skills (independent or with the use of assistive technology).
  4. Student demonstrates a desire to continue learning at the postsecondary level.
  5. Student demonstrates good attendance and punctuality, as evidenced by high school transcripts or past work experiences.
  6. Student demonstrates functional academic skills in all areas.
  7. Student demonstrates the motivation to become a self-determined adult who engages in recreational activities, sports, organizations, hobbies, and/or volunteer or paid work experiences.
  8. Student demonstrates independent self-help skills.
  9. Student demonstrates the ability to maintain appropriate behavior in a variety of settings.
  10. Student demonstrates the ability to accept feedback and direction from others and modify performance accordingly.
  11. Student demonstrates independent travel skills and a willingness to learn new modes of transportation.
  12. Student passes criminal background check and drug test for employment.
  13. Student demonstrates a desire to work competitively in the community at the conclusion of the program.
  14. Student agrees in writing to abide by all university and program rules.

Application Process

The application process consists of 3 phases:

  1. Application, including submission of supporting documents and a $60 non-refundable application fee
  2. Document Review
  3. Selection and Enrollment, in which the student and his/her family are offered an interview with the Selection Committee, consisting of the TOPS Program Manager, designee from Office of Disability Services (ODS) and members an interdisciplinary team. Decisions will be made shortly after the interview.

Please download and review the latest TOPS Application for more detailed information. Application for the summer COTA orientation is made available separately. The COTA application is only needed for students not applying to the TOPS Program.

Feel free to contact the Transition Office if you have any questions.

Program Fees

Currently, TOPS Program fees are $11,022 for the 2017-2018 School Year. Tuition and other Ohio State University fees are in addition to the TOPS program fees. Please contact the Transition Office for more information.

Paying for TOPS

Current TOPS students and families have the following financial options:

  1. Private Pay
  2. TOPS Scholarship – a competitive funding source available to incoming students and current students. Students must achieve a passing grade and/or Satisfactory rating in all of their classes in order to receive continued funding – a more comprehensive Satisfactory Academic Progress policy is forthcoming.
  3. Federal Student Financial Aid, which can be applied through FAFSA. Students in TOPS Program may be found eligible for PELL Grants and federal work study.
  4. 529 Education Savings Plans – contact your 529 counselor for more information.
  5. Outside scholarship awards

You may also be interested in the following information:

Transition Services

257 McCampbell Hall
1581 Dodd Drive
Columbus, OH 43210

(T) 614-685-3185
(F) 614-366-6373

Program Director/Principal Investigator: Margaretha Izzo, Ph.D.