Prospective TOPS Students

TOPS recruits during September-February 1 annually. Individuals who are interested in attending the TOPS program must meet admission criteria, complete an application submit requested documentation. Students meeting admission requirements will have an interview with the screening committee. All students admitted will need to attend the 6-day overnight orientation in June and will begin in the fall semester.

Our Information Session Dates are listed below:  2020-2021 Information Sessions

Application Due Date:

November 1st – Early Action:

  • We must receive your complete application (by that we mean your admission application and all required materials) by midnight (EST) on November 1 if you wish to be considered for Early Action. By meeting the early action deadline, you’ll get an admission decision no later than mid-January. If all admission requirements are not met, decisions could be deferred. Deferred decisions will be made in February.

February 1st – Regular Decision:

  • February 1 by midnight (EST) is the final date by which we must receive your complete application. You’ll get an admission decision by the end of March.

Applications received after the February 1st up until May 31st will be reviewed based upon availability of space in the program. Applications received after May 31st will be saved for the following application year.

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, and has the accountability to be on campus five days per week.
  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 while independent on campus.
  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 2 phases:

  1. Document Review, Application materials are reviewed.
  2. Selection and Enrollment, in which the student and his/her family are offered an interview with the Selection Committee. Decisions will be made shortly after the interview.

Please download and review the latest TOPS Application for more detailed information.

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

Program Fees

There are two parts to the student fees. All students are assessed a TOPS program fee and also pay university tuition and fees for four credit hours (per semester). For non-Ohio residents there is an additional fee per semester.

Currently, TOPS Program fees for the 2020-2021 School Year:

  • TOPS Program Fee: $5,511.20 (per semester)

Please contact the Transition Office for more information.

Paying for TOPS

Current TOPS students and families have the following financial options:

  1. 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.
  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.
  3. Outside scholarship awards
  4. Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), administered by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the OCOG is grant money provided to Ohio residents who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need (as determined by FAFSA application) and are enrolled at Ohio public colleges or universities, Ohio private, non-profit colleges or universities, and Ohio private, for-profit institutions. To be eligible, the Ohio resident must be enrolled in an associate’s degree, first bachelor’s degree, nurse diploma program, or a comprehensive transition and postsecondary program. For more information, visit:
  5. 529 Education Savings Plans, contact your 529 counselor for more information.
  6. Private Pay

You may also be interested in the following information:

TOPS Thank You Video (2020) 

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.