The Certificate of Deafness for Tuition Waiver (CODTW) program gives students in Texas a certificate they can use to ask public colleges, universities, and technical schools to waive their tuition fees. To apply for a CODTW, you need to fill out Form 3900 and be at least 17 years old. If you're younger than 17, you must show you're a senior in high school or have a high-school diploma or equivalent. There is no income requirement for the CODTW. Applications are available in both English and Spanish.
You also need to prove:
- an unaided average hearing loss in the better ear of 55 decibels (dB) or more, using 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz, verified by a licensed audiologist or licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments;
- an aided average hearing loss of 30 dB or more, using 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz, verified by a licensed audiologist or licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments; or
- speech discrimination of less than 50 percent, verified by a licensed audiologist or a licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments.
It takes about 30 days to process applications.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) reviews applications and determines eligibility for the CODTW but does not decide if schools will accept the CODTW. The school makes the final decision on whether to accept the CODTW. If you disagree with a school’s decision, follow the school’s chain of command for raising concerns.
You may email questions about the Certificate of Deafness for Tuition Waiver application and eligibility to DHHS Tuition Waivers, or call 512-410-1387.
Schools Waiving Tuition
What costs are waived?
The waiver is for tuition and tuition-based fees at public colleges, universities, and technical schools in Texas that use public funds. It does not cover room and board, books, or supplies.
Which schools waive tuition for students who are deaf?
Public institutions of higher education in Texas that receive state funding, also called formula funding, may waive tuition. Private or for-profit schools are not required to waive tuition. The College for All Texans website has a list of public schools.
Will my CODTW cover the cost of taking a continuing education or online course?
You will need to check with the college or university department to ask how the online or continuing education course is funded. If it is funded only by local taxes and course fees, the CODTW will not cover the cost. If the institution is public and the department receives state funding for that course, also called formula funding, the CODTW will cover the cost.
Can I use my tuition waiver for dual credit classes, such as taking a college-level class for both high school and college credit?
You cannot use the waiver to earn high school credits because state law requires you to have a high school diploma or equivalent to use the waiver.
Why is the school asking for documentation other than the CODTW?
For students in Texas to get their tuition waived, they need to meet several requirements according to the Texas Education Code. These include having:
- a Certificate of Deafness for Tuition Waiver
- a written statement of purpose
- a high school diploma or equivalent
- a letter of recommendation
- proof that the person meets all other entrance requirements of the school
The school should give you detailed instructions on what documents you need to provide.
Are there reasons the school may not waive my tuition?
Always check with the school to understand their specific requirements for waiving tuition and their reasons for not waiving tuition. Below are some reasons why a school may not accept the CODTW:
- Lack of High School Diploma or GED:
- A high school diploma or equivalent is required for the school to waive your tuition.
- Residency or Entry Requirement Issues:
- You must meet the school's residency and other entry requirements for your tuition to be waived.
- Missing Documentation:
- If you do not submit necessary documents to the school with your tuition waiver request, the school might not approve the waiver. They may require a written statement of purpose showing which certificate, degree program, or professional enhancement you are pursuing. They may also require a letter of recommendation from a responsible person who knows you and who can serve as a reference.
- Low Cumulative GPA:
- If your cumulative GPA falls below the minimum required by the school, they may not grant a tuition waiver. Appeals for this can be submitted to the school and are considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Excessive Hours:
- If you have attempted more than the allowable number of hours for your undergraduate degree program, known as "excessive hours," the school may not waive your tuition. You reach excessive hours when you attempt 15 hours beyond the number required for your associate degree or 30 hours beyond the number required for your bachelor’s degree. This is only applicable to undergraduate students, and appeals can be submitted to the school for consideration on a case-by-case basis.
- Non-Formula Funded Program:
- The tuition waiver applies only to programs or courses that receive state funding, called formula funding. If your chosen program or course does not fall into this category, the waiver may not be granted.
Remember, schools may have different policies and criteria, so you are encouraged to communicate directly with the school to understand their specific requirements for tuition waivers.
Is there a minimum or maximum number of hours the CODTW covers?
There is no specific requirement for a minimum or maximum number of hours that students must take per semester. However, if undergraduate students exceed a certain number of hours over the course of their education, their tuition may not be waived. The limits for excessive hours vary based on the type of degree:
- For associate degrees, the limit is 15 hours beyond the number required for their degree or certificate program.
- For bachelor’s degrees, the limit is 30 hours beyond the number required for their degree.
It is important to note that there might be exceptions to this rule, and students can contact their school to find out if their tuition waiver will still be accepted. Appeals can be submitted to the school for consideration on a case-by-case basis.
Is there a limit to the educational level I can achieve using my CODTW?
There is no limit on the level of education. If you qualify, you can use the CODTW for post-secondary education, whether it is for an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees.
Is the school reimbursed for waiving my tuition?
No. The school waives tuition and tuition-based fees, per the Texas Education Code 54.364, and is not reimbursed by any entity.
Where do I send my application?
You can either email or mail the application and audiology documentation to the following addresses:
P.O. Box 12904
Austin, TX 78711
Is a signature required on the application?
Yes. You may use any of these options to sign the application:
How long does it take to process the application?
Please allow 30 days from the date the application arrives at DHHS.
Can my old audiogram be used when applying for a CODTW?
Yes, you can use an older audiogram for the tuition waiver application if the audiogram reflects your current hearing status. There is no specific requirement regarding the age of the audiogram.
Do I need to submit documentation for all eligibility options when applying for a CODTW?
No, you do not have to prove eligibility for all options listed on the tuition waiver application. You must provide audiology documentation to prove you meet at least one of the first three options (A, B, or C). However, if you are applying under Option D, DHHS asks that you first submit audiology documentation to show you do not qualify under Options A, B, or C.
Do I need to reapply for a CODTW after a certain time frame?
Your CODTW does not expire. DHHS keeps records for five years. If you need a CODTW after five years and no longer have a copy, you will need to reapply. Be sure to keep electronic and/or hard copies for future needs.
Do I need to submit a new CODTW to my college or university each semester?
No, your CODTW is valid for the entirety of your program. Schools may ask for another copy of your CODTW if you change your major or focus of study or if you change your name.
How can I get a copy of my CODTW?
If you no longer have a copy of your CODTW, you may send an email request to DHHS Tuition Waivers. DHHS keeps records for five years. If you need a CODTW after five years, you will need to reapply.
I have legally changed my name. How can I get a new CODTW with my new name?
To request a CODTW with your new name, you can either email or mail the request to the following addresses:
P.O. Box 12904
Austin, TX 78711
Include a copy of one of the following as proof of the name change:
- marriage certificate
- divorce decree
- legal name change document
Please keep in mind that DHHS keeps CODTW records for five years. If it has been longer than that since you first applied, your original CODTW would no longer be in the system, and you would need to reapply.
I moved to a different address than what is printed on the CODTW. Do I need to update my address?
If your name did not change, you do not need to update the address.
If I am moving to Texas from another state, can I be eligible for the program?
If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will receive a CODTW. To have your tuition waived by the school, you need to fulfill the residency requirements for the school where you plan to enroll. The specific residency requirements can be found in the Texas Education Code 54.052.