Tuition Waiver

The Certificate of Deafness for Tuition Waiver (CODTW) program provides a certificate that students can submit to public colleges, universities, and technical schools in Texas as a request to waive their tuition.

Applicants for a CODTW must complete Form 3900 and be at least 17 years old. If the applicant is younger than 17 years old, the applicant must provide proof of being a senior in high school or having a high-school diploma or equivalent. Applicants must prove:

  • an unaided average hearing loss in the better ear of 55 decibels (dB) or greater, using 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz, as verified by a licensed audiologist or licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments;
  • an aided average hearing loss of 30 dB or greater, using 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz, as verified by a licensed audiologist or licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments; or
  • speech discrimination of less than 50 percent as verified by a licensed audiologist or a licensed fitter and dispenser of hearing instruments.

There are no income requirements for the CODTW.

Please allow 30 days for application processing.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Fact Sheet contains guidance about tuition waivers for students.

FAQ

Schools Waiving Tuition

What costs are waived?

The waiver is for tuition and tuition-based fees at any institution of higher education that uses 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. Schools that are private or proprietary are not required to do so. The College for All Texans website has a list of public institutions.

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 and ask how that course is funded. If the continuing education or online course you wish to take is funded solely by the local tax base and course income, the answer is no. If the institution is public and the department receives formula funding for that course, the answer is yes.

Can I use my tuition waiver for dual credit classes, such as taking a college-level class for both high school and college credit?

It cannot be applied to earning high school credits because statute requires the student to have a high school diploma or equivalent to use the waiver.

Why is the school asking for documentation other than the CODTW?

The Texas Education Code requires all of the following for students to be eligible to have their tuition waived:

  • Certificate of Deafness for Tuition Waiver
  • written statement of purpose
  • high school diploma or equivalent
  • letter of recommendation
  • proof that the person meets all other entrance requirements of the school

The school will provide specific instructions on what documentation is needed.

Are there reasons the school may not waive my tuition?

Always check with the college or university about what is needed for your tuition to be waived. However, below are some reasons why a college or university may not waive your tuition:

  • You do not have a high school diploma or GED.
  • You do not meet the residency or other entry requirements set by the school.
  • You do not submit other required documentation with the tuition waiver, such as:
    • a written statement of purpose indicating which certificate, degree program, or professional enhancement is being pursued; and
    • a letter of recommendation from a responsible person who knows the applicant and who can serve as a reference.
  • Your cumulative GPA falls under the minimum required and set by the school. A student’s appeal to the school must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • You have reached “excessive hours,” which is 30 hours beyond the number required for your degree or certificate program. This applies to undergraduate students only, and a student’s appeal to the school must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • The program/course of study does not receive formula funding. The tuition waiver only applies to courses that receive formula funding.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of hours the CODTW covers?

There is no minimum number of hours students are required to take. If undergraduate students reach 30 hours beyond the number required for their degree or certificate program, their tuition will no longer be waived.

Is there a limit to the educational level I can achieve using my CODTW?

There is no limit. Students who qualify can use the CODTW for any level of post-secondary education including undergraduate, graduate, and 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.

Applying

How long does it take to process the application?

Please allow 30 days from the time the application arrives at ODHHS.

Can my old audiogram be used when applying for a CODTW?

Yes, if the audiogram reflects your current hearing status. There is no requirement for when an audiogram must be done.

Do I need to submit documentation for all eligibility options when applying for a CODTW? 

You must provide audiology documentation to confirm you meet at least one (not all) of the first three options (A, B, or C). However, if you are applying under Option D, you must submit audiology documentation to show you are not eligible under Options A, B, or C.

CODTW

Do I need to reapply for a CODTW after a certain time frame?

No, your CODTW does not expire. ODHHS 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 good for the entirety of your program. Colleges or universities may ask for another 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?

Email a request to dhhs.tuitionwaivers@hhs.texas.gov. ODHHS keeps records for five years. If you need a CODTW after five years, you will need to reapply.

I only have a copy of my CODTW, and the college or university wants an original. What do I do?

If the college or university wants an HHS-issued document, and you no longer have one, you can request one from the agency by emailing dhhs.tuitionwaivers@hhs.texas.gov. The date of the CODTW will be the date you were originally determined to be eligible for the program, not the date you requested another copy. ODHHS 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?

Submit the request to one of the following:

Email: dhhs.tuitionwaivers@hhs.texas.gov

Mail:
HHSC ODHHS
P.O. Box 12904
Austin, Texas 78711

Include a copy of one of the following as proof of the name change:

  • marriage certificate,
  • divorce decree, or
  • legal name change document.

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?

You must meet the residency requirements for the institution of higher education in which you intend to enroll for the school to waive your tuition. Those requirements can be found in the Texas Education Code 54.052. Applicants who meet all eligibility criteria will be issued a CODTW.

Other Questions

What laws address the tuition waiver?

The Texas Education Code addresses the tuition waiver:

TEC, Section 54.364 — Blind, Deaf Students
TEC, Section 61.003(8) — Institution of Higher Education
TEC, Section 54.2001 — Continued Receipt of Exemptions or Waivers
TEC, Section 54.014 — Tuition for Repeated or Excessive Undergraduate Hours

Where can I send other questions?

  • Email questions about the Certificate of Deafness for Tuition Waiver application and eligibility to dhhs.tuitionwaivers@hhs.texas.gov, or call 512-438-4880.
  • For questions about schools waiving tuition, visit the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Contact Us webpage. Select “Financial Aid Question” as the Contact Reason.