Q: How much does it cost for students to attend RI School for the Deaf?

A: The RI Legislature recognized in 1891 that deaf children required a strong educational opportunity where they could achieve and where the full curriculum is accessible through American Sign Language and English. Because of their foresight and wisdom, RI School for the Deaf is state-funded and offers deaf and hard of hearing students an appropriate educational experience at no cost to families.

The Core Program for any deaf or hard of hearing student is free to sending school districts.  There is a tiered structure of costs for any additional educational, counseling, or nursing services that a student may require in addition to the Core Program.  Those additional costs are determined in direct correlation to the needs described in the child’s IEP.

Out-of-State students from nearby Massachusetts and/or Connecticut pay tuition.

Q: Where does funding for these programs and services come from?

A: Approximately 99% of school funding is provided by the State of Rhode Island.  An additional 1% is provided by the federally funded program entitled Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).   Costs identified in the student’s IEP that are beyond the core educational program are paid by the child’s sending school district.

Q: Where can I read about this legal provision?

A: Rhode Island General Education Laws; Title 16-26

Q: What if my child has not yet learned American Sign Language?

A: We accept many students who have not had this opportunity prior to entering RISDeaf.  Because ASL is a visual-spatial language, students who have varying hearing levels find it to be a highly efficient and logical language. Students learn it quickly, and we frequently see rapid academic improvement as students find ease in expressing their needs and asking deeper questions.

Q: What about spoken language development?

A: Spoken language is an important and critical skill for many students. Research clearly shows that children benefit greatly by being bilingual and biliterate. We believe that deaf and hard of hearing students should have all the tools available in their language and learning  “tool box.”  RISDeaf employs licensed speech & language therapists and ASL Specialists to ensure that both languages develop distinctly and effectively.

Q: Who transports my child to school?

A: Your school district will arrange door-to-door transportation on a school bus or school van. Your child may travel on the bus with other students who are coming to the same general area.

Q: What if my child needs to picked up early to come home due to illness or needs come to school later after a medical appointment?

A: Out-of-the-ordinary dismissals or late arrivals for personal reasons are  the parent/ guardian’s responsibility.