RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


OMHSAS Issues Education Plus Project RFP
February 10, 2008

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the Education Plus Project, a supported education program to assist persons with mental illnesses to successfully complete a college degree. One county or county joinder will be selected to implement an Education Plus Program based on a recognized model program operated by Horizon House. The program provides individualized supports to assist participation in the regular college environment, including the use of existing campus resources. Educational specialists offer:

  • personal supports on issues that affect the student’s ability to attend school including family issues, psychiatric and medical problems, housing, and linkages to other services;
  • academic supports including assistance with course selection, study habits and time management, completion of financial aid applications, anxiety around test taking and deadlines for assignments, dealing with faculty, and the use of the Disabilities Office and accommodations on the campus; and
  • campus life issues including forming and maintaining relationships, the facilitation of campus resources, and leisure activities.

Student eligibility criteria include:

  • a documented psychiatric disability which may include a letter from a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist;
  • current enrollment in a post secondary school program;
  • at least 18 years of age;
  • free from substances for the past six months; and
  • a strong desire to obtain a career in a chosen field.

The program will also include:

  • college orientation;
  • identification of financial aid and completion of applications, linkages to employment;
  • completion of college entrance applications; and
  • college preparation, e.g. study habits, time management, and writing skills.

Staff from Horizon House, students, an area college representative, and a University of Pennsylvania consultant will provide the selected county/joinder with a series of onsite trainings and conference calls over one year to establish a program that meets the needs of the local community. Tracking and outcome measures are integral to the program. It is expected that a minimum of 10 students will participate in the program by the end of the one-year period.

All county mental health/mental retardation offices in collaboration with a local community college, colleges, or universities are eligible to apply. OMHSAS and Horizon House will provide training and technical assistance for development of one program in fiscal year 2007/08. For more information review the RFP and application form. Providers who are interested in development of a program in their county should discuss the RFP with their county administrators. Applications must be submitted by March 28 to:

Carol Ward-Colasante
Second Floor, Beechmont Building
PO Box 2675
Harrisburg, PA 17105

Contact Bill Boyer at OMHSAS (717-705-8297 or wboyer@state.pa.us) for more information.

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