Navigating Grades, Graduation, Financial Aid, the Praxis, and Employment During COVID-19

Thanks to everyone who joined the NSSLHA Live Chat, COVID-19: Certification and Accreditation Q&A for Students in April. There were some questions we couldn’t get to during the chat, so we’ve connected with our colleagues on ASHA’s Accreditation and Certification teams to share more answers with you now:

Grade and Graduation Requirements

We understand this pandemic has caused a great deal of stress on students and Clinical Fellows, and you have questions about pass/fail grading options, site closures, program extensions, graduation requirements, and financial considerations including grants.

Each CSD program is different . . . different requirements, different procedures, different solutions. ASHA Certification nor ASHA Accreditation standards set any passing grade or pass/fail requirements.  The answers to these questions must come from your individual CSD program. Please direct these types of questions to your CSD program leadership. Since programs must follow both the standards for ASHA accreditation and certification, as well as university policies and procedures, they’ll have the most accurate information and will be able to provide the most relevant guidance for you.

Federal Student Aid

In addition to talking with your program advisors about financial implications and support, please be sure to check out the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website. They provide updated info related to impacts on Federal Student Aid related to the coronavirus, as well as the CARES Act, which, “…among other things, provides broad relieve for federal student loan borrowers.”

According to the website (as of May 15, 2020), “To provide relieve to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payment will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.”

Be sure to check out their website and follow up with them directly regarding Federal Student Aid questions.

The Praxis Exam

Prometric [the testing centers used by the Educational Testing Service (ETS)] now considers the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Praxis exams as essential tests. This means, they’re now available at all open testing centers.

For those who cannot access an open testing center, the SLP Praxis Exam is now available through the ETS Praxis at Home online system. Test candidates can register at www.ets.org/praxis or 1-800-772-9476. Testing is available from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm PST, 7 days a week, to fulfill test candidates’ needs. We hope to have more information from ETS soon about their plans for the Audiology Praxis Exam through Praxis at Home.

Contact ETS with additional questions.

Finding Employment

During this pandemic, each state has its own plan to reopen. State licensing boards all have different requirements and expectations. Individual companies have specific policies about hiring Clinical Fellows (or anyone). Please check with your state licensure board and/or your Department of Education to find out more on how you should proceed with finding employment and/or a Clinical Fellowship position.

ASHA’s Career Portal has resources about how to find Clinical Fellowship opportunities.

Be sure to stay tuned to the NSSLHA Blog—next week we’ll follow up with additional info regarding state licensure, applying for ASHA certification, telepractice and telesupervision, clinical simulation, and clinical practicum.

Here for You

There are still many unknowns about COVID-19 and its impacts, and we’re learning right along with you. We recognize we’re not able to give you specific answers to these particular questions, but we hope we’re at least able to point you in the right direction. The CFCC is working with you and your programs as best they can to make adjustments that don’t compromise your education, experiences, ability to obtain certification and state licensure, ability to remain portable and move state-to-state, and/or ability to provide safe client/patient treatment.

Please remember that changes happen quickly as we learn more about how this pandemic continues to affect us all. All updates are posted to the CFCC’s COVID-19 Guidance webpage. They want to hear from you and your program about possible solutions to consider. So, if you have ideas, please email the CFCC at cfcc@asha.org or ASHA’s Certification team at certification@asha.org , and the CFCC will review them as quickly as possible.

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