One component that applicants to CBANS should understand are the requirement for service obligations. CBANS is funded through a federal personnel development grant, which are designed to increase the supply of qualified special education personnel in variety of fields nationwide. Therefore, as part of receiving funding, Institutions of Higher Education ensure that all scholars who receive funding through their grants agree to work in the field of special education or related service in which they receive training. Scholars must agree to work in the field of special education for two years for each year of funding they receive. In order to ensure that our scholars are more likely to comply with this obligation, we require that all CBANS scholars already serve in a special education position at the time of acceptance into the program.
CBANS will be utilizing the National Center on Service Obligations for all our scholars to track service obligation requirements. If you are accepted as a CBANS scholar, one of the very first things you have to do is hold a service obligation contract meeting with Dr. Taylor. If you are outside of the Reno area, this can be done through Skype. At this time, she will review with you again the details of your obligation, you will be asked to provide some identifying information for the Department of Education, which will be entered into a contract that you will sign. (If the meeting is through Skype, the contract will be scanned, emailed to you, and you must sign and return) This must be completed before you can begin coursework or receive any stipends. We will also have to gather further information regarding your past degrees, current work environment, etc. All of this information is entered into the National Center on Service Obligations database and each year we are required to update the Center on your progress in the program, and the amount of funding you have received.
Once you have completed your program, we will hold a completion meeting, at which time you sign the contract again, indicating that your time in the project is complete and at that point, you can begin your time towards your service obligation. At that point, you will be given information on how to log into the database yourself on an annual basis and provide the Department of Education with proof of your employment status and they will let you know how you are progressing towards "repayment" of your obligation.
This is a legitimate, legally binding agreement. Please be aware prior to applying to CBANS that if you do not complete your service obligation requirements, you may be required to repay any or all funds you received from the grant. If you leave CBANS prior to completion of the program, you are required to repay all funds received to that point.
If you have any questions, please visit the website linked above. There is a FAQ site there that covers just about any and all situations, and if you were to call Dr. Taylor and ask a specific question regarding your situation and the service obligation, you will sit on the phone while she scrolls through the website to look for the answer. If you familiarize yourself somewhat with the concepts and expectations of the obligation, then that first meeting will be shorter and less stressful.