If you need to hire Personal Assistants (PA's) to provide daily assistance on campus and/or in the dorms or an off-campus apartment, DRC can assist in the following ways:
- Provide resources and information to help you advertise your PA positions on campus. We recommend hiring fellow students as University of Arizona students can easily get access to the dorms and campus parking.
- Connect you with other students who use PA's.
- Provide referral to Arizona's Medicaid and other local resources.
- If this is a new experience for you, consider hiring PA's during the summer before you arrive so you have experience training and working with PA's.
- Divide your day into activities that will require assistance in order to determine the hours and time blocks you will need PA coverage. Don't forget housekeeping and shopping.
- Think about tasks you might be able to do more independently and start practicing obtaining products that could make the tasks easier.
- Consider what mobility equipment will work best for you on a large campus.
- Explore online resources written by others who hire PA's. Each person develops a process that works for them, but it is always good to explore what has worked well and what hasn't for others.
- Connect with DRC and talk with an Access Consultant about your transition to campus and any accommodations.
- Discuss your use of PA's with an Access Consultant and keep in touch with us as you transition to campus. Also discuss the kind of dorm room that would provide the highest levels of access. For example, you may want a single room with an attached bath, or have other specific considerations.
- Apply for on-campus housing
- Sign-up for University of Arizona Orientation as early as possible to get your daily class schedule set. Should your class schedule present challenges to your PA schedule, work with your Access Consultant. When you are on campus for University of Arizona Orientation, make an appointment to meet an Access Consultant and discuss your transition to campus.
If you are from out of state,
- Contact your local State Vocational Rehabilitation Office to see if PA costs would be covered when studying out of state.
- Contact your State Medicaid program for eligibility and to inquire if PA costs could be covered if studying in another state. This can really vary state to state, but if available to you in your home state, it is a better option than having to wait until you are in AZ to apply for services here.
- Both of these inquiries require persistence so don't stop if you initially get a "no".
- Advertise your PA positions. DRC can post to various campus locations, but applicants will reply directly to you. Plan to interview applicants in July to early August. If your State's Vocational Rehabilitation Department or Medicaid program will cover your PA costs, they often require that the PA's you hire are paid through an agency. Therefore, your PA's will have to finish various processes to be hired by an agency, like finger printing and background checks. The agency will provide training that may include basic first aid, CPR, and other skills. You, of course, provide more specific training for your PA's.
- Work with your Access Consultant and Housing and Residential Life to choose an early date to move into your dorm. If you are not living on campus, move-in and set-up your apartment with adequate time to train your PA's.
Once You Are in Tucson
- If living on Campus, you must work with Housing and Residential Life to get your PA's access to your dorm. Parents or other family members may also be given temporary access until your PA's are trained.
- Get to know some of their other students who hire PA's to share scheduling tips and problem solve.