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Definitions and Explanations of Special Populations Categories

We’re excited that you are applying to College of DuPage! At COD we believe each of our students has the right to accessible and affordable opportunities to learn. The Special Populations section in our undergraduate application allows us to work on specific supports for our students through Perkins V*.

If you belong to one or more of the following categories, select the category(s) in the application so we can tailor opportunities, access and supports to strengthen your overall student and academic experience at College of DuPage.


Economically or Academically Disadvantaged

An individual is identified as Economically Disadvantaged on the basis of:

  • receipt of a Pell Grant or comparable state program of need-based financial assistance; or
  • annual income is at or less than the official poverty level; or
  • participant or participant's parent is a recipient of public assistance; or
  • participant is eligible for participation in programs assisted under WIOA.

An individual is identified as Academically Disadvantaged on the basis of:

  • performing at or below the 25th percentile on a standardized achievement or aptitude test in reading skills, writing skills, or math skills; or
  • receiving a grade of D or below in a postsecondary class and needs support services to succeed in that class; or
  • receiving remedial, developmental, ABE, or ASE instruction; or
  • being on academic probation.

Out of the Workforce

An individual is identified as Out-of-Workforce on the basis of:

  • being a displaced homemaker, as defined in section 3 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (29 U.S.C. 3102); or
  • being an individual who meets either a or b, and c:
    • worked primarily without remuneration to care for a home and family, and for that reason has diminished marketable skills; or
    • is a parent whose youngest dependent child will become ineligible to receive assistance under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) not later than 2 years after the date on which the parent applies for assistance under such title.
    • is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment

English Learner

An individual who is identified as an English Learner on the basis of:

  • a secondary school student who is an English learner, as defined in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965; or
  • an adult or an out-of-school youth who has limited ability in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language and—
  • (iii) whose native language is a language other than English; or
  • (iv) who lives in a family environment or community in which a language other than English is the dominant language.


An individual who has a physical or mental impairment that subsequently limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual or has a record of such impairment or both.

Single Parent

A single parent is defined as either a single pregnant woman or an individual who is unmarried or legally separated from a spouse and has a minor child or children for which the parent either has custody or joint custody.

Homeless Individuals

An individual who is identified as lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and includes:

  • individuals who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement; or
  • individuals who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation for human beings; or
  • individuals who are living in cars, parks, couch-surfing, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; or
  • migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless.

Foster Care

Individuals who are in, or have aged out of, the foster care system based on the following:

  • The term foster care refers to the full-time substitute care of children outside their own home by people other than their biological or adoptive parents or legal guardians; or
  • Individual 21 or younger for whom the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is currently or was previously legally responsible. This means an individual for whom the Department has (or had) temporary protective custody, custody or guardianship via court order, or a child whose parents have signed an adoptive surrender or voluntary placement agreement with the Department.

Parent in the Armed Forces

Identification of a student with a parent who is a member of the armed forces and on active duty should be based upon the following definitions:

  • The term “armed forces” is defined as being a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.
  • The term “active duty” is defined as full-time duty in the active military service of the United States. Such term includes full-time training duty, annual training duty, and attendance, while in the active military service, at a school designated as a service school by law or by the Secretary of the military department concerned. Such term does not include full-time National Guard duty.

As specified by ICCB MIS Manual (May 2021)

Contact Information

Admissions and Outreach
Student Services Center (SSC), Room 2207
For more information, fill out the contact form.

The Admissions Office is operating during regular business hours:

  • Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Phone: (630) 942-2626
Chat: Chat Online

Walk-in appointments are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis for a 15-minute meeting. Students who need more time can schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with their admission representative.

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