Supported Higher Education Project of Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details

Description

Regardless of all else, the label of college student is one that is worn with pride. Going to college is a rite ofpassage for many, an expectation for most, and an avenue ofincreased economic selfsufficiency for all. But ifyou are a student with an intellectual disability (ID), the labels, expectations, and roles that you wear rarely include that of a college student. That must change. The shifts in society that have led to improved access to community supports and supported employment must now tum to providing equal access to higher education for students with ID, thus creating inclusive communities at the postsecondary level. This is the crux of this project. While subtle improvements at the Federal level are acknowledged as students with ill are recognized in the Higher Education Opportunities Act of 2008, more work needs to be done. The time is now to capitalize on these efforts to create a statewide model of Supported Higher Education, with a goal of providing outcomes-based postsecondary opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. The process has already begun in our state as various entities have individually initiated a myriad of supports and avenues for young adults who wish to attend college. The Supported Higher Education Project will use what has been learned from these efforts and develop a comprehensive system of support for students throughout the state. The objectives ofthe project are to: 1 -support 150 students with ill in inclusive higher education settings using authentic person-centered planning, 2 -train 2000 professionals in secondary and higher education and in disability services to effectively serve a broader audience of learners, 3 implement individualized Certificates and meaningful academic recognition that promotes improved educational and employment outcomes, and, 4 -create viable funding streams to sustain project efforts beyond the project funding. The foci oftheproject will be the inclusion of young adults with ID in all aspects of college life, integrating academics, socialization, and meaningful work experiences within student centered plans. As true participants in campus life, students with ID will be able to meaningfully engage in the college culture, ranging from living in a dorm to taking part in study groups, rallies, and student clubs. Whenever possible, natural supports through peer mentors and classroom accommodations will be used, changing the college culture to one of inclusiveness where diversity is valued. Independent living skills and self-advocacy will be overtly supported to enrich each student's experience and improve individual achievement. The' overarching goal is to build capacity within the state for supporting students with ID to attend college. Over the course of the project, services will shift, evolving from direct students' support to training and technical assistance, generating sustainability by building the knowledge and skills and fostering the collaboration across agencies needed to maintain quality programs. Additionally, viable long-term funding strategies will be developed to avoid overburdening resources that are already stretched thin in many KY colleges and universities. The project will also work with local education agencies to assist in promoting a paradigm of supported education in which postsecondary education is an expectation, and not an exception. Outcomes ofthe proj ect will be 1) An increased number of students with ID who complete their higher education goals; 2) Improved and appropriate employment options for students; 3) Increased levels ofbelonging, self-esteem, and quality of life; and 4) Increased capacity of existing systems to support diverse learners. Key partners in this process who are committed to changing the landscape of higher education include the KY Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the KY Council on Postsecondary Education, the KY Council on Developmental Disabilities, and collaborating institutions of higher education: the University ofKentucky, Northern Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University, and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), a critical partner to ensure replication throughout the state.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date10/1/109/30/16

Funding

  • Department of Education: $1,911,203.00

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