Inclusive College Education

Opening doors to greater opportunities and experiences for youth and adults with IDD.

What is Inclusive College Education?

Historically, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have struggled to attend college or university after graduating from high school. To increase the accessibility of higher education to students with IDD, many universities have developed inclusive college programs. These programs provide students with academic, vocational, and independent living experiences that help students work towards their personal goals.

The number of inclusive college programs available to students with IDD have drastically increased since the passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) in 2008. Since 2008, the number of inclusive college programs has grown from 148 to over 300 programs today.

Although the types of programs and services vary greatly across inclusive college programs, most programs offer:

Academic supports, enrichment, and services that enable students to participate fully in program specific and inclusive courses.
Opportunities and supports for students to engage in campus organizations, student clubs, and other campus activities.
On-campus residential housing options for students.

Frequent opportunities to socialize with peers on campus, learn independent living skills, and participate in self-advocacy.
Vocational courses and work experiences, such as on-campus or off-campus internships, that prepare students for competitive employment.
A meaningful credential for students when they complete the IPSE program.

Building a More Inclusive Workforce

Missouri’s universities and colleges have always played an important role in preparing students for the workforce. IPSE programs do the same, offering students with IDD a gateway to employment and independent living. In Missouri, three universities offer IPSE programs. For more information about the programs, go to the Inclusive College Programs in MO section on this website.