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Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, MO 65897
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Program Contact Dr. April Phillips
Program Contact Email
Phone 417-836-5282
Website Program website
Facebook link to program Facebook page

Missouri State Bear POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Work, Education and Resilience) is an inclusive college program for students with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities. Bear POWER is a two-and-a-half-year (five semesters) residential program that provides the opportunity for students to continue their education beyond high school. All students choose an area of concentration that they wish to study and will attend inclusive classes alongside their peers. Students can audit their courses as noncredit or take them for credit – this flexible program allows options for students and supports are individualized based on student-specific needs. Supports beyond MSU campus resources include Bear POWER staff, graduate assistants, and Ambassadors. Ambassadors are Missouri State student volunteers who provide support and integration to Bear POWER students within academic and social settings. A variety of internship-based experiences will also be included within the Bear POWER program. Upon completing the program, students will earn a certificate and walk in the graduation ceremony alongside their peers.

Program information submitted: January 18, 2023

Public or private: Public
Type of school: 4-year college or university
Is this program a federally funded TPSID program? No
Students in this program: Have graduated or exited from high school
Number of students: 10
Program serves students who have left high school? Yes, all of our students have left high school
Regular high school diploma required? No, an IEP/non-standard diploma/certificate of attendance is accepted
Deadline to apply to this program: June 1
Criteria for admission
  • Student must be 18 or older
Accepts out-of-state students? Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Have a diagnoses of cognitive, intellectual and/or developmental disability, applicant must have qualified for special education services under IDEA
Program length: 3 years
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Acceptance rate for the most recent fall term: 63.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one: 80.00%
Average student tuition and fees for the current school year: $3204.00
Average out-of-state tuition, current year: $6864.00
Room and board: $10376.00
Program fees: $8070.00
Is this program able to provide federal financial aid as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)? Yes
Students pay for the program in the following ways:
  • Private pay (student and family)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Scholarships
  • Federal Financial Aid
  • Grant Funding
Scholarships available:

Arc of the Ozarks has a scholarship just for our students.

View other scholarships that are available to students not given by MSU

Community Foundation of the Ozarks awards 2 scholarships for those with disabilities, students from part of the state are eligible.

Students enrolled in this program take the following types of inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities):
  • Typical college courses for credit
  • Typical college courses for audit
More about course access:

Students are allowed to take almost any course from the catalog. Some prerequisites can be waived to allow students to get the content they need for employment. They are required to take at least 6 hours for credit or audit.

Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Information on special classes:

Academic Support and Internship Seminar are equivalent to a 3 hr credit course. Semester #1 ​ Reading and Writing Comprehension​ Semester #2​ Money & Time Management​ Semester #3​ Communication and Interpersonal Relationship​ Semester #4​ Transition to Employment​ Semester #5​ Community Engagement​

Percentage of academic time spent in inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities): 75-99%
Do all students in this program enroll in at least one inclusive college/university course for credit or audit each semester? Yes
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: Bear POWER certificate
Is the credential approved by the college/university? Awarded by program, not officially recognized by the IHE
Students in the program have access to the following campus-wide services:
  • Career services
  • Disability/accessibility services
  • Academic tutoring services
  • Health services
  • Access to a transcript via the registrar
  • Academic advising services (not program staff)
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 56%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 80%
Additional information about career development and work experience:

Students start internships their 2nd semester with at least 5 hours per week. We increase work hours 5 hours each semester (if appropriate) so that upon their final semester, they are working 20 hours per week. We strive to get paid internships if it's not from the company/department, we utilize 3rd party grants (MO Career Center for example).

Does this program have a working partnership with VR to provide funding, supports and/or services to students in the program? Yes
Housing is provided to students: Yes
Housing options available:
  • Inclusive on campus
Students participate in student organizations on campus: Yes
Percentage of social time spent in inclusive activities (open to all students on campus): 100%
Students may participate in the following extra-curricular activities
  • Registered student organizations
  • Student government
  • Club sports
  • Campus events
  • Fraternities/sororities
Students participate in these campus-wide events:
  • College/University's Student orientation
  • College/University's Family orientation
  • College/University's Graduation