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Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive
Arden Hills, MN 55112
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Program Contact Dawn Allen
Program Contact Email
Phone 651-635-8799
Website Program website
Facebook link to program Facebook page

The BUILD Program is an integrated 2 year postsecondary, residential program for individuals with intellectual disabilities, which is boldly influenced and motivated by the Christian faith, propelling students to confidently navigate their world with self-determination to live more independently, maintain meaningful integrated employment, and value life in community with others. This integrated experience includes opportunities for academic, vocational, residential, social, and spiritual development. After successfully completing the program’s requirements, students earn a Certificate in Applied Studies with a Career Pathway in Arts and Communication, Business, or Human Services.

To learn more about our program you can find our full catalog online at:

Our application process is also online and can be accessed by going to our website and clicking on How to Apply:

Program information submitted: January 31, 2023

Public or private: Private
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: 24
Summer program name Royal Academy: BUILDing Independent Skills Summer Program
Description of our summer transition program: Opportunity for students aged 17-21 with intellectual disabilities to join us for an integrated summer college experience at Bethel University, where you'll participate in sessions focused on helping you to begin growing in your independence, engage in content and activities to build on your career interests and independent living skills, in addition to interacting with other students interested in college through evening activities and more. During the institute, you will ... Learn from Bethel faculty Volunteer in the community Participate in small group discussion and activities Live on campus Students must bring a support person of the same gender (due to overnight housing assignments) to provide support as needed throughout sessions and overnight (personal care and other support needs). It is recommended to bring a support person of similar age. Overnight accommodation will be provided in Nelson Hall. Housing is dorm-style with each bedroom having 2 twin XL beds, 2 desks and chairs, and a closet. Gender-specific community bathrooms are located on each secure wing. Students will be housed with their support person.
Summer program link: Royal Academy: BUILDing Independent Skills Summer Program
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: Rolling application cycle with priority deadline of December of the year before you hope to enroll.
Criteria for admission
  • Student must be 18 or older
  • Age range: 18-26
Accepts out-of-state students? Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Other Health Disabilities (e.g. Williams Syndrome, etc.)
Program length: 2 years
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Acceptance rate for the most recent fall term: 52.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one: 69.00%
Notes on acceptance and attendance: This lower than typical retention rate was primarily due to difficulties returning to learning in an academic setting following the COVID-19 Pandemic which resulted in a few students not being able to complete the first year or return for the second year of the program.
Average student tuition and fees for the current school year: $41850.00
Average out-of-state tuition, current year: $41850.00
Room and board: $11500.00
Program fees: $0.00
Additional costs:
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)
  • Tuition Waivers
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Scholarships
  • Federal Financial Aid
  • Grant Funding
  • Medicaid Waiver or Day Habilitation funds
Scholarships available: Scholarships for students in BUILD are awarded in the spring of the year to be applied toward the coming school year. Students are selected by the BUILD Scholarship Committee which includes BUILD Team members and Financial Aid Counselors. Funds are distributed by the Office of Financial Aid each fall and spring. Further information may be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid. BUILD Endowed Scholarship In recognition of these donors' lifelong interest in young people, their interests in education, their passion for honoring God's example of serving the least of these, and devotion to the cause of Christ, this scholarship is awarded to worthy Bethel students enrolled in the BUILD program with financial need. (EAB286) The Dan and Lynn Fuglestad Family BUILD Program Scholarship In recognition of their passion for serving others and for Christ-centered education, this scholarship is given to students enrolled in Bethel's BUILD program who demonstrate financial need. (EAF302) Mayme Okken Scholarship Fund Established in memory of Mayme Okken, older sister of Joyce DeHaan, who as an adult with Down syndrome, achieved beyond her limitations, and loved Jesus and others well, this scholarship is awarded to students with financial need that are enrolled in Bethel’s BUILD program. (EAO272) To the Glory of God BUILD Scholarship The To the Glory of God BUILD Scholarship Fund was established by a special passion for students in BUILD and a desire to see each one grow, learn and reach their full God-given potential to be salt and light in this world. The fund is to annually assist one worthy Bethel University student with financial need who has been accepted to the Bethel BUILD Program. (EAG277) Emily White Scholarship Fund This scholarship, established by Dale and Julie White, in recognition of their special passion for students in the BUILD program and their desire to see each one grow, learn, reach their full God-given potential, and to be salt and light in this world, is to be awarded to students with financial need who have been accepted to the Bethel BUILD Program. (EAW274) In addition to any private scholarships including those listed on Bethel’s website:
Students enrolled in this program take the following types of inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities): Typical college courses for credit
More about course access: Students in BUILD will complete a minimum of 50 credits to attain a Certificate in Applied Studies. Those credits will include core courses, internships, and other selected Bethel University courses. Our courses are designed to meet students where they’re at and help each individual student develop essential skills for college, employment, and independent living.
Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Information on special classes: As part of the courses and credits that students in BUILD take to attain a Certificate in Applied Studies, students are required to take specific classes in Independent Living, Jobs and Employment, Health and Wellness, Independent Study, and Bible and Theology.
Percentage of academic time spent in inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities): 50-74%
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: Certificate in Applied Studies
Is the credential approved by the college/university? Yes, this credential has been through a formal approval process at the IHE
Other than the credential listed above, can students earn any other credentials that are available to all students? Microsoft Office Specialist and American Red Cross CPR/AED & First Aid Certification
Students in the program have access to the following campus-wide services:
  • Career services
  • Disability/accessibility services
  • Health services
  • Access to a transcript via the registrar
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 71%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 86%
Additional information about career development and work experience: An academic internship is a learning/practicing experience in an on- or off-campus setting during which students explore and/or apply a body of knowledge and skill in a structured non-classroom setting. It can take place in many settings and may make use of almost every knowledge and skill area in Bethel's BUILD program curriculum. The work must provide an opportunity to meet learning objectives. An acceptable internship is one that expects students to explore career aspirations and make a deliberate application of their academic knowledge and skills; continue to learn as stimulated by the problems and issues encountered; grow in their personal maturity and confidence in one's abilities; and develop empathy with and understanding of persons, groups, and settings. An internship is conducted under joint supervision of a BUILD Internship Supervisor and an on-site supervisor. Both parties agree on the specific objectives by the end of the first 1/3 of the term of the internship. Both parties stay in communication throughout the internship experience. There is a plan for on-going processing of the experience (internship daily progress form, evaluation forms, etc.). Job mentors work to support students in the BUILD program with job-related skills during student internships. They will provide transportation to/from the job site (when necessary) and remain with the students as needed to offer on-the-job support and coaching during their shift. Requirements for the internship courses: • Each internship credit requires a minimum of 37.5 on-site hours at the internship site. • Completion of learning objectives. • Internships are graded S/U. Within the guidelines of the program requirements and with guidance from BUILD staff and parent(s)/ guardian(s), students make final internship decisions. In preparation for the on- or off-campus internships the other three semesters of the program, students spend their first semester engaging in the Life at Bethel course where they explore and strengthen their interests and strengths.
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): 50-74%
Students may participate in the following extra-curricular activities
  • Registered student organizations
  • Student government
  • Club sports
  • Campus events
Students participate in these campus-wide events:
  • College/University's Student orientation
  • College/University's Family orientation
  • College/University's Graduation