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College Steps (Massachusetts)

College Steps (Massachusetts)
American International College
College Steps (Massachusetts)
1000 State Street
Springfield, MA 1109
Program Contact Brya Emery
Program Contact Email
Phone 1-888-732-1022
Website Program website
Facebook link to program Facebook page

College Steps is a non-profit organization that partners with colleges and universities to support students with social, communication, or learning challenges (including but not limited to students with significant learning disabilities, autism, developmental, or intellectual disabilities), ages 16-26, with their college pursuits. The mission of College Steps is to expand supports for young adults with the functional skills sufficient to transition to a college environment, but who remain challenged to succeed and thrive in this adult learning setting without additional supports.  College Steps is committed to transition services, and specializes in preparing students for meaningful careers, higher education, and autonomy after graduation. We place strong emphasis on inclusion, self-advocacy, employment, and independent living skills and aim to provide high quality educational support for students who are interested in pursuing a college primer experience during their transition year(s) in high school.  In addition to the high school transition model, College Steps also offers contracted support hours for college students enrolled at participating colleges and the option of a two-year certificate program for students (ages 18-26) interested in receiving a college experience and job training on a college campus. Our students are supported by one of our full-time program coordinators and are mentored by fully matriculated college students.  The majority of the day-to-day support students receive is through their work with the peer mentors, which allows for a truly inclusive environment and is one of the features of our model we are most proud of. College Steps students typically spend 25 hours per week on campus, take 1-2 courses per semester, and would be considered tuition paying non-matriculated students. College Steps is able to partner with virtually any college or university that emphasizes inclusively and is interested in opening its doors to this unique and novel supportive learning model. Our program is offered at no cost to our collegiate partners and offers a wonderful opportunity for matriculated students to take part in a valuable mentoring experience. Finally, a small class size of up to 10 students per year allows our staff to fully meet the needs of the scholars.  College Steps is currently partnered with seven colleges and universities across New England and the Mid Atlantic and is sustainably developing at least two new partnerships per year.  If you feel there is a need in your community that has yet to be filled or if you are interested in one of our existing programs, please reach out to us.

Program information submitted: March 12, 2021

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
  • Are still enrolled in high school
Number of students: 16
School district or agency partner: Agency: DDS; School districts: Chicopee, Frontier Regional, Hampden-Wilbraham, Northampton, South Hadley, Ware, Belchertown, Springfield, West Springfield, Easthampton, Granby, SABIS, more.
Contact person: Brya Emery, Director of Admissions
Program serves students who have left high school? Some of our students have left high school
Deadline to apply to this program: Rolling Admissions. Priority Applications by March 1.
Criteria for admission
  • Age range: 17-26
Accepts out-of-state students? Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Any social or learning challenge
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Acceptance rate for the most recent fall term: 100.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one: 70.00%
Notes on acceptance and attendance:

We work closely with teams to make referrals and answer questions for families to aid in their enrollment process to aid in determining if supports are appropriate.

Additional costs:

Fees vary by hours supported—find them at

Is this program able to provide federal financial aid as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)? We are not a CTP, and have no plans to become one.
Students pay for the program in the following ways:
  • Private pay (student and family)
  • Local School District funds
  • State funding through Self-Directed funding (Medicaid Waiver)

Scholarships available:

We share all available funding resources with families/teams including grant information, scholarships, etc.

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 eligible to take any courses as long as they meet the pre-requisites if required.

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

College Steps offers Community, which is focused on independent living and social skills.

Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: College Steps Certificate of Higher Education
Is the credential approved by the college/university? Awarded by program, not officially recognized by the IHE
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
Additional information about career development and work experience:

resume writing, mock interviews, job searching, etc.

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: No
Students participate in student organizations on campus: Yes