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Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA)

Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA)
Elmhurst University
Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy (ELSA)
190 Prospect Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126
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Program Contact Tim Ahlberg, Assistant Director of Admission
Phone 630.617.3752

A four-year program, ELSA provides a full-time, post-secondary educational experience to young adults with differing abilities. The program emphasizes three key areas: academics, work experience and social and recreational experience. Students have an inclusive college experience at Elmhurst College that includes joining clubs and organizations, living on campus, and opportunities to explore some college level course work. Our students continue to grow as individuals and build skills for lifelong-learning opportunities, with the goal to work productively and live as independently as possible.

Program information submitted: March 17, 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
Number of students: 47
Program serves students who have left high school? Yes, all of our students have left high school
Regular H.S. diploma required? No, an IEP/non-standard diploma/certificate of attendance is accepted
Deadline to apply to this program: Preferred January 15
Criteria for admission
  • Age range: 18-28
Accepts out-of-state students?: Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
Program length: 4 years
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Acceptance rate for the most recent fall term 85.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one 85.00%
Average student tuition and fees for the current school year $35484.00
Room and board: $10752.00
Cost of the program:
Additional costs: $15.00
Students who live on campus are required to have a life-coach. Parents pay life-coach directly $15 per hour.
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)
  • Scholarships
  • Federal Financial Aid
Scholarships available: Elmhurst University will award scholarships to all our ELSA students utilizing FAFSA information to determine amount.
Students take these types of "typical" courses (with students who don't have disabilities):
  • Typical college courses for credit
  • Typical college courses for audit
More about course access: ELSA students can participate in Elmhurst University courses as electives as a pass/no pass class. Students participate in these courses to the best of their ability though some modifications can be made and these courses are not for college credit. Utilizing these elective courses ELSA students can pursue a certificate of specialized study and take four supported college courses in a specific subject area. Past students have completed certificates of specialized study in journalism, business, graphic arts, education and more. Students with strong academic skills may consider enrolling in the ELSA+ program, taking Elmhurst University courses for credit. These courses can be transferred towards a degree program or to another college later if desired.
Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Are students in this program able to access support services through your IHE disability services office? No
Information on special classes: Following the academic calendar of Elmhurst University, the Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy offers a 16-week Fall Term, a four-week January Term, a 16-week Spring Term, and a six or eight-week summer term. To earn the ELSA Certificate, students must complete a total of 128 semester hours of coursework (52 hours of required courses and 76 hours of individual choice/elective courses). Sample list of Courses: Introduction to College Life Reading and Writing Strategies Self Determination Career By Design Healthy Living Community and Citizenship
Percentage of academic time spent only with other students in this program: About 75% of the time
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: ELSA Certificate of Completion
Is the credential IHE-approved? Awarded by program, not officially recognized by the IHE
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 70%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
  • Work Study
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 90%
We offer the following specialized credentials: Students job shadow, take career exploration courses, and participate in internships and other field experiences. Instruction in personal finance and use of technology are also integrated throughout the program. Our goal is to see our students leave us with a better ability to live independently and be able to seek out and hold meaningful employment.
Does this program have a working partnership with VR to provide funding, supports and/or services to students in the program? No
Housing is provided to students: Yes
Housing options available:
  • Inclusive on campus
  • Inclusive off campus
Students participate in student organizations on campus: Yes
Proportion of social time spent only with other students in this program: 25%
Students have participated in these social/extracurricular activities and organizations: ELSA students have participated in a number of Elmhurst University clubs and organizations including; Cheer leading, Relay for Life, Best Buddies, TaeKwanDo Club, Special Olympics, various choirs, bands, involvement with Elmhurst Theater and Elmhurst University radio. Beginning in 2018 ELSA students have participated in Elmhurst University athletics including; cross country, golf, track and field and football.