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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
Program Contact Email
Phone 630.617.3752
Website Program website

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: February 15, 2022

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 high school diploma required? No, an IEP/non-standard diploma/certificate of attendance is accepted
Deadline to apply to this program: Generally January 15; though will be rolling admission on a space-available basis
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: 75.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one: 100.00%
Average student tuition and fees for the current school year: $36176.00
Additional costs: $15.00
Typical room and board for students who live on campus can range $9,000-$10,000 per year depending on residence hall and meal plans. Residential students also are required to have a student life-coach which families pay $15 per hour and average 3 - 5 hours per week during each semester.
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: Financial aid and scholarship info available here:
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: ELSA students with an interest in an academic area outside of our program can augment their curriculum by taking college courses as a pass/no-pass. We call these courses ELSA electives and can be used to augment their resumes, build towards a certificate of specialization that can be awarded upon graduation. Students may also consider enrolling in the ELSA+ program, taking Elmhurst University courses for credit. Upon completion, students will receive an Elmhurst University transcript that may be used to transfer as a dual-enrolled degree student at Elmhurst University. It is recommended ELSA+ students take one college course for credit in addition to three ELSA courses. ELSA+ students will have access to standard college accommodations and must demonstrate academic ability and sufficient independence. Before enrolling in ELSA+, students must complete at least one semester of the ELSA program. Course selections will be approved on a case-by-case basis by ELSA advising staff.
Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Information on special classes: ELSA has a 32 course curriculum designed specifically for our population.
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? No
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: Certificate of Completion
Is the credential approved by the college/university? Awarded by program, not officially recognized by the IHE
Other than the credential listed above, can students earn any other credentials that are available to all students? ELSA Certificate of Specialization
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%
Additional information about career development and work experience: Career Development and work experience are core experiences in the ELSA program, particularly in the last two years of the program. The average student will typically complete 3 or 4 internships both on campsu and off campus over the course of the juniro and senior year preferably paid. In the curriculum career exploration course work exists in all four years of the program.
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
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
  • Study abroad
  • Fraternities/sororities
Students participate in these campus-wide events:
  • College/University's Student orientation
  • College/University's Family orientation
  • College/University's Graduation