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Rock Valley College
3301 N. Mulford Rd.
Rockford, IL 61114
icon name
Program Contact MaryAnne Ax
Phone 815-921-2365

The Raising Aspirations through an Inclusive Student Experience (RAISE) program provides an enriched collegiate experience for young adults who have intellectual disabilities to gain the independent living, social, and work readiness skills to enable them to live and work as valued and fully contributing members of our community. RAISE is a three-year (6 semester) program that prepares students with intellectual disabilities for higher education and competitive workforce opportunities. The program has a strong emphasis on social engagement, and as such students participate in a combination of academic, vocational, and social opportunities while on campus and have access to the same programs, resources and activities that all other students utilize. The RAISE certificate is intentionally designed to be flexible and as such affords students the opportunity to earn “stackable” credentials.

Program information submitted: July 6, 2021

Public or private: Public
Type of school: 2-year community college or junior college
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: 21
School district or agency partner: 6 area districts are served
Program serves students who have left high school? Some of our students have left high school
Criteria for admission
  • Age range: At least 18 years old, preferably between the ages of 18-22
Accepts out-of-state students?: Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • significant learning disability
Program length: 3 years
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 90.00%
Notes on acceptance and attendance:

We lost students due to COVID-19

Average student tuition and fees for the current school year $600.00
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)
  • Scholarships
  • Local School District funds
  • Federal Financial Aid
Scholarships available:

There are a number of scholarships available through our Foundation office.

Students take these types of "typical" courses (with students who don't have disabilities):
  • Typical college courses for credit
  • Typical college courses for audit
  • Typical Continuing Education courses
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? Yes
Students take STEM-related courses? No
Information on special classes:

There are six core courses that all students must take; these courses are only for program participants and make up 1/3 of the program requirements. These courses focus on topics such as personal empowerment and self-advocacy, career skills development, independent living, safety, and financial literacy.

Percentage of academic time spent only with other students in this program: Between 25% of the time and half the time
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: RAISE Certificate of Achievement
Is the credential IHE-approved? Awarded by program, not officially recognized by the IHE
Do students earn STEM-related certificates? No
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 0%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
  • Work Study
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
Proportion of social time spent only with other students in this program: 25%
Students have participated in these social/extracurricular activities and organizations:

Athletic/sporting events, campus activities, college events (ex., fundraising events, promotional activities), clubs