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RISE (Road to Independent Living, Spiritual Formation and Employment)

RISE (Road to Independent Living, Spiritual Formation and Employment)
Judson University
RISE (Road to Independent Living, Spiritual Formation and Employment)
1151 N. State Street
Elgin, IL 60123
icon name
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Program Contact Drew Burless
Phone 847-628-2525
Website Program website
Facebook link to program Facebook page

RISE stands for Road to Independent Living, Spiritual Formation and Employment. The purpose is to give students with intellectual disabilities the college life experience, in a Christian community, and to prepare them to live as independently as possible and to gain skills that will assist them to be competitively employed.
RISE is a 2-year program that includes a customized curriculum, as well as opportunities for the students to audit traditional student courses. The customized curriculum includes independent living, personal fitness & wellness, person-centered planning, professional skills and current events. Both on- and off-campus internships are part of the program. RISE students are fully-engaged in Judson student life – participating in chapel three times per week, sporting events, music/theater/social activities, etc. Our students earn a Certificate of Completion in Liberal Arts and participate in the Judson University graduation ceremony.
Two RISE students are assigned to a dorm room, with a RISE Resident Advisor living across the hall. Traditional Judson students also have the opportunity to be Learning or Vocational Advisors for the program.
RISE cohorts, of 8-10 students each, begin every Fall semester; tuition, room & board match the costs that traditional Judson students pay. Each RISE cohort follows a typical academic year (4 semesters, spanning August through May for 2 academic years). Ideal candidates are students 18-25 years of age, with a diagnosed intellectual disability, a high school diploma or equivalent, practical reading/writing skills and a desire to learn with traditional students. An online application is available at; we begin reviewing applications on February 1st and continue to accept applications until the cohort is filled.

Program information submitted: February 22, 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: 22
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: January 31
Criteria for admission
  • Age range: 18-25
  • A high school diploma or equivalent; Practical reading and writing skills; The desire to learn while living in a residential college environment with traditional students
Accepts out-of-state students?: Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
Program length 2 years
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Acceptance rate for the most recent fall term 84.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one 100.00%
Notes on acceptance and attendance: Acceptance rate includes those who were accepted and those who were put on the waitlist (also given priority application for following year)
Average student tuition and fees for the current school year $27010.00
Average out-of-state tuition, current year $27010.00
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)
  • Scholarships
  • Federal Financial Aid
  • Grant Funding
Students enrolled in this program take the following types of inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities) Typical college courses for audit
More about course access: Our students choose from six possible subject area concentrations: 1. Business & Entrepreneurship 2. Christian Ministries 3. Creative Arts 4. Education 5. Health & Wellness 6. Math & Technology During their 2nd, 3rd and 4th semesters, RISE students take a traditional undergraduate class in his/her subject area concentration. These courses are pre-approved by the Judson Associate Provost, Department Faculty Chair and Registrar. RISE students may take the class(es) for audit. Additionally, Students also participate in chapel services. Judson University has chapel three times each week at 10am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. As a private Christian institution, chapel is an academic hour for all Judson students.
Did ALL students in your program enroll in at least one inclusive college/university course either for credit or audit? Yes
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
Students take STEM-related courses? No
Information on special classes: Students take a number of RISE courses during each of the four semesters; RISE courses are classified into one of four academic pillars: • Independent Living Skills • Person-Centered Planning • Personal Fitness & Wellness • Professional Skills
Percentage of academic time spent in inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities) 50-74%
Students in the program have access to the following campus-wide services:
  • Career services
  • Health services
  • Access to a transcript via the registrar
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: Certificate of Completion in Liberal Arts
Is the credential IHE-approved? Yes, this credential has been through a formal approval process at the IHE
Do students earn STEM-related certificates? No
Students participate in these campus-wide events
  • IHE Student orientation
  • IHE Family orientation
  • IHE Graduation
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 0%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 71%
Additional information about career development and work experience On- and Off-campus Internships – During the first year, RISE students work 2-3 hour shifts, two days each week at a department on the Judson University campus. In the second year of the program, RISE students interview for internships off campus at local businesses, churches, hospitals, civic organizations, etc. Students work two 4-6 hour shifts each week.
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
Students may participate in the following extra-curricular activities
  • Registered student organizations
  • Club sports
  • Campus events