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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
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Program Contact Drew Burless
Phone 847-628-2525
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 25, 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: 20
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 31st
Criteria for admission
  • Age range: 18-25
  • Diagnosed intellectual disability; practical reading and writing skills; Desire to live on a college campus; High school diploma or equivalent
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 100.00%
Retention rate for first year students from the previous academic year to the current one 90.00%
Average student tuition and fees for the current school year $14740.00
Average out-of-state tuition, current year $14740.00
Room and board: $10290.00
Additional costs: $2,500.00
Student Life Fees - $530 Technology Fees - $500
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: RISE has received scholarship monies from local, private foundations.
Students take these types of "typical" courses (with students who don't have disabilities): Typical college courses for audit
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: There are four categories of RISE classes: Independent Living; Professional Skills; Person-Centered Planning; and Health & Wellness
Percentage of academic time spent only with other students in this program: About half the time
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: 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: 0%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Community Service
We offer the following specialized credentials: On and Off campus internships
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
Proportion of social time spent only with other students in this program: None of the time
Students have participated in these social/extracurricular activities and organizations: Choir, Intramural Sports, Musical Ensembles, Theatrical Performances, Special Olympics Basketball, Managing Sports teams, Student Organization Events, Homecoming Dance