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The Union EDGE Program

The Union EDGE Program
Union University
The Union EDGE Program
1050 Union University Drive
School of Education
Jackson, TN 38305
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Program Contact Rebecca Holloway
Program Contact Email
Phone 731-661-5382
Website Program website

The Union EDGE program is a two year certificate program for students aged 18-26 with a diagnosed intellectual or developmental disability.​ This program is located at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Union University is a private Christian university affiliated with the Southern Baptist.​ Students may choose residential or non-residential.​ Students will audit college courses, participate in life skills classes, work in on-campus and off-campus internships and experience the full range of college life. The ultimate purpose of the Union EDGE program is to prepare students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work in a preferred job setting by strengthening independent social, communication, and vocational skills. Our measure of success will be based on students who leave Union with a job in place and are prepared to live and work as independently as possible. We strive to help students discover who God created them to be, step into their gifts, and use them to serve the church and society. We believe that each and every student is made in the image of God and that God has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of their lives.

Program information submitted: January 12, 2023

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: 23
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: April 15th
Criteria for admission
  • Age range: 18-26
Accepts out-of-state students? Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Down Syndrome
Program length: 2 years
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Acceptance rate for the most recent fall term: 50.00%
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: $17000.00
Room and board: $8500.00
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)
  • Tuition Waivers
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Scholarships
  • Grant Funding
Scholarships available: Students who have been accepted to the Union EDGE Program may qualify for financial aid. ​ The first step is completing the FAFSA.​ We require students enroll in Vocational Rehab. We highly encourage students in enroll in ECF Choices. Students may be eligible for the Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship ($3,500) or a Pell grant.​ Currently, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation pays $4,000 per semester toward IPSE programs.​ WIOA funding may be available from your TN county. Our Community Resource Coordinator assists family in connecting with resources available to them.
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: Students will audit two academic classes per semester with traditional Union students based on their interests and career goals. The program director will work with university faculty to identify any necessary accommodations to the syllabi or course materials.
Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Information on special classes: Students will also enroll in two skill-building courses every semester that focus on employment and technology skills. These classes will provide Union EDGE students with independent living skills that will help them to be better employees and give them the option to live on their own. Life Skills I: First Steps to College Living In this first year course, Union EDGE students will learn about the culture surrounding a college campus, including academic study skills.  Additionally, students will complete a weekly agenda for assignments and discuss strategies for time management.  Basic social skills will be emphasized including the understanding of the importance of “personal space.”   Life Skills II: First Steps to Employment Training In this first year course, Union EDGE students will learn about the workplace environment and strategies for navigating it successfully.  Specifically, students will demonstrate the ability to: request personal needs and/or ask for help as needed, articulate rules for safety at the job site, follow multi-step instructions to complete a task, and exhibit proper grooming and attire for the work site. An emphasis is placed on learning to count money during this first year course. Life Skills III: Advanced Steps to Healthy Living In this first year course, Union EDGE students will learn the basic elements of a healthy lifestyle.  Specific topics include:  cooking and nutritional needs, identifying emotions in self and others, and making healthy choices that match physical and emotional needs.  Life Skills IV: Introduction to Daily Technology and Finance In this first year course, Union EDGE students will begin to understand the importance of using standards for appropriate use of technology, including personal computers and cell phones.  Students will utilize computers to create, save, and print written documents.   An emphasis will be placed on keyboarding. Students will be given the opportunity to open personal checking accounts and manage accounts using online banking services. Life Skills V: Advanced Steps to Independent Living Skills In this second year course, Union EDGE students will further develop their understanding of a healthy lifestyle.  Specifics topics include: culinary and kitchen hygiene and a framework for decision making.  Students will also move to a more independent approach to completing assignments in academic classrooms and internship sites. Life Skills VI: Utilizing Technology and Community Resources In this second year course, Union EDGE students will understand theoretical foundations of social media and relevant strategies to communicate with their broader communities.  Additionally, students will understand and apply best practices when using the internet.  Life Skills VII: Introduction to Professional Writing and Communications In this second year course, Union EDGE students will use accepted principles of grammar and rhetoric to communicate professionally.  Specifically, students will apply proofreading skills to a variety of professional documents and will begin to use multimedia tools to prepare presentations.  Additionally, students will create a resume' for employment.   Life Skills VIII: Advanced Technology Skills and Finance In this second year course, Union EDGE students will continue their understanding of the importance of using appropriate standards for use of technology.  Specifically, students will use Microsoft Excel to create a basic spreadsheet, enter data, and track a weekly budget.  This course includes the culminating activity, an electronic portfolio, demonstrating the knowledge and skills learned in the Union EDGE program.
Percentage of academic time spent in inclusive courses (with students who don't have disabilities): 50-74%
Do all students in this program enroll in at least one inclusive college/university course for credit or audit each semester? Yes
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: Certificate of Completion
Is the credential approved by the college/university? Yes, this credential has been through a formal approval process at the IHE
Students in the program have access to the following campus-wide services:
  • Career services
  • Disability/accessibility services
  • Academic tutoring services
  • Health services
  • Access to a transcript via the registrar
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 100%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
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
Percentage of social time spent in inclusive activities (open to all students on campus): 75-99%
Students may participate in the following extra-curricular activities
  • Registered student organizations
  • Student government
  • Club sports
  • Campus events
  • Fraternities/sororities
Students participate in these campus-wide events:
  • College/University's Student orientation
  • College/University's Family orientation
  • College/University's Graduation