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Threshold Program at Lesley University

Threshold Program at Lesley University
Lesley University
Threshold Program at Lesley University
29 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
icon name
Program Contact Joanne Silva
Phone 617-349-8181

Lesley University’s Threshold Program is a comprehensive, campus-based, postsecondary program for motivated young adults with diverse learning challenges. We are located in Cambridge, MA just minutes from historical Harvard Square. Threshold students are between 18 and 26 years old and have typically received special education services in either public or private schools. At Threshold we provide the full college experience, including dormitory living and college courses, for students whose unique academic profile would not otherwise allow them to attend a university. Our students are fully immersed in the university as active participants in sports, clubs and other activities they wish to pursue. The core program is two years, and includes coursework, internships, skills for adept social interaction, and independent living skills. Postgraduate programming is also available and recommended to assist students in attaining their goals for employment and independent living. During the second year of the core program and in our postgraduate programs, students may be eligible to take undergraduate courses. Upon completion of the core program students receive six college credits; Additional credits are available through our postgraduate options.

Graduates of Threshold continue to benefit from comprehensive and person-centered supports throughout their lives through our Alumni Center. Alumni services include employment support, social programming, courses, domestic and international travel opportunities, referrals, and a variety of independent living supports. With nearly 700 alumni, 2/3 of whom lives within an hour of Cambridge, our graduate community is active, supportive, and engaged. We remain in contact with even our earliest graduates from 1984, our first graduating class, and our annual survey of alumni shows the success of students in our program; 85% of graduates are employed for pay, 77% live independently (outside of family homes or staffed housing), 95% are satisfied with their level of independence, and 89% are satisfied with their social lives.

Threshold offers an unparalleled, unique opportunity for young men and women to experience college in an environment that supports their unique learning profiles and prepares them for an independent life. Our alumni are the best evidence of the value of a postsecondary education, and we are honored to support and engage with them throughout their lives. Join us for an informational meeting to tour our campus and our new, accessible facilities and meet some of our wonderful students! The schedule of our info meetings can be found on our website.

Program information submitted a year or more ago

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
  • Are still enrolled in high school
Number of students: 70
Deadline to apply to this program: Rolling
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Threshold accepts students with a wide range of disabilities and diverse backgrounds
Program length: Varies from student to student
Average student tuition and fees for the current school year $41700.00
Room and board: $16750.00
Is this program able to provide federal financial aid as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)? No
Students pay for the program in the following ways:
  • Private pay (student and family)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Scholarships
  • Adult intellectual/developmental disability state agency funds
  • Local School District funds
  • Federal Financial Aid
Scholarships available:

We are able to provide scholarship assistance to 8-10 students per year through our endowed scholarship funds. Students must complete a FAFSA to be considered for scholarships and federal financial aid, including federal student loans.

Students take these types of "typical" courses (with students who don't have disabilities):
  • Typical college courses for credit
  • Typical college courses for audit
More about course access:

Students typically have an option to enroll in a university course during their 2nd year or postgraduate years of the program. Alumni also have access to university courses.

Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Information on special classes:

The Threshold curriculum is hands-on and skills-based. Students take courses in vocational, social, and independent living skills, art, fitness, physical and psychological well-being, and other key areas. Students also work in internships 2-4 days per week in the field of their choice.

Percentage of academic time spent only with other students in this program: About 75% of the time
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 24%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Community Service
  • Work Study
We offer the following specialized credentials:

Students who choose to specialize in early childcare take courses and complete internships that qualify them for state licensure as level 1 teachers in early education settings.

Housing is provided to students: Yes
Housing options available:
  • Specialized on campus
  • Depending on the year, dormitories may house only students in the program, or some undergraduates as well.

Students participate in student organizations on campus: Yes
Proportion of social time spent only with other students in this program: 50%
Students have participated in these social/extracurricular activities and organizations:

NCAA sports (Men's and Women's tennis, Men's and Women's track), dance team, gospel choir, LGBT organizations, many clubs.