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University Participant (UP) Program

University Participant (UP) Program
Western Carolina University
University Participant (UP) Program
1 University Drive
Killian 205
Cullowhee, NC 28723
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Program Contact Dr. Kelly R. Kelley
Phone 828.227.3297

The WCU UP program is designed to provide a two-year, on-campus living and learning experience for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities between the ages of 18 and 25. During the two year period, participants complete requirements for receiving a UP Certificate of Accomplishment based on the successful completion of an Individual Plan for College Participation. The program uses person-centered planning, paid, and natural supports to provide fully inclusive living and learning college experiences.

Public or private: Public
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: 8
Description of our summer transition program:

We offer a spring orientation training and invite conditionally accepted applicants for the fall semester to come while WCU students are already on campus and get oriented to a typical college week.

Deadline to apply to this program: December 1 for the upcoming fall semester
Requirements for admission to this program:
  • Other diploma (e.g., IEP diploma, certificate of attendance)
  • 18-25
Accepts out-of-state students?: Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy and other Developmental Disabilities
Program length: 2 years
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Percent of students applying who are admitted: 29%
Retention rate: 117%
Cost of the program: The tuition rate is the same rate for UP students as it is for all WCU students both in and out of state. We also benefit from the NC Promise Tuition initiative for in state students of $500 and $2500 for out of state tuition per semester. There are additional fees for support, room and board, meal plan selections, and required student activity fees that all undergraduate students pay. The estimated cost depends on the campus housing location and room types as well as meal plans selected. Please see to learn more.
Additional costs: $5,000.00
With individualized support and residential options to access all campus events, a UP support fee of $2500 per semester is required along with estimated costs described above.
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)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Scholarships
  • Adult intellectual/developmental disability state agency funds
  • Federal Financial Aid
  • Grant Funding
  • Medicaid Waiver or Day Habilitation funds
Scholarships available:

Scholarships pending availability when given from generous donors through our Office of Development

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

UP students audit all college classes with their peers. We do not have separate classroom instruction. All goals and any additional individualized instruction needs are facilitated by our natural supports (same age peers sharing common living and learning experiences together) rather than our program staff or faculty.

Time spent only with other students in this program: Less than 25% of the time
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: UP Certificate of Accomplishment
The credential(s) is/are:
  • Approved by Institute of Higher Education
  • Continuing education credential
  • Just for students in this program
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 100%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
  • Work Study
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 100%
Housing is provided to students: Yes
Housing options available:
  • Inclusive on campus
  • Inclusive off campus
Students participate in student organizations on campus: Yes
Proportion of time spent only with other students in this program: None of the time
Students have participated in these social/extracurricular activities and organizations:

Fraternities, sororities, traveling swim team, football team traveling and sidelines, Equestrian Club, Comic Book and Pokemon Clubs, Intramurals, United Sound, religious organizations, Bible studies, etc. All activities are based on student interest

Last updated: Monday, January 27, 2020 - 09:04