New College Programs Developed through TPSID Funding

six students standing in front of a large university building

The US Department of Education awarded 22 new Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability (TPSID) in October 2020. Six of those grants went to universities that would use the funds to establish new programs. Less than one year later, it is exciting to see these programs accepting their inaugural class of students. We asked each program for a status report as they get up and running, and we were impressed with what is going on!

University of Illinois Chicago is currently serving two students (started Fall 2021) in a pilot phase of their Co-Op certificate program. They are looking forward to accepting a full cohort soon. Program coordinator Kaitlyn Stober says “We’re excited to start this year with a completed program model based on a Disability Studies framework, and we’ve made great strides towards university approval so our program can become an accredited academic program!”

University of North Texas ELEVAR welcomed its first cohort of 5 students in Fall 2021. Brenda Barrio, the program director, shared that all five of the students are living at the University of North Texas' Legends Hall among traditional UNT students and enrolled in college courses including Introduction to Broadcasting, Cable and Internet Technology, Sociology of Sport, Introduction to Professional Food Preparation, Leadership in Recreation, Event, and Sport Management, and Lighting and Sound (Theater). Students have also begun internships or are preparing for them. Noah's internship is with the UNT Men's Basketball team (major: Sport Management), John interviewed with the Recreation Center this week (major: Athletic Training), Gosha interviewed with the university's Chef for dining halls for a paid position (major: Hospitality Management), Lucas is practicing and making videos for his upcoming theater audition (major: Theater), and Alex is researching possible media jobs (major: Media Arts). They have started connecting with traditional students through the UNT ELEVAR Peer Ally Program - with over 30 traditional students signing up in less than 2 weeks. It sounds like things are off to a great start at UNT.

Further south in the state, Texas A&M University-San Antonio also admitted a cohort of five new students in January 2021. They report a successful first semester even though they had their start during the COVID-19 pandemic. The students also had a successful summer residence hall experience. The program director Patrick Kelley tells us that they are actively in the recruiting process for their second cohort, scheduled to begin in January 2022.

University of California Davis welcomed their first cohort of 12 students for Fall Quarter. Beth Foraker, program coordinator, shared their brand-new, updated website that shares lots of helpful information about this 4-year residential program and features a picture of the 12 Redwood SEED Scholars.

Georgian Court University in New Jersey also utilized their TPSID funds to get their program started this Fall. All four students have a full course load and are living on campus.

University of NH 4U has begun with 4 students, 3 living in the Residence Halls. TPSID grant Principal Investigator Tobey Davies shares that each of the students have chosen an area of study for their time in the program - one is studying Earth Science, one student is focusing on Physical Education, one on Public Relations and the other Nutrition. Students have 11 credits each. They are taking classes in their area of academic interest as well as a Career and Professional Seminar and an Academic Success and Wellness Seminar. The seminars are considered supervised learning, the scopes of which are unique to each student, based on their person-centered plans.

Minot State University in North Dakota is investing its TPSID grant funds towards the establishment of new college programs in the Northern Plains of the United States. This fall, new programs at Bismarck State University and Dakota College at Bottineau accepted their first students.

It is exciting to see these new initiatives starting and hear about the positive things that are already happening for these new students. Of course, great work is being done by all the TPSID grantees, with the remaining 16 grantees continuing to operate their programs as well. Learn more about ALL the current TPSID grantees.