Why College?

People go to college for lots of reasons. Some people want to get a job that requires a college education. Other people go to college because they’re not sure what to do next and figure taking classes might help them sort out what to do with their lives. There are some people who go to college because everyone else they know is going and still others go initially to meet new people. Finally, some people go to college because they know that putting that experience on their resume will look good. And they’re right. In fact, any of these reasons is a good reason to try college. A college experience is good for anyone who wants to learn, meet people, and prepare for a job and make money.

Institute for Community Inclusion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx9i7Hn8zlI

When is the best time to think about life after high school?

We encourage students, parents, and families to consider all of the possible options, regardless of ability or disability, including a post-secondary education option for anyone who desires higher education after high school. This could be a college/university experience, a technical school or auditing classes. Planning can begin as early as 5th or 6th grade!

What is the Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program and who is eligible for admission?

The IHECP has launched the first program of its kind in Colorado. The Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program (IHECP) at MSU Denver is providing a fully inclusive college experience for students with different intellectual or developmental abilities who do not meet the university requirements for admission as degree-seeking students.

  • IHECP participants enroll in MSU Denver courses as non-degree seeking students
  • IHECP students receive individualized accommodations and modifications to their inclusive coursework
  • IHECP students participate in social activities and events, career exploration, vocational apprenticeships and internships, and expanded independence skills training
  • IHECP culminates in an Inclusive Higher Education Certificate in the student’s field of study

The goal of the Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program is to broaden the career options and opportunities for our students with intellectual disabilities in inclusive, age-appropriate settings.

What are the admissions criteria?

In order to be considered for Academic Coaching, Inclusive Support Services, or College Prep, a potential student must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a documented disability that interferes with academic performance
  • Complete and submit the IHECP application with three non-family references, followed by an interview with the IHECP
  • Demonstrate a desire and motivation to pursue continuing education, employment skills, and life experiences through postsecondary education
  • Demonstrate the ability to learn independently in classroom and work settings as determined by the IHECP
  • Be able to participate in 90-minute college classes with accommodations, if necessary, and function independently for a 2-hour time period in multiple environments
  • Demonstrate a willingness to complete assignments with support
  • Be able to negotiate a college campus independently
  • Be able to adjust to and handle change
  • Exhibit no behaviors or emotional issues that would impact school performance, safety, positive classroom environment or that violate the IHECP’s or partner college and/or university Student Code of Conduct
  • Agree to actively participate in assessments, including academic, adaptive, employment and independence
  • Be able to be successful in competitive employment situations with minimal support
  • Be willing to be in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation process
  • Agree to have story, progress, and outcomes shared with the general community. (Identifying information will be disclosed only with prior approval.)

What is the admission process?

Interested IHECP and College Prep applicants must apply for admission.

Application packets can be obtained by contacting IHECP. Please email or call our office to schedule an appointment.

Once the completed application packet has been received and reviewed, selected candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview.  The IHECP Steering Committee reviews application materials and determines who is accepted into the program based on materials and information submitted, and the student interview.

Click here to apply now!

Are college entrance exams (Accuplacer, SAT, ACT) required to apply?

No. The IHECP is for students who cannot pass a college entrance exam due to an intellectual or developmental disability. Students who wish to attend college with IHECP support must complete the application packet and follow the application process.

Is the IHECP accredited?

It is the goal of the IHECP to have all partner institutions of higher education complete the CTP “Certified Transition Program” process and be approved. CTP status allows students who qualify to apply for and receive Pell Grants and federal financial aid. “The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), includes provisions related to the eligibility of students with intellectual disabilities to participate in the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study (FWS), and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) programs.”

How much does each program cost?

Please contact us directly for more information about programming costs. Click here to contact us.

How do parents and families pay for the program?

At this time, IHECP students are able to pay through private pay or scholarships.

Is financial assistance available?

Scholarship funds are available through the Scholarship Real Estate – IHECP Foundation. Click here to contact us for more resources on financial assistance. 

Is the IHECP a certificate program?

Yes.  Students who complete the program requirements will receive a certificate in the area of their individualized course of study.

How does a student determine his course of study?

We work the student and his/her family, utilizing the person-centered planning process, to assist the student in determining his area of interest and course of study.

Is this a residential or commuter program?

The IHECP at Metro State is designed as a commuter program.  Students generally live at home and commute to campus.

Do the IHECP students follow a 9 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday schedule?

No. Each IHECP student has an individualized college schedule. This is a true college experience. Depending on the student’s course schedule, internship, and social events calendar, each day may look completely different.

Who will be teaching the coursework?​​​​​​​

Metro State University courses are taught by MSU Denver professors and faculty. IHECP courses are taught by IHECP certified teachers with a Master’s degree.

How much assistance and support will my student receive?

The IHECP and College Prep courses encourage independence. Students are supported appropriately by staff, student mentors and tutors. Students are encouraged to take more responsibility as they gain increased confidence and independence.

What is a Mentor?​​​​​​​

Individuals from the Metro State student body are selected to serve as peer mentors. Mentors assist students both academically and socially with support to become fully integrated into the college community. The IHECP provides paid academic mentors as well as volunteer social and activities mentors.

Are tutors available to students?​​​​​​​

Yes. IHECP students have access to peer tutors through the tutoring center. Tutoring times will be scheduled with the assistance of the IHECP facilitators. IHECP students access on-campus tutoring, writing centers, computer labs, and career services with support from staff as well as participate in individualized study sessions with staff and peers.

How can families get involved in supporting their son or daughter’s educational goals?

Emails are sent weekly informing parents about course work and assignments. Parents and family members can play an important role in reinforcing at home what is being learned in the program. Click here to sign up for the IHECP Newsletter. 

Do I have to give up my transition program to attend College Prep?​​​​​​​

No. Many students and families find it beneficial to enroll in “College Prep” courses concurrently with their school district’s transition program.

Can Social Security, SSI, Medicaid waivers be used to pay for inclusive college?

Currently, government funds do not pay directly for inclusive post-secondary education in Colorado. Medicaid Waiver:  Overall, Medicaid funds cannot be used for tuition and fees but it may be possible to use Medicaid Waiver funds to pay for student support services such as mentors, physical or occupational therapy, transportation and supported employment. Check with your community-centered board case manager. Also, qualifying students can create a PASS Fund.

The Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) program allows Social Security beneficiaries to exclude income that is being used to assist the person in returning to work. Under a PASS, income is set aside for current or future expenses of training, equipment, services, or supports – including college – as long as it is related to a specified employment goal.

A PASS is an SSI work incentive that lets you use your own income or assets to help you reach your work goals. For example, you could set aside money to go to school to get specialized training for a job or to start a business. A plan is meant to help you get items, services, or skills you need to reach your goals.”

Link to more information on PASS: www.passplan.org

Are students allowed to join sports teams and clubs?​​​​​​​

Yes. IHECP students who have been accepted as an institution of higher education students have full access to campus amenities, services, activities, clubs, social groups, fraternities, sororities, etc.​​​​​​​

Will there be support for participating in clubs and activities after school hours, including team sports, games or concerts?​​​​​​​

Yes. Social and Activities Mentors can be available to support students in after school activities.​​​​​​​

At this point in my son’s development, I do not feel he has the skills necessary to complete the application on his own. I am providing support by discussing the questions with him and completing the forms on his behalf. Is this a problem?​​​​​​​

This is not a problem. Many, if not all of our students, need assistance completing the IHECP application. However, we are trying to get a sense of a student’s ability to answer personal questions, as well as their writing and communication styles, through the application process and student questionnaire. It is very appropriate for you to scribe for your son, but we are looking for how he would answer the questions — not how a parent would answer the questions. Please make sure to indicate that you acted as his scribe for that portion of the application.

In the student admissions criteria, there are a few requirements that I am not sure can be accurately conveyed by my daughter independently nor met currently. Specifically, “Demonstrate a desire and motivation to pursue continuing education, employment, and life experiences through secondary education” and “Be able to negotiate a college campus independently.” My daughter will tell you she wants to work, be married and be a mom. Conveying to the committee that she plans to reach that goal by pursuing secondary education is not likely.

In the “demonstrate the desire and motivation” criteria, we are looking for a student who likes school and who wants to continue his or her learning beyond high school or transition. A student’s desire to continue formal education is the best predictor for success in our program. We love to hear that a student “wants to go to college to learn about . . . ” during our application and interview process. A student’s decision to move forward with other life experiences after postsecondary education is also welcomed — we do not expect all students to pursue a degree.

As far as negotiating the campus, we expect students to be safe on campus for up to 90 minutes after initial training. This is an area where you will need to feel that your student can be independent after training. Your student will be independently walking from the light rail or bus to her classroom (travel training provided), walking to lunch and back to the classroom with or without peers after learning about the campus layout.

My son’s grandmother would like to buy him a laptop for high school graduation. Can you tell me if there are specific software programs that he will need if he is accepted or if you have a recommendation as to what type of device (laptop or otherwise) would best support his learning?

A laptop is an awesome graduation gift! All IHECP students need a functioning laptop that is internet ready and has space to hold approximately 5GB of software. We provide Microsoft Office 365, an email address, beginning training in Office 365 apps and productivity software, and access to all coursework and reading materials on NEO, our learning management system, as part of our instructional package. Additional assistive technology apps (Quizlet, Grammarly, Natural Reader or Read/Write text-to-speech software) will be downloaded to your student’s laptop during assistive technology training.

Most students and staff use a PC. We suggest going an inexpensive route with an up-to-date operating system (Windows 10), wireless internet connectivity, a plug-in for headphones, HDMI and USB ports, as well as a strong battery life. However, unless a student has exceptional digital literacy skills, we advise against a Chromebook for a student’s on-campus laptop due to differences in accessing and formatting​​​​​​​ documents.

Please note: we do not set up or troubleshoot personal devices (phones, laptops, etc.) beyond assisting the student to download and operate IHECP software and assistive technology apps for trial purposes.

Additional Questions? 

Please contact us at Info@IHECP.org or click here to send us a note. 

Prospective Students

Student Services

Our university student services are designed to provide individualized supports for students with learning, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.
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Events and open houses help the IHECP raise awareness about our student support services available on the downtown Denver Auraria Campus. Join us at one of our on-campus open houses or student activities.
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Get Involved

Your support makes the IHECP possible for students with learning, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. Whether you volunteer on campus, become a paid student mentor, or donate to support our students, you will be surprised at what a huge difference you can make.
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