Students with disabilities planning to attend college or a university have several options in Indiana. Those students graduating with a diploma can explore certificate and degree programs offered by Ivy Tech Community College's many campuses or the state's four-year universities. Requirements and eligibility for enrollment vary with the institution and the level of diploma the student has achieved.
Experiences for Students in Transition
In addition, six Indiana college programs are part of a nationwide initiative coordinated by Think College and funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education to promote postsecondary exploration and participation for students with developmental or intellectual disabilities. An Inspire student at Franklin College.
Think College is a national organization dedicated to improving higher education options for people with intellectual disabilities. The organization and its Hoosier affiliate Think College Indiana, support evidence-based practice by sharing knowledge, guiding change, informing public policy, and engaging with students, professionals, and families.
In Indiana, the six postsecondary programs for students with cognitive/intellectual disabilities vary. Some are transition programs that work closely with nearby school systems to identify students who would benefit from being included in work, social events, and academic activities on campus. These programs usually accept students in their final year of high school who will be leaving school with a Certificate of Completion. Other programs accept students who have already graduated or left their high schools.
Components of many of the Indiana programs include peer mentoring, the chance to attend or audit college courses, and work experiences on or off campus. Some programs are also providing a residential option for students accepted to the university who are working to obtain a certificate or degree.
To see what these postsecondary programs can offer, take a look at this video from Huntington University's ABLE program.
Indiana Colleges and Universities Offering Campus Experience Programs
INSPIRE Franklin College Franklin, IN Contact: Lisa Whytlow-Hill 317-738-7006
SITE Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IN Contact: Gwen Chesterfield 317.695-5045
For more information on the programs listed above, visit the Think College website or contact us at CCLC@indiana.edu.
Academic Programs for Degree-Seeking Students
If you are an Indiana student with a disability who is graduating with a Core 40 Diploma or a General Diploma, you might be planning to attend a 2-year college or a university to begin work toward a certificate or academic degree.
Ivy Tech Community Colleges as well as several other 2-year colleges around the state offer training programs for students who want to build their skills and knowledge and earn a certificate in careers such as welding, radiology technician, automotive maintenance, and culinary and hospitality employment. Two-year and community colleges also offer courses for students seeking a bachelor's degree or for those who want to start with the basics and then transfer later to a university program.
Whether you're seeking a certificate or an academic degree, be sure to plan ahead. Talk to your parents, your academic advisor, and if you've applied for and are eligible for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, talk to your Indiana VR counselor too. You'll want to:
have a financial plan for tuition and books as well as room and board if you're not commuting, and
talk to the disability services office at each school where you plan to submit an application.
Some Indiana colleges and universities have additional programs to include and support students with disabilities. Some offer peer mentoring and academic tutoring programs, for instance, that recognize individual challenges and offer additional supports on campus for managing schedules or connecting with social groups.