The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the School of Public Health at Georgia State University a $2.5 million, five-year grant to support a consortium of universities working to improve access to higher education for students with intellectual disabilities.
The Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium, based at the school’s Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), will provide organization, community education, start-up funding, and statewide training and technical assistance for colleges and universities seeking to establish programs for these students.
This is the second round of five-year grants from the U.S. Department of Education, known as the Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID). The program originated in 2010 in response to changes in the federal Higher Education Act.
Dr. Daniel Crimmins, director of the Center for Leadership in Disability and project director on the grant, said that until recently, when students with intellectual disabilities reached college age, they saw friends leave to pursue university studies, while they remained in high school-based programs. One program opened at Kennesaw State University in 2009, but it took several years of effort before three additional programs began in the past year.
“I am immensely proud of the work that has been done so far to expand from three students six years ago to almost 50 this semester, but there are so many other students out there who are looking for the chance,” Crimmins said. “This award will allow us to work with other universities to continue to develop programs that will allow more students to be ‘included’ in college life and to meet their potential to be productive citizens.”
Crimmins said the goal of the grant is to build the capacity to develop 10 TPSID programs that will be able to serve 100 new students per year across Georgia. Universities planning to develop these programs include: University of Georgia, Columbus State University, Georgia Southern University, East Georgia State College, Albany Technical College and Georgia State, with four others to be named.
The Center for Leadership in Disability is one of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities of the Administration on Community Living. Since 2008, it has been housed in the Center for Healthy Development and the School of Public Health at Georgia State.
CLD is a bridge between university and community in support of effective practices that improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. CLD educates current and future advocates and professionals, develops innovative supports and services, promotes systems change, conducts research and disseminates information.