Academic Year 2018-19
Senate Bill 16-196 created a program to establish inclusive higher education pilot programs at the University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Arapahoe Community College, for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As part of the bill, an annual report is compiled for the state legislature.
Below is the Executive Summary of the Fourth Annual Report on SB 16-196, the Colorado Inclusive Higher Education Pilot Program. This fourth report covers academic year 2018-19. To download the full report, click here.
SB 16-196 Colorado Inclusive Higher Education Pilot Program Executive Summary
Cordelia Robinson Rosenberg, Ph.D., RN
Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Background. Senate Bill 16-196 created a program to establish inclusive higher education Pilot programs at the University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Arapahoe Community College, for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The programs first admitted students in the fall of 2016 and currently have 61 students enrolled across the 3 IHEs. SB 16-196 came about through the collaborative efforts of parents of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and other stakeholders who formed a nonprofit, IN! Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education.SB 16-196 was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on June 2016 (link to download bill). The Act included several provisions: 1) State funds were provided to three “Pilot” IHE, ACC, UCCS, and UNC for each school to develop an inclusive higher education program for students with ID; 2)The goal was to grow to a total of 40 students served in this program at each institution over four years; 3) Annual funding of $75,000 goes to each of the IHE for the “Pilot” program and $25,000 goes to the CU School of Medicine, JFK Partners to evaluate the Program and produce an annual report. The funding is for five years ending with AY 20-21.
Evaluation Approach. The Evaluation of SB 16-196 involves the active participation of multiple stakeholders at the three pilot schools and IN! as a private nonprofit group of committed stakeholders. The Evaluation Plan includes four strategies that the three Pilots and IN! have adopted in collaboration with JFK Partners. It also includes information regarding the students admitted. These strategies include: Review of Program Standards; Documentation of Stakeholder Satisfaction with Pilots; Establishment 0f a Cross Pilot database; Consortium Meetings.
What is happening at Colorado schools?
Enrollment: 61 students at 3 colleges (UNC: 17, UCCS: 21, ACC: 23)
Academics: Students take 5-6 courses per year to earn certificates of Higher Education with an emphasis in their area of study. Certificates are 36, 54, or 72 credit hours.
Living: Students at UNC and UCCS live inclusively in the dorms or student apartments.
Social: Students participate on average in 4 activities per week, including student government, Greek like, student clubs, and athletics.
Employment: 74% of students had paid employment during AY 18-19. Average hours worked per week: 9.1. 100% of students participate in career development with internships and career readiness education.
Stakeholder Feedback: Feedback is obtained at the end of each semester from four stakeholder groups: students, parents, and faculty and peer mentors. The surveys are sent electronically through Survey Monkey although stakeholders are also able to request direct contact with the evaluator. All four groups of stakeholders are very positive about the experience. However, the surveys provide an opportunity for feedback that the IHE can respond to and modify program as needed. This feedback has resulted in the Pilots recognizing that the support provided to all four stakeholder groups has to be well defined. Students and Parents are generally very positive. Both groups recognize the growth in independence of the students. Faculty are generally very positive but over the course of the semesters have asked for more direction in how to support the students. Peer Mentors find the experience valuable and many have career goals in relationship to the field of developmental disabilities.
Obtain Comprehensive Transition and Post-Secondary Program Status. As of fall 2019 both ACC and UNC have been approved on CTP status. UCCS is still under review at the campus level. Development of a Uniform Credential. ACC developed a 36-hour three-year credential that has been approved by the Community College System and therefore is available should any of the other community colleges elect to provide staffing to support inclusive higher education students. The two four-year schools elected to join forces on specifying a 4-year 56-credit hour credential. As specified in the legislation these 56 hours include 2 general education courses each semester for 4 years plus the special course. The credentials have been accepted by each IHE.
Financial Sustainability. The experience to date indicates that the original financial sustainability model is not workable for several reasons: 1) enrollment of the projected number of students is not feasible especially during initial program development; 2) the amount of funding ($100,000 or $75,000) is not adequate to support the required number of staff necessary to support the core pillars of the program; 3) the special fees at UCCS and UNC are currently at the maximum amount that families can manage. However, the development of the fee for IHE inclusion approved by Vocational Rehabilitation is a very promising development for sustainability.
IN! Role in Development and Sustainability. The passage of SB 16-196 and the ongoing development of the Pilots needs to be credited in large measure to the vision and dedication of a group of committed parents and interested stakeholders who founded IN!. IN! sponsors an annual summer fundraiser that has been an occasion to celebrate the accomplishments of the students, IHE faculty and Pilot program faculty and staff. Some of these highlights may be viewed at inclusivehighered.org [this site].
Summary. The SB 16-196 Pilot programs have completed the first six semesters of development and have admitted their fourth cohort of students. Based upon that experience the programs have learned a number of things about how to develop and implement these programs. One of the major learnings has been how much effort is required to both develop program procedures and implement them at the same time. After taking on an ambitious number of new students in year 2, (26 new students), the Pilots scaled back new admissions in years 3 and 4.
In AY 18-19 each program added a staff member to focus on career pathways which resulted in increased capacity to support Pilot students in employment goals. Adding these personnel however also made it apparent how much development work is needed in employment in addition to individual student advisement.