Who is Thinking College?

Since the reauthorization of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (P.L.110-315) (HEOA), Inclusive Higher Education has grown into a national movement. Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are leaving high school expecting to go on to college and transition to work and community life. This is made possible with changes in laws, policies, and advanced understanding that encourage individuals with IDD to break with the societal limitations based upon old paradigms, perceptions, and stereotypes.

As today’s young adults with IDD transition into adulthood, many desire to meet the same adult and college goals inherent in post-secondary education:

  1. Advance intellectual and academic knowledge that lead to lifelong learning.
  2. Increase work experiences that lead to a career.
  3. Continue emotional and social growth leading to meaningful relationships, greater self-determination, and confidence.

In partnership with Metropolitan State University-Denver, the Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program (IHECP) launched the first inclusive college pilot program in Colorado on August 17, 2015. Using the Person Centered Planning model, students determine their area of study. College level curriculum is modified to meet the student’s learning needs. Students with IDD can now earn a certificate in their individualized area of study, seek meaningful employment through internships and apprenticeships, and gain life-long independence. Utilizing nationally recognized and established benchmarks, indicators and evidence, the IHECP can already track significant growth in our students in the areas of academics, independence, and social engagement on campus after just one semester.

Think College Colorado!

According to the Colorado Department of Education 2014 report, “Education Facts and Figures”, there are 889,006 K-12 students enrolled in Colorado; 92,241 students are categorized as “Special Education”. Of those students, it is estimated that approximately 6530 students could benefit from Inclusive College in Colorado.

The IHECP is a grassroots organization in Colorado, educating students, parents, K-12 schools, universities, community members, and employers about what our students can do rather than what they cannot do given an intellectual or developmental difference. We are increasing expectations for, and awareness of, our students’ participation as contributing citizens in our communities.


Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program

Raising Expectations. Transforming Lives.