Programs in Tennessee

Inclusive Higher Education Programs in Tennessee

Next Steps at Vanderbilt University is a four-year certification program for students with intellectual disabilities, providing individualized Programs of Study in the areas of education, social skills, and vocational training. The goal of the program is to broaden the career options and opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities in inclusive, age-appropriate settings. It also is a comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) program, which means students may be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs.

TigerLIFE at The University of Memphis is a two-year certification program for students with intellectual disabilities, providing individualized Programs of Study in the areas of education, social skills, and vocational training. The TigerLIFE program is administered by the University of Memphis Institute on Disability (UMID) whose purpose is to assist people with physical and developmental disabilities find meaningful and lasting employment. It also is a comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) program, which means students may be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs.

University of Tennessee FUTURE Postsecondary Education Program is designed as a two-year nonresidential program culminating in a University of Tennessee FUTURE Program Vocational Certificate and job placement. The program provides individualized academic, social, vocational, and independent living skills to students ages 18-29 with intellectual disabilities and autism in east Tennessee who completed high school without earning a regular high school diploma. It also is a comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) program, which means students may be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs.

The IDEAL Program at David Lipscomb University seeks to provide education and career development to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities while encouraging friendships and increased independent skills that lead to a better quality of life. Students between the ages of 18-26 who have completed high school and have an intellectual or developmental disability are eligible. It also is a comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) program, which means students may be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs.

The EDGE Program at Union University is a two-year certification program for students ages 18-26 who have completed high school and who have a documented intellectual and/or developmental disability. The Union EDGE Program is a residential or non-residential program designed to aid in career development skills and employment skills. Students will audit college courses, participate in life skills classes, work in on-campus and off-campus internships, and experience the full range of college life. It also is a comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) program, which means students may be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs.

Access ETSU at East Tennessee State University is the latest addition to the TN IHE Alliance and provides students who have intellectual and developmental disabilities with similar college experiences as their same-age peers. In partnership with area school systems, local agencies, and the ETSU Community, Access ETSU offers these students access to environments that will prepare them not only for smooth transition outcomes, but for enhanced life outcomes. Each student’s educational program is based on a person-centered individualized planning process. Each student chooses coursework and vocational preparation options based upon their interests and strengths.

Tennessee Technology Center (TTC) includes 27 campuses across the state. The TTC at Nashville has partnered with the Next Steps at Vanderbilt program to enroll students with intellectual disabilities who are interested in pursuing supplemental certificates in approved technical training areas. To determine if training opportunities like this exist in your area, contact LeAnn Blevins

 

Financial Information for Families

Federal Financial Aid
Next Steps at Vanderbilt, University of Tennessee FUTURE, TigerLIFE at the University of Memphis, Lipscomb’s IDEAL,  the Union Edge Program, and Access ETSU are all federally approved Comprehensive Transition Programs. This status enables eligible students to apply for Federal Financial Aid. The Federal Student Aid website has added a page explaining financial aid for students with ID following this link provides further assistance.

Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship
Eligible students may also qualify for the Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship. The STEP UP Scholarship will award $4,000 per year for up to two years, and is available to Tennessee residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have received a diploma or certificate from a Tennessee high school within 16 months of enrolling in qualified postsecondary programs. For more information, click here.

Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Department
Vocational Rehabilitation Services recognizes the valuable job readiness training and experiences that Next Steps provides. The department piloted a $2,400 per semester award in Transitional Learning Services funds during the 2014-2015 academic year. Currently VR is reviewing this funding assistance. Announcement of continued assistance levels is expected by summer 2015. All Next Steps students are required to apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Assistance in becoming a vocational rehabilitation client can be found at the Tennessee Department of Human Services website.

 

Research Initiative Updates

Click here to view September 2020’s Tennessee Inclusive Higher Education Alliance research initiative updates. The Google Doc will be edited as more information becomes available.