Think College Standards, Quality Indicators, and Benchmarks for Inclusive Higher Education

Curious about getting involved in college? Here is a reference guide on how to create inclusive higher education! You can read it on or below! (The formatting did not translate well from the original page to here, so it might be better to click the link than to read below).

Think College Standards, Quality Indicators, and Benchmarks for Inclusive Higher Education THINK COLLEGE STANDARDS, QUALITY INDICATORS, AND BENCHMARKS FOR INCLUSIVE HIGHER EDUCATION Think College at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston has developed Standards, Quality Indicators, and Benchmarks for Inclusive Higher Education. Institutes of higher education can use these standards to create, expand, or enhance high quality, inclusive postsecondary education to support positive outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). Additionally, these standards can be used to as a framework to conduct and expand research on issues related to supporting students with ID in higher education. They are aligned with the definition of a comprehensive postsecondary and transition program for students with intellectual disabilities and reflect institutional and instructional practices that support a Universal Design for Learning framework as outlined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. STANDARD 1: ACADEMIC ACCESS To facilitate quality academic access for students with intellectual disabilities, the comprehensive postsecondary education program should: Quality Indicator 1.1: Provide access to a wide array of college course types that are attended by students without disabilities, including: 1.1A: Enrollment in non-credit-bearing, non-degree courses (such as continuing education courses) attended by students without disabilities. 1.1B: Auditing or participating in college courses attended by students without disabilities for which the student does not receive academic credit. 1.1C: Enrollment in credit-bearing courses offered by the institution attended by students without disabilities, when aligned with the student’s postsecondary plans. 1.1D: Access to existing courses rather than separate courses designed only for students with intellectual disabilities. 1.1E: College course access that is not limited to a pre-determined list. 1.1F: Participation in courses that relate to their personal, academic, and career goals as established through personcentered planning. 1.1G: Collection of objective evaluation data on college course participation. Quality Indicator 1.2: Address issues that may impact college course participation, including: 1.2A: College policies regarding placement tests, ability-to-benefit testing and prerequisites that negatively impact college course participation access. 1.2B: Access to and instruction in the use of needed public or personal transportation, such as public buses, taxis, paratransit, ride-sharing with other students, and other naturally occurring transportation options. 1.2C: Access to college disability services for accommodations typically provided by that office. 1.2D: Access to and instruction in the use of needed technology. 1.2E: Access to educational coaches who receive ongoing training and supervision. 1.2F: Access to peer support such as mentors, tutors, and campus ambassadors. 1.2G: Faculty training on universal design for learning principles. Quality Indicator 1.3: Provide students with the skills to access ongoing adult learning opportunities, including: 1.3A: Knowledge of the adult learning opportunities available in their community, such as college courses, community education, etc. 1.3B: Knowledge of resources available to assist them to access or fund adult learning opportunities in their community. STANDARD 2: CAREER DEVELOPMENT To facilitate career development leading to competitive employment for students with intellectual disabilities, the comprehensive postsecondary education program should:Think College Standards, Quality Indicators, and Benchmarks for Inclusive Higher Education Quality Indicator 2.1: Provide students with the supports and experiences necessary to seek and sustain competitive employment, including: 2.1A: The provision of person-centered planning to identify career goals. 2.1B: Access to job coaches and developers who receive ongoing training and supervision. 2.1C: Participation in time-limited internships or work-based training in settings with people without disabilities. 2.1D: Opportunity to participate in academically focused service learning experiences. 2.1E: Participation in paid work experiences related to personal choice and career goals, such as paid internships, workstudy, service learning, or other paid work on or off campus. 2.1F: Connection with community rehabilitation and other adult service providers to sustain employment. 2.1G: Collection of objective evaluation data on student employment. STANDARD 3: CAMPUS MEMBERSHIP: To facilitate campus membership for students with intellectual disabilities, the comprehensive postsecondary education program should: Quality Indicator 3.1: Provide access to and support for participation in existing social organizations, facilities, and technology, including: 3.1A: Campus programs, such as clubs and organizations, community service, religious life, student government, Greek system, co-curricular experiences, service learning, study abroad, student sports and entertainment events, recreational facilities and programs, etc. 3.1B: Residence life facilities and activities, including, when desired, the off-campus housing office. 3.1C: Technology for social communication, including email, texting, cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, Skype. 3.1D: Social activities facilitated by students without disabilities, who serve as natural supports. STANDARD 4: SELF-DETERMINATION To facilitate the development of self-determination in students with intellectual disabilities, the comprehensive postsecondary education program should: Quality Indicator 4.1: Ensure student involvement in and control of the establishment of personal goals that: 4.1A: Reflect student interests and desires as indicated by person-centered planning. 4.1B: Are reviewed regularly and modified as needed to reflect changes in student interests and preferences. 4.1C: Address accommodation and technology needs. 4.1D: Lead to outcomes desired by the student. 4.1E: Reflect family input when desired by the student. Quality Indicator 4.2: Ensure the development and promotion of the self-determination skills of students with intellectual disabilities as evidenced by students: 4.2A: Monitoring their own progress toward their personal goals. 4.2B: Directing their choice of courses, activities, and employment experiences. 4.2C: Being involved in course registration, accommodation requests, and payment of tuition. 4.2D: Being involved in all aspects of employment, such as creating a resume, setting up job interviews, making follow-up phone calls, negotiating job changes, etc. 4.2E: Interacting directly with faculty and employers including the articulation of needed accommodations. 4.2F: Managing personal schedules that include courses, employment, and social activities. Quality Indicator 4.3: Have a stated process for family involvement that reflects: 4.3A: Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for parents and students. 4.3B: A process for the provision of information to parents on resources, effective advocacy, and transition planning. 4.3C: Student control over how parents are involved with their experience. 4.3D: Adherence to the guidelines set forth by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).Think College Standards, Quality Indicators, and Benchmarks for Inclusive Higher Education STANDARD 5: ALIGNMENT WITH COLLEGE SYSTEMS AND PRACTICES To facilitate alignment with college systems and practices for students with intellectual disabilities, the comprehensive postsecondary education program should: Quality Indicator 5.1: As required in the HEOA, identify outcomes or offer an educational credential (e.g., degree or certificate) established by the institution for students enrolled in the program, including assurance that: 5.1A: Outcomes established by the program for achievement of an educational credential are measurable. 5.1B: Program outcomes are publicly available (e.g., brochure, website, program application). 5.1C: Courses and internships are related to achieving and maintaining gainful employment. 5.1D: Outcomes/credentials established by the program also address engagement in college community life, service opportunities, etc. Quality Indicator 5.2: Provide access to academic advising that: 5.2A: Uses person-centered planning in the development of a student’s course of study (curriculum structure). 5.2B: Reflects the institution’s policy for determining whether a student enrolled in the program is making satisfactory academic progress. 5.2C: Is aligned with the educational credential established by the institution for students enrolled in the program. Quality Indicator 5.3: Provide access to college campus resources, including: 5.3A: Admissions, registration, and orientation. 5.3B: College identification cards. 5.3C: Health and counseling centers, athletic center, information technology, career services, dining services, Greek system, clubs, student organizations, student government, etc. 5.3D: Co-curricular activities including practicum and learning communities. 5.3E: Support for participating in existing on- and off-campus university-owned or university-affiliated housing. 5.3F: Orientation, training, and resources for parents of incoming students. 5.3G: Campus shuttle buses to different campuses and the community. Quality Indicator 5.4: Collaborate with faculty and staff, including: 5.4A: Accessing existing professional development initiatives on campus (e.g., workshops on Universal Design for Learning principles). 5.4B: Offering expertise of the program staff and students to faculty, other college personnel, and students through trainings, course presentations, etc. Quality Indicator 5.5: Adhere to the college’s schedules, policies and procedures, public relations, and communications as evidenced by: 5.5A: Review of the college’s code of conduct with students. 5.5B: Participation of students in courses and/or social events during afternoons, evenings, and weekends. 5.5C: Participation of students in graduation exercises and experiences. 5.5D: Observation of college vacations and holidays, not local education agencies (if dual enrollment) or that of outside agencies. 5.5E: Recognition of students with intellectual disabilities as a representative population in the IHE’s diversity plan. 5.5F: The presence of students with ID on campus reflects the college’s commitment to diversity and has a presence in college communications, strategic plan, mission statement, president’s messages, and system reviews. STANDARD 6: COORDINATION AND COLLABORATION To facilitate collaboration and coordination, the comprehensive postsecondary education program should: Quality Indicator 6.1: Establish connections and relationships with key college/university departments, as evidenced by: 6.1A: Students with ID effectively using campus resources, such as disability services, financial aid services, course registration, academic advising, health services, and career services.6.1B: Program staff effectively using college infrastructure, such as IT support, maintenance, etc. 6.1C: Program staff being aware of the governance and administrative structures of the college or university that may impact the program. 6.1D: Program staff participating in faculty/staff governance or committees as part of their contribution to the college. Quality Indicator 6.2: Have a designated person to coordinate program-specific services of the comprehensive postsecondary education program, including: 6.2A: Scheduling and implementing interagency team meetings. 6.2B: Conducting person-centered planning and ensuring that the results of those meetings are infused into the students’ daily activities. 6.2C: Ensuring that data collection and program evaluation activities occur. 6.2D: Providing outreach to families. 6.2E: Providing training and supervision for educational coaches, job coaches, and job developers. STANDARD 7: SUSTAINABILITY To facilitate sustainability, the comprehensive postsecondary education program should: Quality Indicator 7.1: Use diverse sources of funding, including: 7.1A: Maintaining a relationship to the campus financial aid office. 7.1B: Ensuring that eligible students and families apply for financial aid. 7.1C: Providing information to students on sources of funds for tuition and other costs, such as National Service grants, work-study, use of Medicaid waiver funds, vocational rehabilitation, etc. 7.1D: Using state funds, IDEA funds, developmental services agency funds, family funds, private funds, and federal grant funds to provide core funding for the program. Quality Indicator 7.2: Have a planning and advisory team which: 7.2A: Includes representatives from the college, including administrators (deans, provosts, department chair), disability services, and faculty, as well as disability-specific agencies, relevant community agencies, local business leaders, workforce development providers, families, and students. 7.2B: Supports collaboration between the college and the program and with outside entities. 7.2C: Addresses program policies and practices (costs, access, partnerships) and student outcomes (data review) to ensure sustainability. 7.2D: Communicates regularly. STANDARD 8: ONGOING EVALUATION To facilitate quality postsecondary education services for students with intellectual disabilities, the comprehensive postsecondary program should: Quality Indicator 8.1: Conduct evaluation of services and outcomes on a regular basis, including: 8.1A: Collection of data from key stakeholders, such as students with and without disabilities, parents, faculty, disability services, and other college staff. 8.1B: Collection of student satisfaction data. 8.1C: Collection of student exit data. 8.1D: Collection of student follow-up data. 8.1E: Review of all data compiled by the advisory team and other stakeholders. 8.1F: Implementation of program changes as a result of data review. http://www.thinkcollege.net Insert from: Framing the Future: A Standards-Based Conceptual Framework for Research and Practice in Inclusive Higher Education. Think College Insight Brief, Issue No. 10, 2011. Grigal, M., Hart, D., & Weir, C., (2011). Think College Standards Quality Indicators, and Benchmarks for Inclusive Higher Education. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.

Fast Fact Tuesday- School Accommodations and Modifications! (Eng/Esp)

It is Tuesday, which means it is time for another informative Fast Fact!

If you do not know what Fast Facts are, they are information sheets written by the Family Voices Staff to help guide you through the “what now?” To see our entire page of Fast Facts, click the link here.

This week we are featuring School Accommodations and Modifications! You can view it here, or down below.

Espanol, here.

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National Trends in Disability Employment, 2014 review

Curious about the trends in employment for people with disabilities? You can find more information here or down below! (Resourced from Research on Disability).

National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE): 2014 Year-in-Review

by Penny Gould | Feb 05, 2015


National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE): 2014 Year-in-Review and 2015 Outlook

2014 has Optimistic End for Workers with Disabilities

DURHAM, NH – Although 2014 was a tough year overall for jobseekers with disabilities, the last three months show considerable improvement in employment rates, fueling optimistic expectations for 2015. These findings are detailed in this special year-in-review edition of the National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE). Released monthly in conjunction with the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, nTIDE is a collaborative effort of Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD) that compares the employment of Americans with disabilities with their peers without disabilities.

For Americans with disabilities, two key indicators showed declines this year – the employment-to-population ratio and the labor force participation rate. In 2014, the average monthly employment-to-population ratio—the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population—declined for people with disabilities to 26.0 percent, from 26.8 percent in 2013. This downward trend dates back to 2010, the first year annual comparisons became available. In contrast, for Americans without disabilities, the average monthly employment-to-population ratio rose from 70.7 percent in 2013 to 71.7 percent in 2014, continuing an upward trend that began in 2012.

For people with disabilities, the average monthly labor force participation rate—the percentage of people who are working or actively looking for work—dropped to 30.2 percent, down from 31.4 percent in 2013, continuing a downward trend that began in 2010.  Among people without disabilities, the average labor force participation rate remained constant at 76.2 percent in 2013 and 2014, a halt in the decline that started in 2010.

“These annual numbers are consistent with an overall downward trend in the employment outlook for people with disabilities, raising concern that people with disabilities were not participating in the recovery from the Great Recession,” said Andrew Houtenville, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics at UNH-IOD. At the end of 2014, however, these two key indicators turned positive for jobseekers with disabilities. October’s employment-to-population ratio was higher than in October 2013.  This positive news continued into November and December. In addition, December 2014 saw the first rise in the labor force participation rate since December 2013.

“The latter part of 2014 was strikingly positive and we are eager to see whether the good news continues in 2015,” said John O’Neill, Ph.D., Director of Employment and Disability Research at Kessler Foundation. “Initiatives from nonprofits and corporations are underway to boost the training, hiring and retention of talented individuals with disabilities.”

Ongoing efforts in the federal, public and private sectors are expanding job opportunities for people with disabilities on a large scale. Highlights of 2014 and previews of 2015 include:

  • In 2010, President Obama issued a mandate to government employers and federal contractors to add 100,000 individuals with disabilities to the workforce over the next five years. A report by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management stated that in 2013, people with disabilities were added to the federal payroll at a rate higher than for any other period in the last three decades. A total of 234,395 federal workers with disabilities were hired in the first three years of the mandate. Entering 2015, the disability field as well as the government will be monitoring the mandate’s impact.
  • Tom Harkin, while Senator and chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, set a goal to increase the workforce participation of people with disabilities from 4.9 million to 6 million workers in 2015—an increase of more than 20 percent. To reach this goal, the U.S. workforce must add a million workers with disabilities.
  • Two pieces of legislation—the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act—were implemented to remove barriers for jobseekers with disabilities. With WIOA, more individuals with disabilities will have access to job training and employment services. Section 503 prevents federal contractors from discriminating against jobseekers with disabilities and encourages setting a hiring goal to have 7 percent of their workforce comprised of people with disabilities.
  • Private funding is also supporting disability employment initiatives. At the close of 2014, Kessler Foundation awarded $2.1 million in grants to organizations across the nation to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. ServiceSource of Florida’s “Warrior Bridge Brain Injury Demonstration Project,” for example, will increase community integration, self-sufficiency and employment outcomes for individuals with brain injury, including veterans. “21 and Able,” an initiative of United Way of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, will build the capacity of businesses to employ and retain young people with disabilities.

“Supporting initiatives that lead to large numbers of hires is essential to enabling more people with disabilities to earn a paycheck and contribute to the economy,” said Elaine E. Katz, Senior Vice President of Grants and Communications. “Programs that develop the job skills of young people with disabilities and work with employers to aid in accommodations are essential to supporting the transition from school to careers. By starting interventions early, we will be fixing the problem before it even begins.”

  • Global organizations are implementing initiatives that increase the hiring and retention of people with disabilities. In 2013, Kessler Foundation awarded $450,000 to Ability Beyond to partner with PepsiCo’s initiative, Pepsi ACT (Achieving Change Together). In the project’s first year, people with disabilities found lasting employment as managers, loaders, mechanics and merchandisers in the pilot locations in Houston, TX, Burnsville, MN and Las Vegas, NV. Employees earn competitive wages.
  • July 26, 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To assess the effects of the ADA on employment, Kessler Foundation awarded $500,000 to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to conduct the “Kessler Foundation National Employment Survey on the Status of Americans with Disabilities.” The survey will help determine what services are useful in securing employment. Kessler Foundation and UNH will announce the survey results in June on Capitol Hill.

“We know that millions of individuals with disabilities want to work and have the ability to succeed,” saidRodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. “They just need the opportunity. This survey will guide government leaders and the disability field in developing strategies to create these necessary opportunities. When more Americans of all abilities are working, the economy will flourish.”

The next nTIDE Report will be released on February 6, 2015.

NOTE:  The statistics in the National Trends in Disability Employment are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, but are NOT identical. They are customized by the University of New Hampshire to efficiently combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64).

nTIDE is funded, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (H133B130015 & H133B120005) and Kessler Foundation.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

About the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire

The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. For information on the NIDRR-funded Employment Policy and Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, visit

For more information, or to interview an expert, contact:

Lauren Scrivo, 973.768.6583,
Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382,

Making Colorado a better place for children and youth with special health care needs


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