Statewide Strategic Planning: Promoting Postsecondary Education Options for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Insight: A Think College Brief on Policy, Research, & Practice

Publication Date



University of Massachusetts



First Page


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Inclusive postsecondary education (PSE) for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) has gained momentum nationally. While once a dream for youth with ID, many individuals are now attending college/university and receiving essential supports to enable their participation in the academic, social, residential, and recreational aspects of college life. Postsecondary opportunities vary by state, with activities ranging from strategic planning to pilot projects to established programs. In an effort to support the continued growth in postsecondary options across the country, Think College funded Statewide Strategic Planning grants to 18 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) in 18 states from 2010 to 2012. These $15,000 grants were funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This brief provides guidance for others interested in embarking on a strategic planning process to increase PSE options. It synthesizes the experiences of the UCEDDs in Kansas, Illinois, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, all of which received Think College Statewide Strategic Planning grants in 2011. These five centers identified effective, replicable strategic planning activities that can help others develop or expand inclusive postsecondary initiatives. In each state, the statewide strategic planning process created a sense of urgency and expectation of success by fostering movement out of organizational and individual comfort zones and into new ways of thinking. Looking at ways to increase postsecondary education options for students with intellectual disabilities became a conversation about possibilities and new frameworks for success for youth with ID.

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