Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE)
Inclusive college programs across the state offer students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) a variety of experiences and opportunities for growth as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives. Transition planning should include college and begin as early as possible during their middle and high school years. With inclusive programs, referred to as Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE), students with I/DD can now realize their dream of continuing their studies in a university or collegesetting with their peers.
The Include College campaign, supported by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) with support to its Five Year Plan goal of education, wants to spread the word about the possibilities now open to students with I/DD in Georgia. Visit the Include College website to find out what parents need to know, firsthand stories from students and parents, and a roadmap to success at including college in your plans. Information about each school's program is offered below to help you understand your college options.
GCDD is also the legislative lead for the Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium (GAIPSEC). The Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium (GAIPSEC) seeks to create opportunities for students who have historically not had access to post-secondary educational opportunities. The consortium works with members of diverse communities to help higher education institutions implement programs that extend the dream of higher education to young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
For more information, contact Starr Bruner/ Transition Director at
The following colleges and universities in Georgia welcome students with intellectual and developmental disabilities:
Kennesaw State University Academy for Inclusive Learning (Kennesaw)
The Kennesaw State University Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth offers a fully inclusive 2 year college experience to students with intellectual or developmental disabilities who do not meet the university requirements for admission as a degree seeking student. The program includes enrollment as non-degree seeking audit students in typical university courses alongside degree seeking students and includes social integration, career exploration and training resulting in a Certificate of Social Growth and Development. For more information, call 470.578.2283, email or visit http://wellstarcollege.kennesaw.edu/academy/
Columbus State University GOALS Program (Columbus)
The Guidance and Opportunities for Academic and Leadership Success (GOALS) Program at Columbus State University is a two-year certificate program that provides a college experience for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Typical applicants are those who received special education services for a developmental disability (i.e., intellectual disability) through most of their K-12 schooling and have graduated high school with an alternative diploma (i.e., special education diploma, certificate of attendance, etc.). Using a person-centered planning process, GOALS provides students with developmental disabilities the opportunity to set and work toward their personal post-secondary goals as a foundation for active, lifelong career and community participation. The GOALS Program at CSU represents an inclusive, university-based program built upon the four principles of personal advocacy, career development, health education, and civic engagement. For more information, call 706.565.1408, email or visit https://te.columbusstate.edu/goals.php
East Georgia State College CHOICE Program (Swainsboro)
Creating Higher Education Opportunities to Increase College Experiences (CHOICE) is a 2 year non-degree inclusion college program at East Georgia State College designed to provide students, who may traditionally be excluded from postsecondary education, the opportunity to participate in college classes and develop work-readiness employment skills. East Georgia State College staff and faculty strive to help students succeed by approaching education with a personal touch. The staff of the CHOICE Program for Inclusive Learning embraces this approach and strives to provide participants with a rewarding college experience filled with student activities and small classes with faculty who are dedicated to teaching and preparing them for whatever challenges they wish to pursue beyond the CHOICE experience. For more information, call 478.289.2191, email or visit http://www.ega.edu/offices/student_affairs/choice
Georgia Institute of Technology EXCEL Program (Atlanta)
Georgia Tech has launched the Expanding Career, Education and Leadership Opportunities (EXCEL). The EXCEL is a special postsecondary education program for college-age students (typically in the age range of 18 to 26 years) with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
EXCEL Students participate in Georgia Tech classes and activities and live on campus, as they prepare for their future lives and careers. This includes attending classes (with accommodations and support); living in on-campus housing; participating in internships and career-oriented training; participation in campus clubs, activities, and organizations; and peer mentoring. For more information, call 404.385.3884, email or visit https://www.scheller.gatech.edu/centers-initiatives/ile/excel/index.html
Albany Technical College LEAP Program (Albany)
The Leveraging Education for Advancement Program (LEAP) is an Inclusive Postsecondary Education Program (IPSE). The LEAP program at Albany Technical College (ATC) is designed to provide students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, ages 18 and older, an inclusive postsecondary college education experience. LEAP focuses on developing academic, personal, and self-advocacy skills that lead to employment. Each participant works closely with an academic transition teacher and a trained mentor to assist students in meeting their academic and social needs. LEAP students receive a personalized postsecondary education. For more information, call 229.430.2854, email or visit https://www.albanytech.edu/student-affairs/leap
University of Georgia Destination Dawgs (Athens)
Reflecting their tagline “Life is a journey. Be prepared for the trip”, the program’s goal is for Destination Dawgs graduates to have gained new knowledge, skills, and competencies which lead to a good adult life. This includes having a desired job, having an increased ability to live independently, and having friends and relationships that expand their social networks. The program is open to students with intellectual disabilities between the ages of 18 -25 who have a personal desire, and support from family, to gain skills for self-determination, independent living, and career development at the University of Georgia. Completion of the program will result in a UGA Certificate in College and Career Readiness from the UGA Center on Continuing Education bearing +/- 150 continuing education units. Student competency and accomplishments will be recorded in an electronic portfolio. For more information, call 706.542.2418, email or visit https://www.fcs.uga.edu/ihdd/destination-dawgs
Georgia State University IDEAL Program (Atlanta)
The Inclusive Digital Expression and Literacy (IDEAL) Program offers a two-year course of study for students with mild intellectual disabilities. The IDEAL Program includes college classes, extracurricular activities and job-focused training. The mission of IDEAL is to prepare students with intellectual disabilities with educational opportunities and job-focused training. Our goal is to provide resources and support that lead to meaningful employment, greater independence and a higher quality of life for young people with intellectual disabilities. The IDEAL Program will leverage GSU’s resources in media and the arts, as well as our location in a global hub for journalism, music, art and design. The Program will be novel in its focus on digital/media literacy, technology use and communication skills. For more information, call 404.413.9573, email or visit https://disability.publichealth.gsu.edu/ideal/
Georgia Southern University EAGLE Program (Statesboro)
EAGLE Academy Inclusive Post-secondary Education Program is a two-year certificate program of study which teaches independent living and career skills and empowers students to achieve Equal Access to Gainful Learning and Employment (EAGLE). EAGLE Academy helps young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities make a successful transition from high school to adult life by providing them with an inclusive college experience. This experience will provide development of their academic, vocational, daily living, and decision making skills. Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a certificate of completion. For more information, call 912.478.8842, email or visit http://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/eagle-academy/>
Georgia College Program (Milledgeville)
Welcome to the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Our website offers you many opportunities to stay informed, connect with our network of friends and join our journey toward developing Real Communities.
Launched in 2010, the Real Communities Initiative is our award-winning signature concept that is receiving national attention for its innovation and diversity. Now called Real Communities Partnerships, they provide cutting edge, intentionally inclusive activities throughout the State with a focus on projects that create opportunities for all people – with and without disabilities – to work together as full partners in the social life and civic development of their communities.
We support grassroots efforts and community activities to promote inclusive neighborhoods throughout Georgia, where each person has the opportunity to contribute and experience Real Homes, Real Careers, Real Learning, Real Influence and Real Supports. At GCDD.org you'll find the latest on legislative updates and disability news, information on advocacy, and stay on top of trending topics and critical issues from the broader disability community via our online publications, Blog, photos, videos, tweets and Facebook posts.
We invite you to learn with us as we engage in the work of Real Communities to offer Georgians a sustainable model of community-centered individual and family support. We look forward to a robust dialogue about applying the principles of Real Communities wherever you go: using person-centered supports, community-centered connections and persistent and reflective learning. We hope you'll journey with us, purposefully involving people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities in collaborative projects in your communities.
Our efforts are guided by a Five Year Strategic Plan focusing on:
• Researching, analyzing and changing public policy;
• Promoting advocacy on behalf of the developmental disabilities community;
• Creating awareness around relevant issues;
• Funding and implementing programs;
• Adopting best practices that enhance our ability to deliver better results.
While GCDD – a federally funded, independent state agency - does not provide direct services, we often act as a convener for agencies, organizations, individuals, family members and supporters to develop coordinated public policy. Through policy initiatives, public awareness, advocacy programs and community building, GCDD works to bring about social change for individuals and families living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Georgia.