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December 6, 2023 (Atlanta, GA)-The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) has a new Inclusive Post Secondary Education (IPSE) program. Berry College will be opening its own Berry College Program for Inclusive Learning in Fall of 2024. This will be Georgia’s 10th IPSE program, and the first private school in its consortium.

With all that Berry College’s campus and culture are known for, GCDD is excited about the excellent fit the agency anticipates this program having. It also fills an important geographical need for students with intellectual disabilities in the northwest part of the state of Georgia. As with all of GCDD’s IPSE programs, Berry College’s program will incorporate internships and individualized career development so students can graduate prepared to enter the workforce.

The first cohort of students will begin next fall for the 2024-2025 academic year. The application deadline for interested students is January 30, 2024, and invitations for prospective students to tour and interview for the program will be held in February of 2024. The residential component has not yet been established for the pilot year(s) at the college and may be best suited for students who are within commuter distance of Rome, Georgia.

The incredibly valuable IPSE Grants (scholarships) that GCDD secured last year do not yet cover private institutions, though the agency would love to see them applied if the grant program reaches permanency. More information about this can be found on the Berry College website to see how substantially reduced the costs are for Berry College’s IPSE program in comparison to the tuition and costs for typically matriculating students there.

“Creating an IPSE program on the 27,000 acres of beautiful Berry College has been a dream of mine for many years- and now that dream is about to be realized!  The Berry College community is so excited to welcome our first cohort of students to the Berry College Program for Inclusive Learning Fall 2024. Applications open mid-December [2023],” said Michelle Haney, Ph.D., Henry Gund Professor of Psychology, Psychology Department Chair at Berry College. “Our IPSE program aligns with the Berry College mission, building on our founder Martha Berry’s vision of providing an education that that allows individuals to learn skills and gain work experiences to become productive members of their communities.”

Additionally, Haney explained that the goals of this IPSE program align with the experiences of all Berry College students, which is an excellent education with mentored support for intentional planning for the future, meaningful community engagement, personal growth, and leadership development within a welcoming community of extraordinary beauty.

“Not only will the Berry College community have the privilege of joining young adults with intellectual disabilities on their journey as they navigate the transition to adulthood, but the IPSE program will provide opportunities for 2,200 students to learn how to lead efforts and support inclusion in their own neighborhoods, workplaces, and faith communities long after they graduate,” Haney said.

Other IPSE programs in Georgia include the Kennesaw State University Academy for Inclusive Learning, East Georgia State College CHOICE Program, the EXCEL Program at Georgia Tech, the GOALS Program at Columbus State University, Destination Dawgs at the University of Georgia, the LEAP Program at Albany Technical College, Eagle Academy at Georgia Southern, GC Thrive Program at Georgia College and State University, and the IDEAL Program at Georgia State University. In fall of 2021, there were 136 students enrolled in IPSE programs throughout the state of Georgia, 48% who had graduated and were employed after college. To date, there are 308 inclusive option colleges throughout the United States.

“The Berry College Program for Inclusive Learning joins nine other IPSEs in Georgia and represents our first private college in the system. Berry's unique location and campus culture, along with Dr. Haney's incredible dedication, are poised to support an exceptional IPSE [program]that will create vital educational and career opportunity for students with intellectual disabilities in the northwest corner of the state,” said Starr Bruner, Inclusive Post-Secondary Education & Employment Director for GCDD.

For more information about the IPSE program at Berry College, visit or email .

About the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities: The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is the State's leader in advancing public policy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for the wide spectrum of diverse people/persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play, and worship in their communities.