College Connections

DSL is dedicated to expanding and improving inclusive higher education options for individuals with Down syndrome. There are currently 4 local college opportunities and we are always looking for more. There are also national opportunities for those interested in going away to college.

Program Partnerships

Ivy Tech Community College - Ivy Power

Sellersburg, Indiana

The Ivy Power Program offers an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to obtain a college experience. Students will pick a focus aligned with their career goals, take classes related to their focus, and complete an internship for additional experience. The Ivy Power Advocate will assist the members while on campus providing mentorship with completing classwork, getting involved in social events, and more. At the end of the program students will be awarded a certificate to signal the completion of their college program.

Jefferson Community and Technical College - College Connections

Louisville, Ky

The College Connections Program allows students with intellectual disabilities to enroll in specialized and established courses in the area of their choice. Students will receive an opportunity to be active on campus in organizations and social events as they choose. Upon completion of the courses, participants will be awarded a certificate for their participation.


Louisville, Ky

We have partnered with the Access and Ability Resource and Testing Center at Jefferson Community Technical College to provide an opportunity for parents and students to learn more about the accommodations available to our members in college! Please use the poll below to pick a day and time frame that would be best for you to assist us in planning for this event!

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Programs in Kentucky

WKU SAV-Y Program

Bowling Green, Ky

The mission of WKU CTP is to provide an inclusive postsecondary education experience to students with intellectual disabilities to prepare them for competitive employment and active participation in local communities with as much independence as possible.

The program creates customized schedules and instructional plans for each student using a person-centered planning framework that include traditional courses, internships, and specialty courses to support the development of specific skill sets. The focus of the WKU comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) program is to build and strengthen skills in the areas of social development, academic preparation and engagement, and vocational/technical training. Embedded within these instructional and educational opportunities are educational modules, learning opportunities and experiences and mentorship in independent living skill development.

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University of Kentucky - College and Career Studies Program

Lexington, Ky

The College and Career Studies (CCS) program is UK’s Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary (CTP) program that supports students with intellectual disabilities who want to attend a college or university to better prepared for employment and independent living. CCS students take part in all areas of campus life, from classes and clubs to social events and activities. With support from the College and Career Studies team, students work toward their own academic, career exploration, and community engagement goals. The College and Career Studies program at UK is part of the Kentucky Supported Higher Education Partnership (KSHEP), whose mission is to increase higher education options, access, and success for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the Commonwealth.

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Bluegrass Community and Technical College - Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program

Lexington, KY

Students in this CTP program will complete 24 audit or credit course hours over 4 semesters (2 years). Students will participate in 3 internships as well as serve on campus. There are peer mentors who help students with homework. Students should expect to come to campus one day a week. Although this is a college program, it is not a 5 day program so students and families should know that this is not the same level of support as in high school, but that personalized support to each student is offered.

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Northern Kentucky University - Supported Higher Education Project

Highland Heights, KY

The Supported Higher Education Project (SHEP) at Northern Kentucky University is an inclusive program through which students with intellectual disability (ID) who have graduated from high school, either with a traditional or alternate diploma, can attend NKU as non-degree seeking students. Upon acceptance into SHEP, students gain access to college classes, volunteer work opportunities, student life, and campus activities. Peer mentoring partnerships provide the needed academic and social supports students may need, as determined through a person-centered planning process. Since volunteer peer mentors are the primary support for students in the program, it is important that students have the necessary safety skills to navigate the campus and unexpected situations with a certain degree of independence.

Students in the SHEP program typically take one to two classes per semester for six semesters, completing up to 36 semester hours of coursework, along with several work-related internships. Collaboration with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation provides students with support when involved in job and career development opportunities. The SHEP program is a federally designated Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP). Eligible students enrolled in a designated CTP may apply for financial aid, even though they are attending classes part time.

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Owensboro Community and Technical College - Career and Life Skills Program

Owensboro, KY

The Career and Life Skills program includes a certificate option and is designed to improve employment options through college-level coursework. That coursework includes life-long learning skills, digital literacy, and career exploration, as well as essential workplace skills through experiential learning opportunities. The program of study can be modified based on the student’s needs and interests which allows the student to explore one or more introductory technical courses while developing the social skills and the general workforce readiness critical to employment and success. The program is open to students with intellectual disabilities and has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education as a Comprehensive Transition to Postsecondary (CTP) program, allowing students an inclusive, collaborative, and personalized higher education program of study in preparation for a fulfilling transition to adult life. Students qualifying for the CTP program are eligible for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, which pays any tuition not covered by other federal or state aid for Kentucky residents without a postsecondary degree.

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Murray State University - College to Career Experience

Murray, Ky

The College to Career Experience is a career transition prep program for individuals with intellectual disabilities. We provide support services needed to help each student’s individual needs to succeed in a college setting. Because of our attention to each student, spots are limited in this program. CCE is best suited for individuals who are seeking to gain independence and to learn skills at Murray State that can be used in future job fields. The college experience can be extra challenging for individuals who need higher levels of day-to-day support; like using their email, arranging their own transportation, or communicating their needs. If you, or someone you know, is still in high school and considering attending Murray State, now is a great time to begin practicing those skills.

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Helpful Resources

Ruby’s Rainbow

The goal and mission at Ruby’s Rainbow is to grant scholarships to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking post-secondary education, enrichment or vocational classes, helping them achieve their dreams of higher education while spreading awareness of their capabilities and general awesomeness.

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Out of State Programs

Use the Think College national listening of college programs for students with Intellectual Disabilities to find all options available for your student! Think College also provides resources, technical assistance, and training related to higher education opportunities for students with Intellectual Disabilities.

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American Association on Health and Disability

Frederick J. Krause Scholarship

The mission of the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) is to contribute to national, state, and local efforts to promote health and wellness in people with disabilities and identify effective intervention strategies that reduce health disparities between people with disabilities and the general population. AAHD accomplishes its mission through research, education, and advocacy at the national, state, and community level. The AAHD offers an annual scholarship to students with disabilities majoring in public health, disability studies, health promotion, or a field related to disability and health.

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The Bight Future Fund

The mission of the Bright Future Fund (formerly O’Neill Tabani Enrichment Fund) is to offer financial assistance to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking to continue their educational journeys through a postsecondary educational program, an employment training program, a private-pay enrichment program, or local community classes.

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Katie MacDonald Memorial Scholarship

One $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to an individual with Down syndrome who is pursuing educational or job training opportunities beyond high school.
One $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to an individual who is pursuing a degree – community college, undergraduate, or graduate.

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Mark made his dream of college come true - so can you!

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