Institute on Disability Receives $150,000 contract from the New Hampshire Department of Education for an Inclusive College Program

July 1, 2019

DURHAM, N.H. - The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) has been awarded a $150,000 contract from the New Hampshire Department of Education/Vocational Rehabilitation for the UNH-4U program, a new initiative providing an inclusive college experience to students with intellectual disabilities. Through this contract, the UNH-4U program will implement a pilot program in NH for inclusive higher education. Students will take part in a mix of course offerings aligned with occupational interests, participate in extracurricular activities, and the program will work with business and industry and Vocational Rehabilitation to facilitate competitive employment outcomes.

“UNH-4U will combine traditional classroom time with inclusive campus life options, peer mentoring and academic coaches from same-age peers,” said Tobey Partch-Davies, Project Director on Poverty and Disability at the UNH-Institute on Disability. “We’re excited to establish a model that will help young people with intellectual disabilities achieve their life goals through meaningful careers and social endeavors in all aspects of adulthood.”

With this contract, the $150,000 challenge grant from the John Vance ACCESS Fund, a donor-advised fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, to support the implementation of the UNH-4U program, has been successfully met. The project is also supported by a $100,000 grant from the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities.

“This is hopefully the first in many initiatives that will provide post-secondary educational opportunities to individuals with intellectual disabilities around the state,” shares Isadora Rodriguez-Legendre, Executive Director of the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities. “We are delighted to have this opportunity in New Hampshire.”

UNH-4U will be an inclusive two-year model on the University of New Hampshire’s Durham campus. It has the support of stakeholders and partners from across the university and the state. Beyond improving academic enrichment and competitive employment outcomes, UNH-4U will provide an authentic campus life experience including opportunities for social development, independent living, and recreational endeavors.

“Our system has worked incredibly hard the last several years to bring this program to fruition.  It will be another pathway for individuals to take toward employment.  This is very exciting!” stated Lisa Hinson-Hatz, Vocational Rehabilitation State Director.  

For more information about the UNH-4U, please visit https://iod.unh.edu/projects/unh-4u-and-think-college-nh or contact Tobey Partch-Davies at tobey.partch-davies@unh.edu.

The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire 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. Its mission is to promote full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.