DURHAM, NH - The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Education-Office of Postsecondary Education to create greater access to post-secondary education for young adults with an intellectual disability (ID).
This grant, Granite State Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) project, marks a turning point for inclusive higher education in New Hampshire. According to the 2019 Disability Statistics Compendium, in 2018, only 13.9% of NH residents with a disability age 25 and over carried a 4-year college degree, compared to 24.3% of residents without disabilities. Additionally, young adults with ID are significantly more likely to be underemployed and live in poverty than their peers.
"Opportunities for jobs and careers often come through post-secondary training and education experiences. For many students with ID, post-secondary opportunities are not extended to or expected of them. Today, that experience is changing," says Dr. Kelly Nye-Lengerman, Director of the Institute on Disability.
Over the next five years, the Granite State TPSID project will work to narrow New Hampshire's education gap by developing a sustainable model to enroll and support up to 50 students with ID at UNH and build capacity across the state's network of Institutions of Higher Education. In accordance with UNH COVID-19 operating procedures, innovative campus and remote-learning opportunities will combine traditional classroom experiences with inclusive campus life options, peer mentoring, and academic coaching to prepare students for academic, occupational, and social success.
"We've been working with UNH departments on campus as well as state agencies and non-profit partners to develop this model for the past five years. We're excited to be at this stage of implementation," says Dr. Tobey Partch-Davies, Principal Investigator for the Granite State TPSID project.
The Granite State TPSID project has established an unprecedented level of coordination across the state to address the significant gaps in access to NH's higher education between individuals with and without ID. The project includes establishing a consortium of colleges and universities, state agencies, and service providers.
"It is thrilling to receive additional federal funding to assist individuals in achieving their dream of attending college," stated Lisa Hinson-Hatz, Vocational Rehabilitation State Director and program partner.
The Institute on Disability was established in 1987 to provide a 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.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,300 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.