The Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education (IN!) is a non-profit founded in 2014 by educators, disability leaders, students and families who have a vision for better and more fulfilling career opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Until recently, society’s low expectations coupled with limited opportunities have prevented people with IDD from the benefits associated with a higher education. While peers move to the next phase of their lives, students with IDD sit on the sidelines. Consequently, they transition from high school to adult day programs, very low paying jobs, or, in too many cases, simply end up sitting idly at home with limited social outlets. Many individuals live hopelessly below the poverty line, and have little prospect of rising above it.
Our vision: Students with intellectual disabilities will be welcomed on college campuses and allowed to continue their education and preparation for life, as inclusive pathways become part of the fabric of all colleges and universities throughout Colorado.
Being one of the last states to offer inclusive higher education options, Colorado was once desperately behind, but now has more options for students with IDD than many other states. Due to the work of IN!, we made history in the fall of 2016 when the first three Colorado colleges opened their doors to students with IDD:
In 2019, UNC and ACC received Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) status, a federal designation which allows students with IDD receiving inclusive services to access financial aid. This places the schools amongst only 100 other schools in the nation to achieve CTP status.