By Rebecca Harrelson, Staff Writer
Published in print Aug. 20, 2014
UNCG is one of only 34 programs allowing students with disabilities the opportunity to access federal aid.
This opportunity came about when Beyond Academics was designated a Comprehensive Training Program (CTP) by the U.S Department of Education, enabling students access to federal grants.
This may mean little to those who are unaware of the Beyond Academic organization we have here at UNCG. On the Beyond Academic’s website, they give a brief history and statement for what they are hoping to accomplish.
“The University of North Carolina at Greensboro supports students with intellectual and developmental disabilities enrolled in Integrative Community Studies, a four-year certificate course of study that emphasizes higher education, self-determination, community inclusion, career development and independent living,” reads the statement, “Students completing requirements for graduation receive a certificate awarded by The Office of the Provost at UNCG.”
Joan Johnson the CTP director at UNCG, said that this program is “an exciting option in transforming lives, not to mention those who have access to college have higher success rates for self-sufficiency and employment.”
The Beyond Academic site also states that “a significant gap discovered was the lack of available post-secondary education and support options for young adults with intellectual disabilities who had concluded their secondary education career.”
The site also stated, “a community coalition committed its time to the discovery of promising practices in post-secondary education for young adults with intellectual disabilities and other developmental disabilities. The coalition found a limited number of existing programs across the nation in development and providing college experiences to these young adults.”
Katie Brady a License Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who often works with college students with disabilities spoke about this program saying, “I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for UNCG students and their families. Individuals with intellectual and or developmental disabilities and their families tend to have extra educational and medical burdens, so a program like Beyond Academic is an amazing opportunity for them,” Brady said,
“They tend to have more need for therapy, social groups, evaluations, medicines so the ability to have access to federal funding takes a lot of the weight off their shoulders and opens a whole other door of opportunity.”
In North Carolina two other colleges Appalachian State and Western Carolina offer a similar two-year program, UNCG enrollment has grown to 54 students registered in the Beyond Academics program.