Texas A&M University in College Station has officially launched the state’s first four-year, post-secondary education program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program, called Aggie ACHIEVE, strands for Academic Courses in Higher Inclusive Education and Vocational Experiences. Aggie ACHIEVE is a certificate-based program for young adults with disabilities, which is designed to help them expand their interest and prepare them for a job all while experiencing the “Aggie student life.“
The University stated that students from across the state will have the opportunity to participate in classes, live on campus, and serve in organizations and clubs. The intention of this program, according to assistant professor of special education at Texas A&M Dr. Carly Gilson, is to provide a “rigorous education, academic, and employment experiences.” The program will prepare the students to go out and work in the community in a job they are interested which matches their strengths.
The university stated they students will not receive a degree from Texas A&M but will graduate with a certificate that acknowledges their completion of the program. Students will be required to pay tuition and fees, but the university is working to receive a comprehensive transition program that is designed to help offset many of the required fees. A CTP designation allows some students to receive federal funding. If approved, Aggie ACHIEVE will be the first CTP in Texas.
The first cohort of the certificate-based program includes four undergraduate students from the state of Texas who will begin in the fall. They will all live on campus, audit credit courses, attend seminars for career and independent living, participate in organizations, and in an internship in their field of interest. Faculty, parents and students will tailor the program to each individual’s goals. Each member of the program will be paired with an “ACHIEVEmate,” who is a current student at Texas A&M to help them include their peer in campus activities.
In the Lone Star State, The University of Texas also has post-secondary education programs for students with or without a disability who are over age 18 with a high school diploma are looking for employment. According to the program’s website, E4Texas is a 3-semester experience that combines classroom instruction with “career-building and college experience, independent living skills, and self-determination.”