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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

MSU Program Will Provide College Experience for Those with Intellectual, Developmental Disabilities

Missouri State University

Missouri State University is accepting applications from adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities for its new program, Bear POWER.

Beginning next January, up to 10 young adults will attend the university through a 2 ½ year inclusive college program for disabled students transitioning out of high school.

Rachel Heinz, the director of Bear POWER, told KSMU by phone that young adults with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and brain injuries are encouraged to apply.  She said the goal of the new program is “to leave it as open and inclusive as possible.”

Students who qualify for IET, Integrated Education and Training, also qualify for this program.

According to a press release from MSU, POWER is an acronym for Promoting Opportunities for Work, Education and Resilience.

The university says these students will experience college fully, from living on campus to attending university classes.

Bear POWER will focus on academics, independent living and employment.

The first group of students will begin the program in January of next year.

They will live in a university residence hall and attend classes with other Missouri State students, and some of their classmates will also act as mentors. Each participant in the Bear POWER program will be matched up with around five other Missouri State students, known as “Bear Blazers.”  Those students interested in applying to be a Bear Blazer can attend an informational meeting at 4:30 p.m. March 21 in Plaster Student Union, Room 308.

The first cohort will graduate in May, 2021, and the applications for this cohort are due by April 2, 2018. A $50 fee is required, along with the completed online application.

More information on Bear POWER and a program overview can be found here.