April 18, 2023
With hundreds of postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities available nationwide, a newly formed accrediting agency is set to help families determine which ones are of the highest quality.
The number of programs at colleges and universities aimed at this population has ballooned to more than 300 in recent years, but they vary significantly in structure, length, how integrated they are in the campus and much more. As a result, families have had little way to assess different offerings despite program costs that can rival traditional college tuition.
That is set to change with the launch of an accrediting agency specifically focused on postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities.
The nonprofit Inclusive Higher Education Accreditation Council conducted its first site visit last month at Western Carolina University’s University Participant Program, according to Martha Mock, executive director of the council and chair of the Think College National Coordinating Center Accreditation Workgroup, which worked for years to establish the standards that the new agency will implement.
In total, five programs are expected to go through the accreditation process between now and the 2024-2025 academic year, Mock said.