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Success for Utah State's "Aggies Elevated."

Success for Utah State's "Aggies Elevated."

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LOGAN — A program that helps intellectually disabled students transition into college is getting high praise from its organizers.

The transition from high school into college can be tough for any student. But imagine trying to make that transition with an intellectual disability.

“For a lot of these students, college was never really an option because they’ve had these disabilities that have impeded their learning as well as their progression,” says Sarah Stone, Program Director of Aggies Elevated at Utah State University.

The program is designed to give these students the experience of what it’s like to be away at college. This includes living in dorms with roommates to teach them what it’s like to live outside of the home.

Stone says, “This is the first time away from their families for a longer time than a week at scout camp.”

“Aggies Elevated” also provides classes to these students to help them either get the skills they need to get a job, or to help them progress further along in their college education. Plus, they participate in college activities and join clubs.

“One student joined four different clubs," Stone says. "When she came back, she said, ‘I found my people.’”

This is the first year of the Aggies Elevated program, and they accepted eight students from all over the country.

Stone says, “Really, what it comes down to, for the students that are accepted, is, ‘Is it a good fit? Do they have the desire to be at college and learn independent living skills? Do they have the ability to live on their own?’”

She says they’re planning on accepting more students next year.

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Paul Nelson


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