Ready to find out what MSU Denver can do for you? We’ve got you covered.
Proudly established in MSU Denver’s School of Education as part of the Office of Education Solutions, Inclusive Higher Education Solutions (IHES) offers sevices that cater specifically to college students with intellectual differences. IHES services ensure that diverse learners have an inclusive MSU Denver experience that fits their academic, employment, social, and adult living goals. Through IHES, students foster their independence, develop their social skills, and expand their options for meaningful employment and community engagement after college.
We offer three options to meet the needs of MSU Denver students:
Our vision is to become the model urban university in the nation by placing a high value on diversity and inclusion for all students.
The University supports and values diversity in all forms in a teaching and learning community marked by mutual respect, inclusion, and cooperation. Diversity is reflected in the curriculum, in activities of the University, and in the composition of faculty, staff, and students. MSU Denver embraces the diversity and inclusion of all people regardless of their identity. These identities include, but are not limited to, ability, age, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, intellectual differences, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
The MSU Denver School of Education actively promotes diversity, equity and inclusion as critically important to its success. IHES embeds these values across its programs, advancing opportunities for inclusion inside and outside the classroom.
Inclusive education means every student is valued because of their strengths, gifts, and challenges. Differences are part of humanity and belonging is a human need. We must trust that all students come to us as unique humans. Each individual in the community benefits from collaborating and learning with people with different identities. Inclusion requires educators to be innovative thinkers who create opportunity for all.
Inclusive education assumes that bringing people with diverse identities together is in the best interest of the community. Each organization and individual bring their own values and beliefs which can benefit the work towards more inclusive communities. Systemically, inclusive education in Higher Education means we work towards reimagining education at the intrapersonal, individual practice, structural, and institutional levels. (Buckley & Connelly, 2023)
In IHES, this definition applies to all students, including diverse learners. The MSU Denver School of Education is re-imagining higher education, which begins with dismantling the idea that there are typical and atypical learners. Instead, we emphasize the benefit of learning for all students and provide support and opportunities suited to student’s specific needs.
In August 2015, Metropolitan State University of Denver’s School of Education (SOE) began a partnership with the Inclusive Higher Education Certificate Program (IHECP), a Colorado 501(c)3 non-profit, to pilot inclusive higher education programming for students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities on the downtown Denver Auraria Campus. Since that time, the IHECP supported inclusive academic, social, life skills, and employment pathways for diverse learners, including students with intellectual disabilities, on the MSU Denver campus.
From fall 2015 through spring 2022, the MSU Denver School of Education and the IHECP partnership (SOE/IHECP) individually connected to and supported diverse learners on campus, online, and in high school classrooms. The SOE/IHECP partnership supported in-person and online academic coaching, executive function coaching, and academic support at five institutions of higher education (Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR; Houston Community College, Houston, TX; Community College of Denver, Denver, CO; University of Colorado at Denver, Denver, CO; and Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO).
The SOE/IHECP collaboration supported the inclusion of 168 students with varying disabilities and levels of ability from 2015 to 2022.
These opportunities were provided through partnerships with:
In 2022, the IHECP was integrated into the SOE Office of Educational Solutions (Ed Solutions) – Ed Solutions was created as a community outreach initiative of the School of Education. Ed Solutions values the assets our diverse students bring with them in the form of language, culture, intellectual differences, and experiences. The Office of Education Solutions works with and for historically under-represented students and community members by increasing equity and inclusion by redistributing resources to people who have historically and systemically been denied them based on their gender, race, class, intellectual abilities, or other intersections of identity.
Have you wondered if attending college is right for you? Are you curious if there are different programs to suit your needs? Inclusive Higher Education Solutions (IHES) at MSU Denver has tailored programs and resources to answer your questions!
“This program is awesome. It exceeds any expectation I ever had. I cannot believe [Student’s] level of buy-in. Thank you!” – Family member of IHES student
College is the natural transition process from parent and teacher driven coursework to independent, life-long learning. All students on a college campus experience the challenge of balancing more personal freedom with having more responsibilities. And all students are taking more responsibility for their academic, social, and personal lives while relying less on their parents or teachers. Students with diverse learning needs undergo the same life-changing experiences that other students have on campus: working through the transition from child to adult, from a dependent young person to an increasingly capable, independent young adult who contributes to their community. The focus on gaining independence transitions to greater independence in one’s community and workplace.
The time to begin planning for college is now.
Work with your school staff to put transition programming in place to ensure you are ready for your exciting college adventure. Be sure to contact Inclusive Higher Education Solutions so you have appropriate accommodations, modifications, and support systems in place to help you attain your academic, organization, study, self-advocacy, communication, employment, interpersonal, and social skill goals.
“I’m so happy right now. Success to get some weather station data today. Hard work pays off. I’ve never been happier. It feels like a dream come true.” – Inclusive Support Services Meteorology Student
Higher education is career readiness training. The same skills required to be successful in the workplace are learned and practiced on college campuses. You should study with us because we provide individualized support to help you be successful on campus and in classes. You will continue to learn and grow beyond the walls of your high school. You will meet new people, develop new social networks, and practice new skills in a supportive campus learning environment. Also, students who complete inclusive college programs enjoy a higher rate of employment and earn more money than those who do not participate.
All MSU Denver students, including IHES supported students, will have access to academic, social, employment, and life skills support through interdisciplinary support systems on campus. ISS expands the breadth of MSU Denver’s inclusive supports by welcoming non-traditional students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and empowering all students to develop to their highest potential, govern their own lives, and participate fully and freely in the MSU Denver community.
We achieve inclusion through 4 pillars of support:
Students who participate in ISS are eligible to attain the MSU Denver Inclusive Higher Education Certificate showing their commitment to lifelong learning, competitive integrated employment, and self-determined social and community engagement.
Total: 86 – 96 credit hours plus 135 hours of work experience to earn the MSU Denver Inclusive Higher Education Credential
Inclusive Support Services Admission Criteria
IHES’s Inclusive Support Services is a program of study and support services for highly motivated diverse learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All applicants younger than 21 years of age are encouraged to consider opportunities available in their current school system under Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
Are you curious if IHES’s ISS program is right for you? To ensure that ISS is the best match, we require an application packet to be completed for each potential student. To be considered for admission, students will demonstrate the following minimal requirements:
Students supported by IHES will be full-time students taking four or more credit-bearing courses a semester with nondisabled students. If you meet the above requirements and want to be part of the IHES Inclusive Student Support program, read about the application process below!
The Application Process
To enroll in IHES support services, a prospective student will submit an application to IHES. The application requests personal and academic information, a student writing sample, and parent, teacher, and community member assessment of the student’s strengths and needs. After submitting the online application, a student will need to supply their official high school transcript and documentation of their disability. The student’s IEP will suffice for disability documentation.
After the IHES application review committee selects potential IHES support students, based on the committee’s determination that the student is ready for the challenge of inclusive higher education and that the program can benefit the student, the student will be invited to an interview to discuss their expectations of university and their motivation to participate in a challenging but rewarding course of study.
When accepted, students will receive a letter of acceptance from IHES and guidance through MSU Denver enrollment, Financial Aid, Orientation, Access Center intake, initial student-centered planning, link to DVR for intake, link to RTD transportation and safety training, and registration for classes.
Outcomes of Inclusive Support Services
The power of inclusive higher education opportunities for students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) cannot be overstated! Students who participate are more likely to experience improved outcomes in employment and independent living and see a decrease in reliance on government funding. Nationally, students with IDD given an opportunity to attend and complete higher education achieve a 70% employment rate. This stands in stark contrast to the 30% rate of employment for individuals with IDD who were not given the opportunity. Additionally, students who participated in inclusive higher education report greater satisfaction with their social lives and living situations.
College-level coursework is more demanding and fast-paced than high school — planning ahead, thinking critically, and managing multiple demands are all part of balancing college work. That’s why IHES offers Academic Coaching.
At IHES, our Academic Coaching services operate as a partnership between a coach and the student. We help students develop learning, planning, and self-management skills so they can be successful in their college experience and the workplace. The student “plays the game” while the coach helps the student improve academic skills, know when to use a strategy, and how to use feedback to become successful.
To be eligible for Academic Coaching, a student must be taking college coursework on a for-credit basis and familiar with basic skills such as accessing the university learning management system, demonstrating appropriate classroom interactions and communication skills.
Academic Coaching provides accountability and support that promotes the highest level of student independence. It’s also a place for students to troubleshoot what’s not working and to find new tools and processes.
At IHES, we offer guidance, options, and strategies that play into a student’s strengths and empower them to act, assess outcomes, and adjust to changing demands. We also “troubleshoot” pain points a student may be experiencing and suggest solutions the student can try. This cultivates flexibility and a commitment to trying new things, both of which are vital as a student enters adult life and the workforce.
All of our Academic Coaching services are individualized based on the student’s strengths and needs. Academic Coaching is based on what students need and how best to support them in their movement through higher education and toward the workplace.
Skills Built with Academic Coaching
Our academic coaches offer guidance in the direction of independence and help students to strategize and prioritize their college, work, and personal lives so they can be confident and successful.
Academic coaching is a partnership of feedback: the student evaluates their classes and experiences, thinking critically about what’s going well and what’s not, and then our coaches discuss actions or tools the students can use to better support themselves.
Through our Academic Coaching services, we strive to:
Coming Fall 2025!
Because levels of support are different in college than they are in high school, many diverse learners with learning, intellectual, and developmental disabilities may not have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful in the college classroom. That’s where Campus-Based Transition Programming comes in.
To help diverse learners lay the foundation for their university experience, and to provide a transition from high school to higher education, MSU Denver’s Inclusive Higher Education Solutions (IHES) will offer Campus-Based Transition Programming. Moving from a school or program where a student is fully supported to a higher education environment, where a student is expected to have a higher level of independence, can be overwhelming. That’s why IHES Campus-Based Transition Programming will focus on building skills learners need to succeed in college, the workplace, and adult life. Most of all, learners are introduced to student-directed concepts of self-determination, self-advocacy, and taking independent action.
Skills Built in Campus-Based Transition Programming:
The curriculum in our Campus-Based Transition Program is designed to help students harness their ability to locate, organize, plan, initiate, self-monitor, complete, and shift – all skills they will need later in life. Campus-Based Transition Programming students attend classes on the Auraria Campus two days a week and take four skill-building classes each semester.
College Prep classes include:
Some students move on to take modified college coursework in their areas of interest as Inclusive Support Services.
The Campus-Based Transition Program (CBTP) bridges the gap between high school and college and supports students to participate in higher education, and life, at a higher level of independence.
CBTP opens the opportunity for students to attend MSU Denver as Inclusive Support Services students with all the rights and responsibilities enjoyed by MSU Denver students. CBTP is the foundational transition that gives diverse learners the skills they need to be successful on campus, in the workplace, and in life.
CBTP Students Learn:
Students who complete the CBTP program earn an MSU Denver IHES certificate of completion.