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Inclusive Higher Education Solutions supports diverse learners with a solid foundation of services that help them succeed in their higher education and post-college life goals.

Proudly established in MSU Denver’s School of Education as part of the Office of Education Solutions, Inclusive Higher Education Solutions (IHES) offers services 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.

Learn more about IHES:

Prospective Students

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!

Portrait photograph of a student smiling and wearing a Denver Broncos jersey.Why College?

“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.

Why Should You Study with Us?

“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.

IHES offers a continuum of support services to MSU Denver students. These include: Inclusive Support Services (ISS), Academic Coaching, and Campus-Based Transition Programs.


Inclusive Support Services

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:


  • Inclusive Support Services (ISS) students are full MSU Denver students taking academic courses with their peers.
  • Academic expectations are individualized, and course requirements may be modified.
  • Students earn an MSU Denver Inclusive Higher Education Certificate upon completion of their IHES program.

Social engagement

  • Students participate in on campus activities including extracurricular activities, intramural athletics, sporting events, dances, concerts, clubs and plays.

Career development

  • Students take courses in their area of career interest.
  • IHES students participate in a career development course each semester.
  • Students participate in work experiences and internships on and off campus after meeting employment criteria

Independent living

  • Students identify and work toward building independent living skills as defined by their student-centered planning goals.
  • Students learn to use public transportation and ride sharing apps.
  • Students learn self-advocacy and self-determination through informed choice.

About the Inclusive Higher Education Solutions Credential

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.

  1. General Studies – 5 courses over 3 semesters selected from the General Studies list of required courses for all MSU Denver students. General Studies courses are prerequisite for every student to move through the MSU Denver course catalog.
  2. Career Development – 7 courses over 7 semesters plus a six-hour senior capstone supporting a student’s Major Course of Study focused employment training services. In addition, students are required to complete a minimum of 135 hours of internships, work/study, career planning, pre-employment training, and paid and unpaid work experiences in their Major.
  3. Individual Development – 8 courses over 8 semesters supporting life and independent living skill development.
  4. Major Course of Study – minimum of 5 courses over 8 semesters – follows course prerequisites – equaling 10 – 15 credit hours. IHES works with academic departments to select courses of study and an internship/senior capstone project for credential attainment.
  5. Minor Course of Study – minimum of 5 courses over 8 semesters – follows course prerequisites equaling 10 – 15 credit hours.
  6. Electives – Electives are not required for program completion or credential attainment. Typically, electives can be incorporated into a student’s Major and Minor course of study.

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:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Have a documented intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Demonstrate a desire and motivation to pursue education, employment, and life experiences through postsecondary education.
  • Have accepted their high school diploma.
  • Complete the IHES application process.
  • Demonstrate the ability to learn independently in classroom and work settings.
  • Functional reading, writing, and mathematics skills
  • Be able to participate in 90-minute college classes with modifications, if necessary, and function independently for a 2-hour period in multiple environments.
  • Complete assignments with fading degrees of support.
  • Negotiate a college campus independently.
  • Adjust to and handle change.
  • Exhibit no behaviors or emotional issues that would impact school performance, safety, positive classroom environment or that violates the MSU Denver Student Code of Conduct.
  • Agree to actively participate in assessments, including academic, adaptive, employment and independence.
  • Successful in employment training with minimal support.
  • Apply to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for services.
  • Agree to have story, progress, and outcomes shared with the general community. (Identifying information, including name and picture, will be disclosed only with prior approval.)

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.

Academic Coaching

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.

Who is eligible for Academic Coaching?

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

  • Self-Advocacy
  • Self-Determination
  • Self-Monitoring
  • Executive Function

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.

Outcomes of Academic Coaching

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:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Support executive function growth
  • Provide a supportive partnership
  • Practice flexibility and learn from feedback
  • Break down internal and external barriers to learning
  • Help students reflect on their own performance
  • Enhance self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-assessment using the feedback process

Campus-Based Transition Services

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.

What is Campus-Based Transition Programming (CBTP)?

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:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Communication
  • Digital Literacy
  • Executive Function
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Social Skills
  • Work Skills

How Campus-Based Transition Programming Works

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:

  • Learning How to Learn
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Skills for College Life
  • Digital Literacy
  • Learning How to Study
  • Personal Finance

Some students move on to take modified college coursework in their areas of interest as Inclusive Support Services.

Outcomes of Campus-Based Transition Programming

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:

  • College and career preparedness skills in an authentic, community-based setting
  • Personal accountability
  • Assistive tech to support independence
  • Transferable academic, employment, and life skills

Students who complete the CBTP program earn an MSU Denver IHES certificate of completion.

Interested in visiting campus?

Inclusive Higher Education Solutions does not have its own separate campus tour, but you can visit MSU Denver at any time by making reservations, or you can contact IHES to arrange a time to meet with us.


Use our convenient contact form to get in touch.


[email protected]



Campus Location
West Classroom Building, Suite 160

Mailing Address
Campus Box 21
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362