UNH Receives Grant to Make College More Inclusive

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

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DURHAM, N.H.—The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire has launched UNH-4U to provide a more encompassing college experience to students with intellectual disabilities, such as challenges with conceptual, social and daily practical skills like problem solving thanks to a grant from the John Vance ACCESS Fund, a donor-advised program of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

“UNH-4U will combine traditional classroom time with inclusive housing options, peer mentoring and academic coaches from same-age peers,” said Tobey Partch-Davies, project director on poverty and disability at UNH’s IOD. “We’re excited to establish a model that will help young people with intellectual disabilities achieve their life goals through meaningful careers and social endeavors in all aspects of adulthood.”

UNH-4U is a two-year comprehensive transition program. Beyond improving academic and competitive employment outcomes, UNH-4U will provide an authentic campus life experience that could enhance social development, independent living, and recreational endeavors.

More than 35,000 residents living in New Hampshire have an intellectual disability that present challenges with everything from language, socializing, dealing with money and budgeting time. These youth and young adults are significantly more likely to be underemployed and live in poverty. The majority of these young people, particularly those from low-income families, lack access to post-secondary education and job opportunities that could help them change these outcomes.

“We are pleased to support the UNH-4U program,” said Jason Vance, advisor of the John Vance ACCESS Fund. “Providing individuals with these educational opportunities that contribute to rewarding work, career, and personal growth was precisely the work of my father, John Vance, and the dedicated staff at ACCESS Fund for over 20 years. We are excited by the partnerships within the university and with outside partners, and believe there exists a great need for this innovative educational model in New Hampshire, and beyond.”

For more information, visit https://iod.unh.edu/projects/unh-4u-and-think-college-nh.

The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to promote full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.