After being accepted into the SHEP program, students enter the university as “non-degree seeking” students. Over the course of their three years in the program, they will complete up to thirty six credit hours, usually by enrolling in one or two classes each semester. Most students choose to audit their classes, which gives professors leeway to modify assignments to accommodate a wide variety of needs. Even though students audit the classes, they are expected to attend class on a regular basis and complete assignments. While on campus students also have “career readiness” opportunities, such as internships and individualized volunteer experiences.
Peer mentors, NKU students who volunteer to provide support to students in the SHEP program, are a vital part of the program’s success. Some peer mentors support students in class, while others meet with students outside of class. Most students have multiple peer mentors within a semester, and have many different peer mentors during their time at NKU—all of which serves to broaden the connections that students make on campus. Peer mentoring creates partnerships in which both mentor and mentee benefit. Since peer mentors are the primary support that students in the program receive on campus, it is important that students can navigate the campus and unexpected situations with a certain degree of independence.
NKU prides itself on our inclusiveness, diversity, and global awareness. Students in the SHEP program contribute to this culture by bringing their unique perspective to the college campus. When students with disabilities are included in higher education, real learning takes place on many different levels. As students, faculty, staff, and the entire campus community engage in courses and activities together, everyone gains valuable experiences.
Inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in higher education is not unique to NKU. It is part of a broader initiative within the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a national movement spearheaded by ThinkCollege and the Institute of Community Inclusion.
Comprehensive Transition Programs (CTP) are federally recognized degree, certificate, or non-degree programs for students with intellectual disabilities that:
If students with intellectual disabilities are attending a CTP, they are able to use federal financial aid to help pay the cost of attendance.