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SUCCESS (Students United for Campus-Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success)

Maryland’s first four-year postsecondary education program for participants with intellectual disabilities

University of Maryland, Baltimore County, An Honors University in Maryland, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Disabilities



Marylanders with intellectual disabilities will have access to Maryland colleges and universities thus enabling them to develop their independence, as well as critical thinking, problem solving and employment skills.    A four-year college experience will afford them the opportunity to interact with their peers through a wide array of inclusive educational, social and recreational campus based activities.

National Background

A desire to have access to postsecondary education with their peers is a natural evolution for students who have grown up under IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which places an emphasis on integration and inclusion throughout elementary and secondary education. More recently, federal changes allow for students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in Comprehensive Transition Programs, as defined and approved by the US Department of Education, to qualify for Federal Financial Aid. Federal grants were also given in 2010 to a number of 4 year institutions including Ohio State University, UCLA and the University of Delaware to foster development of such programs.

Maryland Efforts

In Maryland, there has been great interest in development of a four year residential program as a result of the George Mason University program, where several Maryland residents are currently enrolled. Maryland has developed a cadre of community college based “dual enrollment” programs that allow individuals between the ages of 18-21 to attend community college while they are still in high school. These often are segregated classes on community colleges that are not linked to employment or traditional postsecondary education opportunities. However, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) was the first university in Maryland to offer such a program. In 2011, the Maryland Department of Disabilities approached the Shriver Center at UMBC. Named for Sargent Shriver, first Director of The Peace Corps and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder of Special Olympics, the Shriver Center at UMBC promotes the integration of civic engagement, teaching, learning, and discovery on campus, regionally, and nationally so that each advances the others for the benefit of society. SUCCESS is a natural outgrowth of the Shriver and Kennedy family values and supports the priorities and mission of UMBC’s Shriver Center.

Value of Postsecondary Experience for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities:

  • Ability to access adult learning opportunities and to develop a desire for lifelong learning
  • Expanded social networks
  • Opportunity to connect learning to personal desired outcomes
  • Enhanced employment outcomes
  • Socially valued roles and experience
  • Opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and independence