About InclusiveU

Syracuse University values diversity of all kinds, and we believe that it makes SU a better place for all of us to learn together. Part of that diversity includes disability. InclusiveU is a comprehensive but flexible and individualized program to support SU students with intellectual and developmental disabilities like Down’s syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder at Syracuse University. Run by the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, in partnership with the School of Education at SU and SU’s University College, InclusiveU collaborates with many partners, including the Syracuse City Schools, community disability service providers, SU’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, and others. The program is collaborative, extremely flexible, and supported through many units and departments on campus. For students and their families, it’s seamless.

What’s it Like to Be a Student with InclusiveU?

If you have an intellectual disability and would like to attend Syracuse University and participate in InclusiveU programs and services, here’s what happens:

  • First, explore our “Paying for InclusiveU” section of this site to understand the different funding options that may be available to you.
  • Most likely, you will apply to University College as a non-matriculated student and then meet with the Director of InclusiveU to discuss your higher education goals. The application process will include an essay and 2 letters of recommendation. If you are accepted, you will register with University College to take regular undergraduate courses with Syracuse students, but you will probably audit courses and not get college credits. InclusiveU can help you with all of this. If you audit courses and do really well, InclusiveU can help you make the decision to possibly take courses for credit or make decisions about a college degree program.
  • You will work with a University College advisor. Your advisor will help you pick the best courses for you and your personal, vocational, and academic goals.
  • You will usually take one to two courses each semester, and students attend for 2-4 years (students cannot attend courses more than four years). Some students will take two courses each semester, if they can afford tuition. During the rest of your day at SU, you will probably meet with peers for social activities, working out, or studying.
  • You can also find and join student organizations that interest you – all but a few organizations are open to you.
  • InclusiveU provides every InclusiveU student with a free iPad that is theirs to keep after they leave SU.
  • The Office of Disability Services at Syracuse University will provide disability accommodations that are typical for college students. These disability accommodations include documents in digital format (so your computer can read them), note-takers, extra time on tests, and sign language interpreters. You, your agency, or your school district will be responsible for disability-related equipment and personal supports like aides. InclusiveU staff will help you figure out coursework modifications you might need, but most of the time you will do the same work as the other students.
  • The Peer2Peer Program matches up students with intellectual disabilities and matriculated Syracuse University undergrads as Peer Partners. Peer Partners support each other academically and socially. Peer2Peer also has lectures, webinars, activities, parties, and community events (like attending basketball games or going to the theater for plays and musicals).
  • InclusiveU also offers seminars to all interested students on college and life skills such as Media, The Campus and You, Positive Choices and Job Skills.
  • If you would like, we can pair you up with a Peer Mentor to serve as your support staff on campus, through a partnership with The Kelberman Center.
  • During your last year at SU, you have the option of doing another year of courses or doing Project SEARCH instead. If you join Project SEARCH, you’ll spend the academic year doing 10-week internships in different departments around SU, learning real job skills in positions that match your career interests. In between each internship, you’ll take one-week classes on job skills like writing a résumé, job-hunting, and doing well in job interviews.
  • When you graduate, you’ll participate in graduation ceremonies in the same cap and gown all undergraduates wear. You’ll get a certificate from University College that you can show employers; this certificate is open to all University College students who complete a certain number of courses as an auditor (whether or not they have a disability).
  • And any time there are questions, problems or concerns? InclusiveU has staff, student trainers, and a network of people who will be happy to help.

Does Syracuse University Have Other Resources for Students with Disabilities?

Yes! In fact, Syracuse University is known all over the world as a leader in disability and higher education. We do not consider “disability” to be a negative thing. At SU, disability is something to be celebrated because it makes our campus stronger, more diverse, and much more interesting; until everyone is included, there is no real inclusion for anyone, regardless of your identity or the labels you bring to SU. In fact, many of the InclusiveU staff also have various disabilities, so inclusion is not just an nice idea for us – it’s personal. You can learn all about the resources available.