RAISE Program

The Raising Aspirations through an Inclusive Student Experience (RAISE) program is an inclusive and supportive post-secondary program for young adults who have intellectual disabilities and who desire to participate in an inclusive college experience. 


RAISE is a one-year, two-semester program that allows students to participate in an inclusive college experience. Students participate in a course of study that includes career readiness, college prep, and life-skills-focused coursework. The program has a strong emphasis on social inclusion.  This is accomplished through the engagement of participants with same-age peers and the general campus community through a combination of coursework, activities, and social opportunities. 

RAISE creates pathways for students to achieve life and career success through the development of educational, personal, and vocational skills while fostering personal growth and social engagement within the campus community. 

The specific objectives of RAISE are to provide students with: 

  • An enriched collegiate experience
  • An interactive and inclusive environment
  • Learning activities that transfer to lifelong independent living skills
  • Work ethics necessary for gainful employment
  • Self-respect and knowledge of individual strengths
  • Empowerment through education

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RVC's RAISE program is one of only a handful of programs in the State of Illinois that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education as a Comprehensive Transition & Postsecondary (CTP) Program. Under this designation, students enrolled in the program are eligible to apply for Federal financial aid.

About the Program

Program Eligibility

Prospective students who wish to be considered for the RAISE program must complete an application and screening process to ensure that they are appropriate for the program and can meet all established program objectivesFinal candidate selection will be at the discretion of the Program Coordinator. Please note that one’s admission into the program does not guarantee success. Program progression and individual student outcomes will be dictated by the student’s overall performance and ability to meet the established program goals. 

Appropriate candidates for the RAISE program are those who:

  • Are between the ages of 18-22 (exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Program Coordinator) 
  • Have a history of receiving special education services; 
  • Have a documented intellectual disability; 
  • Have reading, math, and written language skills at or above a third-grade level; 
  • Are able to follow the required college code of conduct; 
  • Are able to manage all self-care needs; 
  • Have sufficient emotional stability to participate in and adjust to all aspects of the program; and 
  • Are motivated and have realistic and tangible career and outcome goals

Support Services

Rock Valley College students have access to a variety of academic support services, from tutoring to personal success and counseling. 

Academic Support Services