Rock Valley College

Chapter 30: RAISE Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

A Transition-Focused Educational 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 a comprehensive college experience.

RAISE is a three-year (6 semester) program that affords students the opportunity to earn “stackable” credentials. Students participate in a course of study that includes academic, vocational and life-skills-focused coursework and aligns with a College pathway program. The program has a strong emphasis on social inclusion which is accomplished by engagement of participants with same age peers and the general campus community through a combination of coursework, activities, and various vocational and social opportunities.

Mission Statement

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
  • Connections with post-21 employment and agencies


Program Eligibility

Prospective students who wish to be considered for the RAISE program must complete a screening process to ensure that they are appropriate for the program and can meet all established program objectives.  Final 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 3rd 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

Application Process


  1. Complete and Return the Application Packet

Interested applicants must submit all of the following in order to be considered for program participation:

  • RVC Enrollment Form;
  • Student Information Sheet;
  • Intake Questionnaire;
  • FERPA Form; and
  • Enrollment Checklist

Application packets may be picked up from the Disability Support Services (DSS) front desk, located on the Ground Floor of the Student Center and should be returned to DSS once completed.

  1. Participate in an Informational Interview

Once the application packet has been received and reviewed, the Program Coordinator will contact the student to schedule an informational interview. This will be an opportunity for the Coordinator to get to know the student better, discuss specific goals and program objectives, and determine whether the student is a good fit for the program.

For more information or to inquire about admission into the RAISE program, contact the Disability Support Services Office at (815) 921-2371 or visit the program's website.