(June 6) – Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Dave Young into law today that will offer higher education options to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
“Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities have so far been excluded from higher education in Colorado,” said Rep. Young, D-Greeley. “This law creates opportunities for those students to earn a college degree and enjoy all the growing and learning experiences that come with a college experience.”
SB16-196 allows these students to have all of the rights, responsibilities, privileges and benefits that result from a college experience to the greatest extent possible, including academic access, career development, campus engagement, self-determination, participation in paid work experiences, on-campus or off-campus living, inclusive social activities, and access to technology.
One student who will soon benefit from the bill was in the governor’s office for the signing. Connor Long has Down syndrome and graduated from Fairview High School in Boulder. Connor testified in support of the bill, saying he would be excited to enter one of the pilot programs to continue his studies.
Each semester, the pilot program will allow students to take a minimum of two on-campus undergraduate courses in his or her chosen area of interest and a course that is designed to meet the needs of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Pilot programs will be developed at three institutions: University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Arapahoe Community College.
Prior to the passage of this bill, Colorado was one of just four states without pathways to post-secondary education for students with IDD.