Aggies Elevated at Utah State University is a two-year certificate program designed to empower college-age students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) to become resilient problem-solvers and self-determined citizens of inclusive communities. With the assistance of staff and invited stakeholders, Aggies Elevated students create a person-centered plan to identify challenges, build on individual strengths, seek out and utilize supports, and encourage personal responsibility in five domains (Lifelong Learning, Independent Living, Community Involvement, Self-Advocacy, and Career Development). The program’s goal for graduates is competitive integrated employment, full community inclusion, and independent living to their highest ability.
First-year students live in a traditional dorm-style setting in Richards Hall. If gender distribution permits, two Aggies Elevated students share a room and live alongside typically admitted students, sharing communal bathrooms with the entire floor. In this situation, Aggies Elevated students learn to navigate living with only one roommate. Each floor has a Resident Assistant to whom students can go for guidance with any housing or roommate issue.
Second-year students have the option of choosing on- or off-campus housing. Many students choose to live in Central Suites. In this setting, four bedrooms housing eight students are clustered around a common living area/kitchen and two bathrooms. This living situation is more complicated, with seven roommates instead of one, and is only available to students who have demonstrated adequate maturity and proficiency in social skills and conflict resolution. Each floor has a Resident Assistant to whom students can go for guidance with any housing or roommate issue. Learn More about on-campus housing.
Mentors are the first and most intensive level of support for Aggies Elevated students. Mentors are typically upper-division or graduate students from a variety of disciplines who share a common passion for working with people with disabilities (but we've had awesome freshman mentors, too). Each mentor works with one or two Aggies Elevated students, offering up to 10 hours of support per student each week. Mentors help the students learn to navigate the complexity of campus life, from time management to learning to live with roommates to discovering the best burger place in Logan.
Tutors & Study Sessions
Volunteer tutors, individual tutoring sessions, and structured study sessions are an integral part of the academic support we provide for our students. Study sessions are required for the first two weeks of each semester, then become optional (but highly recommended), allowing students to take ownership of their learning experiences.
Summer Prep Course
The 8-week-long Summer Prep course is required for first-year Aggies Elevated students. With a combination of weekly synchronous Zoom meetings and asynchronous assignments, Summer Prep guides students though the reading for USU 1010 Connections and completing the writing assignment that is due on the first day of class. Students become proficient in Zoom and Canvas, and are introduced to higher education concepts including "learning how to learn." We also build in some optional online social activities for fun!
Base Camp is an intensive orientation to college that takes place on campus the week before classes begin. Base Camp kicks off with a Sunday evening social event where students meet their mentors, gather contact information, and coordinate schedules before one last hug with parents. Sessions on Monday and Tuesday cover college behavior expectations, an orientation to the AE program, and an introduction to MyCLIMB, the AE person-centered planning process. (There's a little bit of fun, too!). Wednesday through Friday, first-year students attend their Connections class, while second-year students meet with their internship sites and complete some independent projects. There are always University-sponsored evening events, as well.
Costs and Resources
In addition, Aggies Elevated students pay a program fee each semester to cover a portion of the costs of the supports they receive.
Aggies Elevated in Logan provides technical support to Wolverines Elevated at Utah Valley University in Provo and to Utah State University-Eastern's location in Price.
Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)
Aggies Elevated is a Certified Transition Program, which allows qualified students to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Title IV of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) allows eligible students with intellectual disabilities attending CTPs to receive federal financial aid in the form of Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, or Work-Study program funds.
Students who are admitted to the Aggies Elevated program and qualify for financial aid may apply for scholarships through Scholarship Universe, USU's scholarship portal. The Gary and Andrea Powell scholarship provides one $1,500 scholarship per year. The generosity of other donors provides a limited number of scholarships to cover the program fee.