Aggies Elevated Welcomes 1st Statewide Cohort, New Leadership

August 5, 2022

Aggies Elevated is a higher education program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

This August, Aggies Elevated will welcome its ninth cohort of students at the Logan campus and its first cohort ever at the USU-Eastern campus in Price, Utah. 

The expansion marks an important step for Aggies Elevated — it paves the way for students aged 18-26 with intellectual or developmental disabilities to attend college and build valuable life skills at USU’s statewide campuses. 

Since its donor-funded launch in 2014, Aggies Elevated has grown significantly. Just one year after its first cohort of eight students was formed in Logan, the program received a federal TPSID (Transition & Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities) grant. In addition to the new cohort of 5 students at USU-Eastern, there will be 21 students in Logan this year — the largest group ever.

In addition to the expansion of Aggies Elevated to Price, a new round of TPSID funding in 2020 has allowed for the creation of a sister program, Wolverines Elevated, at Utah Valley University. This most recent grant also funded the formation of the Utah Higher Education Inclusion Alliance, which promotes the development of inclusive programs at other universities throughout the state of Utah.

As of June 2022, there have been 29 graduates from Aggies Elevated, and 83% are engaged in competitive, paid employment. Approximately 33% of graduates are continuing their education and pursuing associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. 

The program’s new horizons come with a change in leadership, as the last two members of the founding Aggies Elevated team will be retiring this year. Sue Reeves, who has worked with Aggies Elevated since 2013 and has been director of the program since 2019, will retire at the end of this summer, as will Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling professor Dr. Robert Morgan, who was the principal investigator on the original TPSID grant.

Dr. Michelle McKnight-Lizotte, assistant professor in Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling, has been named the Aggies Elevated Executive Director and will oversee operations at both sites as the program continues to spread across Utah.