Eagles Elevated is a three-year inclusive postsecondary education program at Utah State University Eastern in Price, Utah for students with intellectual disabilities. The program offers a two-year certificate in Integrated College and Community Studies and several pathways for Technical Education options in the third year of the program.
Eagles Elevated at the Utah State University Eastern campus seeks to create a safe, inclusive campus that supports the needs of our students.
Like our sister program, Aggies Elevated in Logan, we believe that all individuals, regardless of ability, have the right to meaningful employment, lifelong learning, self-determination and full community inclusion. We further believe that our students are capable of great things and can be leaders in their communities. Eagles Elevated seeks to give our students wings to soar. Each student has unique strengths that can be developed and expanded through individualized, goal-focused supports. Utilizing the MyCLIMB (My Career Ladder to Independence, Maturity & Balance) person-centered planning model, Eagles Elevated students, along with invited family members and/or other stakeholders, will chart their own paths toward independence within an individualized framework of supports that identifies challenges, builds on individual strengths and encourages personal responsibility.
Eagles Elevated is one of 22 TPSID (Transition and Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities) model demonstration program grantees. The 5-year, $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow Eagles Elevated to support 5-7 students per cohort starting in 2022.
Photo credit: Shawn Spence
Students live in a Suite-style setting at Burtenshaw Hall. Two Eagles Elevated students share a room and live alongside other Eagles Elevated students in a suite group of up to 6. These students typically share two bathrooms with the others in the suite.
In this situation, Eagles Elevated students learn to navigate living with one roommate and other suitemates while also engaging with other admitted students in the hall in shared spaces, such as the lounge, community kitchen space, and laundry rooms. Each floor has a Resident Advisor to whom students can go for guidance with any housing or roommate issue.
Students have the option of choosing from dormitory, apartment, or suite-style halls with one to six bedrooms that vary from a private room or up to 12 suitemates clustered around a common living room/kitchen area and two to four bathrooms.
This living situation is more complicated, with up to twelve suitemates, and is only available to students who have demonstrated adequate maturity and proficiency in social skills and conflict resolution. Each floor has a Resident Advisor to whom students can go for guidance with any housing or roommate issue.
Some second-year students choose to live off-campus.
Learn more about on-campus housing.
Mentors are the first and most intensive level of support for Eagles 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 Eagles 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 Price.
Study Groups & Tutors
Service-learning volunteers lead mandatory study groups that are specific to each class in which Eagles Elevated students are enrolled. Students may also request one-on-one help from tutors, which they arrange between themselves.
Other Campus Supports
The primary goal of the Eagles Elevated program is competitive employment after graduation. Students have opportunities to practice interview skills, participate in paid and non-paid internships, and develop their resumes. Person-centered plans are developed to support each student in identifying and completing the Technical Education pathway that will best help them achieve their career goals.
Volunteers from several USU service-learning classes provide weekly independent skills practice sessions that teach skills like meal planning, grocery shopping, and how to plan and attend a social event.
Certificate of Integrated College & Community Studies
Coursework leading to the certificate includes foundation classes in reading and writing, career exploration, navigating adulthood, self-determination, and a wide variety of personal and vocational electives from the university’s general education catalog. All coursework is credit-bearing, unless a student chooses to audit. The certificate and curriculum have been approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and is included in Utah State University's accreditation.
Technical Education Certificates
Following completion of the two-year certificate, students may select a Technical Education pathway as part of their person-centered plan. Academic advisors will work with students to select a pathway that best fits with their strengths and interests. See Technical Education for a full list of programs.
If students have a diploma but require academic support or accommodation, we would be happy to help them access the appropriate services. They may also be eligible to enroll in selected Eagles Elevated coursework.
As a federally funded TPSID (Transition & Post-secondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities) program through 2020, Eagles Elevated is mandated to serve students whose primary or secondary diagnosis is Intellectual Disability. For eligibility purposes, we define Intellectual Disability as an IQ of 75 or below. In addition, some students with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury are eligible. We accept students between the ages of 18 and 26.
Potential participants must apply for admission through the Eagles Elevated website. Students do not complete a traditional USU admissions application.
Consideration for admission will be given to individuals who meet the following criteria:
- Have been enrolled in a high school special education program that may or may not lead to completion of a regular high school diploma and that does not allow students to complete requirements necessary for regular admission to the University. Evidence of significant limitations in intellectual and cognitive functioning and adaptive behavior must be provided in the application packet in the form of a psychoeducational evaluation, completed within the last three years.
- Demonstrate adequate skills to interact with others and navigate campus. Examples may include the following:
- Oral and/or written communication skills with or without the use of assistive technology.
- Responding to peers when appropriate.
- Phone skills.
- Willing and able to accept correction and constructive criticism.
- Setting safe boundaries for yourself and others.
- Ability to navigate a paper or electronic schedule or calendar (getting up independently, getting to class/study groups/meetings on time, ability to add events to schedule/calendar).
- Demonstrate safe and socially acceptable behavior that will allow a favorable experience on campus. Acceptable behavior may include the following:
- Appropriate social communication with peers.
- Appropriate eating habits.
- Personal hygiene.
- Appropriate touch.
- Body awareness, including appropriate standards of attire.
- Emotional independence.
- Some experience with overnight trips away from home (camp, sleepovers with friends, etc.).
- Structuring long periods of free time without having someone tell you what you should be doing.
- Adapting to new environments relatively easily.
- Be adequately motivated to learn and benefit from their university experience. Motivation may be shown in the following ways:
- High grades in high school.
- Recommendations from high school teachers.
- High attendance record in high school.
- Participation in high school, church, or community events.
- Participation in sports or hobbies.
- Having volunteer or paid work experience.
- Recommendations from leaders or employers.
- Having career and personal goals.
- Have a current (within three years) psychoeducational evaluation that will be submitted with the application packet as documentation of the student’s disability and functioning. Application packets that are submitted without a current psychoeducational evaluation will not be complete and therefore cannot be considered for Eagles Elevated.
- Parents and students must trust that students can make safe decisions without 24/7 supervision and structured programming on the weekends.
- Are free of behavioral issues, including (but not limited to): aggressiveness, defiance, running away, self-injury, promiscuousness, or stealing.
- Have an expressed interest in living and working as independently as possible in their community after completing the program, with support from families or caregivers to do so.
The application packet for the 2021-2022 academic year is available for download below, and must be submitted in November 2021.
Changes are made to the form each year, so please be sure the application packet that you complete and submit is for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Please pay the application fee using the form below. Checks can no longer be accepted.
Schedule a Campus Visit
We look forward to meeting you when you come to Utah State University Eastern for a visit! Because Eagles Elevated happens all over campus, scheduling a tour is a 2-step process. Please complete both steps to ensure that program staff will be available to meet with you.
Schedule a campus visit. At the bottom of the form, indicate “non-degree seeking” and put “Eagles Elevated” in the comment box. This will reserve your space in the group tour of campus.
When scheduling, please be aware that most Eagles Elevated staff members are in class and unavailable before noon. Send an email to email@example.com with the date and time of your campus tour, and request an advising appointment with one of our program staff.
You can also view the campus virtually by visiting usu.edu/admissions/campustour/#price.