Kean University partners with College Steps on new program for students with disabilities

UNION, NJ  — Kean University is launching a new program in fall 2020 to help students with significant learning and social challenges attend the university.

Through a partnership with College Steps, Kean will provide comprehensive specialized support — including peer mentoring, group seminars and individualized learning plans — to students with learning disabilities, autism and executive functioning difficulties.

“Launching College Steps at Kean University reinforces our longstanding commitment to access and opportunity for all students seeking higher education,” said Kean University President Dawood Farahi. “This new partnership will help students, including those who might otherwise not have access to a college education, from preadmission and throughout their time at Kean.”

The program will be available to current Kean students on the Union campus, as well as to high school students seeking to receive transition-based support. College Steps at Kean University is designed for students aged 17 through 26 who would like to enroll in one or more courses at the university.

Students will work with trained peer mentors from Kean’s occupational therapy program, among others, and will be supported by a full-time, on-site program coordinator.

“The College Steps program will provide a unique, rich hands-on learning opportunity for Kean student mentors,” said Kelly Sullivan, a lecturer in the occupational therapy program at Kean. “Participants will work one-on-one and in group settings to learn strategies that promote success in the social and physical elements associated with college life.”

The College Steps program places a strong emphasis on self-advocacy, social competencies, employment and independent living skills, to prepare students for meaningful careers and autonomy after college.

“Guided by our core principles of personalized learning and age-appropriate supports, students enrolled in College Steps at Kean University will benefit from a gradual and meaningful transition into an inclusive, adult learning environment,” said Lauren Merritt, cofounder and chief operating officer of College Steps.

Information sessions were held on Feb. 4 on the Union campus, but individualized meetings are also available; to schedule, contact College Steps at admissions@collegesteps.org.

The priority application deadline for fall 2020 enrollment in Kean University’s College Steps program is April 1. Additional information is available at kean.edu/collegesteps and collegesteps.org.

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