College and Career Readiness (CCR)

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Welcome to the College and Career Readiness for Students Using Alternate Assessment project

CCR for Students Using Alternate Assessment is a KY State Professional Development Grant (SPDG) based on federal grants to states departments of education. College and/or career readiness following high school increases the chances of success for ALL youth in the global economy of the 21st century. The Kentucky CCR Initiative is striving to ensure that youth with significant intellectual disabilities (ID) are included in this vision.

Purpose and Goals of the Project

Project Background

The vision of the Kentucky Board of Education is to ensure that all students reach proficiency and graduate from high school ready for college and careers. This vision is consistent with our changing economy that requires P-12 schools to prepare students for a more complex and competitive workplace.

It is the expectation that ALL Kentucky children will receive an education that prepares them for a successful future. Students participating in the Alternate Assessment are included in this vision.

CCR Overview and Rationale

Funded in 2012, one of the goals of this five year federal grant is to better prepare students with low incidence disabilities to reach proficiency and graduate from high school ready for college and careers.

The CCR project will:

  1. Help KY define and measure college and career readiness for students with low incidence disabilities (Assessment and Accountability Model)
  2. Formalize a transition to postsecondary model for students with IEPs remaining in high school until the age of 21 (Transition to Post-Secondary Instructional Model)
  3. Enhance the capacity of low incidence and transition specialists to facilitate student college and career readiness.

Kentucky's Unbridled Learning Accountability Model

Kentucky's current Unbridled Learning Accountability Model is the statewide framework of assessment and accountability for all students, schools, and districts. This overarching model is organized around the Kentucky Board of Education's four strategic priorities: next-generation learners, next-generation professionals, next-generation support systems, and next-generation schools and districts. For more information about Kentucky's Unbridled Learning Accountability Model see the links below.

Unbridled Learning Overview
Unbridled Learning Accountability Model Details

Within the context of Kentucky's Unbridled Learning Accountability Model, this project was tasked with revising the College and Career Readiness measures within the Next-Generation Learners strategic priority. Specifically, the College and Career Readiness measures for students participating in the alternate assessment were edited and revised. The following documents can help to elaborate and clarify the changes made to the College and Career Readiness measures for students participating in the alternate assessment.

CCR Introduction and Overview
CCR Measures Comparison Chart
CCR Definitions and Glossary Document
CCR Revised Measures-Outline by Grade
Talking Points on Revisions to CCR Readiness Measures

The chart below outlines the new ways in which a student participating on the alternate assessment can be considered college and/or career ready.

CCR Chart

The state is considering changes to the current accountability system as allowed under ESSA, the new, main federal law governing public education. The current timeline calls for the new system to be in place for the 2017-18 school year.

Information about the Commissioner’s Accountability Steering Committee and Workgroups can be found at A link to the ESSA page can also accessed from that page.

The Accountability Design Recommendations can be found at

The Monday DAC email from December 5, 2016 outlines the revised timelines for the career ready measures for students participating in the alternate assessment. The DAC email can be found at

What's Going On in the CCR for Students Using Alternate Assessment project

Project Implementation

CCR for students participating in the alternate assessment will be implemented using a phased roll out plan. Support to districts will be provided in tiers of varying intensity.


  • Four CCR Usability Sites begin implementation. CCR usability sites are located at Campbell County High School, Christian County High School, Franklin-Simpson High School, Spencer County High School.
  • All LEAs engage in CCR Readiness Activities


  • District Team Development and Initial Training by the Regional Special Education Cooperative/Continue Pilot for Districts Previously Trained
  • Usability sites continue
  • Ongoing Pilot Program
  • Usability Sites Complete Activities


  • Readiness Program Part of Accountability

Prior to the 2018-2019 academic year, the CCR implementation and roll-out process will occur in three-tiers of varying support.

  • Usability Sites (detailed above) will receive intensive service.
  • Targeted districts will receive additional training, but support will be provided by cooperative consultants.
  • All remaining districts will receive universal support to begin at a later date.

CCR Implementation Chart

Video and Presentations

Module 1: Changes to College and Career Readiness Measures for Students Participating in the Alternate Assessment: An Overview

Module 1 Training Presentation

CCR Overview for Alternate Assessment

Module 1 Accompanying Documents

CCR Chart
Definitions for CCR with Glossary
CCR Intro and Rational for CCR Measures for Alternate Assessment
Talking Points for CCR Revisions Alternate Assessment
Fast Five on Friday May 22, 2015

Module 2 Training Presentation

Employability and Foundational Academic Standards

Module 2 Accompanying Documents

EFASAA and Progressions Combined

Module 3 Training Presentation

Employability Skills Attainment Record

Module 3 Accompanying Documents

Annotated ESAR

Module 4 Training Presentation

Career Work Experience Certification

Module 4 Accompanying Documents

Career Work Experience Certification Description

Module 5 Training Presentation

Documentation and Data Collection

Module 6 Training Presentation

Focusing the District/School Team

Module 6 Accompanying Documents

Taxonomy for Kentucky KDE
CCR District Action Plan
KY Self-Assessment

Module 7 Training Presentation

Getting Started: Piloting and Classroom Instruction

Module 7 Accompanying Documents

Kentucky Work Based Learning Manual
Course of Study Leading to Alternative High School Diploma
CCR Instructional Curricular Resources Handout



Curriculum Resources

Kentucky Alternate Assessment Program (Alternate K-PREP) documents and standards:
Kentucky Alternate Assessment Program (Alternate K-PREP) Overview
Alternate K-Prep Planning Resources
New documents and measures created for College and Career Readiness for Students on Alternate Assessment:
Employability and Foundation Academic Standards-Alternate Assessment
Employability and Foundational Academic Standards-Alternate Assessment Progressions
Employability and Foundational Academic Standards-Alternate Assessment Standards with Progressions Combined
Sample Course of Study Descriptions
Course of Study Matrix
Multi Year Course of Study Template
Sample Course Titles and Descriptions for Alternative Diploma
CCR Acronyms

Instructional Resources

Sample Unit Plans:

Sample Lesson Plans:

Sample Activities:

Helpful Websites:

National Organizations and Associations
AHEAD Association on Higher Education and Disability
CCSSO Council of Chief State School Officers
CEEDAR Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform
College and Career Readiness and Success Center
Think College
IDEA Partnership: Cradle to College and Career Collection Tools
The Council of Chief State School Officers
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD) for Youth
NCEO National Center on Educational Outcomes
The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder
PARCC Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers
National Center on Intensive Intervention
National Gateway to Self-Determination
US Department of Labor: Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
NTACT National Technical Assistance Center on Transition
National Disability Institute
Kentucky State Websites
Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
Kentucky Post School Outcome Data Collection
Supported Higher Education Project
Kentucky Department of Education: Career and Technical Education
Kentucky Department of Education: Work-Based Learning Manual
Kentucky Department of Education: Alternate K-PREP Assessment
Kentucky Department of Education: Career Readiness Resources
Kentucky Department of Education: Individual Learning Plan Login and Resources
SPLASH Initiative
Supported Employment Training Project
Transition and Employment
Employment First Transition Planning
Autism Speaks Employment Tool Kit
Division on Career Development and Transition: Council for Exceptional Children Fact Sheets
Institute on Community Integration
JAN: Job Accommodation Network
Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment
Life after IEPs: Transition Resources
Life Centered Education (LCE) Transition Curriculum
Other Resources
The Star Program
I'm Determined
Southeast TACE
Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky
Southeast ADA Center
Kansas Coaching Project: Instructional Coaching
NIRN The National Implementation Research Network
Project Search: Transition Program
The Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction
Tasks Galore
Employment Soft Skills Resources
Bridges Transitions
Project Achieve
Older Students Attainment Company
Inclusion Press
SNAP Curriculum
DO-IT Scholars Program

Research on College and Career Readiness

There is a strong body of research detailing college and career readiness for students with significant cognitive disabilities. See below for articles and research used to support rigorous college and career readiness standards for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
"What does 'College and Career Ready' mean for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities?"

A collaborative interagency, interdisciplinary approach to transition from adolescence to adulthood

Improving College and Career Readiness for Students with Disabilities

Expectations for Students with Cognitive Disabilities: Is the Cup Half Empty or Half Full? Can the Cup Flow Over/

Engaging Youth in Work Experiences

College and Career Ready Standards and Secondary Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities: 101

Empowering Students for the New Frontier: College and Career Readiness

Reflections and Recommendations: Importance of College and Career Readiness for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities


Project employees have provided a list of frequently asked questions and their answers. Click ... to access that information.

College and Career Readiness General Questions

Q: Why must school districts work toward increasing student rates toward college and career readiness?

A: Over the past three decades, the number of jobs in the U.S. economy that require postsecondary education or training has surged. More than 63% of jobs in 2018 will require some postsecondary education/training. Along with this comes increased dedication around preparing high school graduates as competitors in a global economy, presenting the skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education, careers, and as citizens. The public education system is to prepare youth for success after school. This is reflected in initiatives, priorities, and reforms. For example:
  • The purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, reauthorized in 2004 is to “prepare (students) for further education, employment and independent living” (IDEA, 2004).
  • President Obama has a stated goal for the country to ensure all students are ready for college and careers when they graduate from high school. The USDOE designed the “Blueprint for Reform” for a re-envisioned federal role in education through the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA sets forth the expectations for the federal government, states, districts, and schools to meet these benchmarks for the college and career readiness of America’s students.
    • The Blueprint provides incentives for states to adopt academic standards that prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education and the workplace.
    • The document asserts that “every student should graduate from high school ready for college and a career. Every student should have meaningful opportunities to choose from upon graduation from high school” (Blueprint, p. 7).
    • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act - signed into law on July 22, 2014, aims to help job seekers access education, training and support services necessary for success in the 21st century labor market, and matching employers with skilled workers needed for global economic competition.
  • The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA) released final versions of the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts and Mathematics. The standards define the knowledge and skills all students should master by the end of each grade level in order to be on track for success in college and career.
  • Federally funded national centers assist state educational agencies, local educational agencies, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, and other VR service providers in implementation of evidence-based practices that ensure students with disabilities graduate from high school ready for success in postsecondary education and employment.
  • Senate Bill 1, signed into law March 26, 2009 by Governor Steve Beshear, mandated the implementation of several education initiatives impacting college and career readiness and degree completion in Kentucky.
  • At the state level, the vision of the Kentucky Board of Education is to ensure that all students reach proficiency and graduate from high school ready for college and careers. The board’s vision is informed by a changing economy that requires P-12 schools to prepare students for a more complex and competitive workplace.

Together these initiatives and recommendations are relevant for all students, including students with disabilities at the secondary level, because they have implications for curricula, instruction, and assessment. Further, these initiatives and recommendations reflect the overall focus of improving outcomes for students leaving the K-12 education system.

Q: Where do school districts stand legally with employers by stating the students are CCR?

A: It is essential to assist employers in understanding the Kentucky definitions for College and Career Ready. College readiness is the level of preparation a first-time student needs in order to succeed in a credit-bearing course at a postsecondary institution (regular assessment) or Comprehensive Transition Program (alternate assessment). Career readiness is the level of preparation a high school graduate needs in order to proceed to the next step in a chosen career whether that is postsecondary course-work, industry certification, or entry into the workforce. Schools cannot totally guarantee that a student who meets the requirements of college and/or career definitions or an accountability benchmark or standard will prove their abilities in a postsecondary setting. Nor can employers, once a person is hired. Schools are trying to provide opportunities for their graduates to demonstrate readiness under each definition and CCR measure. As stated in Question 1, at the national and state level many educational reforms and initiatives are in play to assist districts in better preparing students at the high school and postsecondary levels. These reforms and initiatives are attempting to put students on the path to success and economic self-sufficiency.

Alternative High School Diploma

Q: Will the Alternative High School Diploma be considered a "regular diploma" under the revised accountability measures?

A:No. Under 34 C.F.R. §200.19(b)(1)(iv), a “regular high school diploma” means the standard high school diploma awarded to students in a State that is fully aligned with the State’s academic content standards and does not include a GED credential, certificate of attendance, or any alternative award. The term “regular high school diploma” also includes a “higher diploma” that is awarded to students who complete requirements above and beyond what is required for a regular diploma.

As currently written, the course of study for alternate students has a partial alignment with Kentucky standards; those standards only cover a small percentage of the standards used for a regular diploma. Alternative graduation credentials that are not fully aligned with a State’s academic content standards may not be counted as a regular high school diploma for the purpose of calculating the four-year or extended-year graduation rate. Thus, students who graduate with a credential other than a regular high school diploma, such as a GED, modified diploma, or certificate of attendance, may not be included in the numerator, but must be included in the denominator of the four-year and extended-year graduation rate. (Source: USDE – High School Graduation Rate Guidance.)

Unbridled Learning Accountability Model: Next Generation Learners College and Career Readiness Measures

Q: Why did Kentucky revise the way to measure and account for college and career readiness for students participating in the alternate assessment?

A: The current way to measure CCR for students participating in the alternate assessment includes one assessment instrument, the Transition Attainment Record (TAR). The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) wants CCR measures in place that:
  • mirror more closely the measures for students in the general assessment,
  • allow schools to get the same credit or points for students participating in the alternate assessment, and
  • provide stronger Career Ready components, including opportunities to learn needed employability skills through experiential learning.

Currently, students with the most significant cognitive disabilities (typically those students using alternate forms of assessment) lag well behind their same age peers without such disabilities in terms of post-high school success in college and/or career. The KDE hopes the revised measures will be CCR specific and meaningful to the students and their families.

The revised measures will also establish expectations for students and will be accompanied by the development of CCR instructional programming to provide the students the content and experiences needed to meet expectations and gain competencies for postsecondary success.

Q: What does 'college ready' mean for students participating in the alternate assessment?

A: College readiness is the level of preparation a first-time student needs in order to succeed in a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP). Kentucky’s standards of readiness prepare the student for an inclusive and individualized post-secondary experience that encompasses academics, as well as social activities, employment experiences, independent living and leads to a meaningful credential.

Q:What does 'career ready' mean for students participating in the alternate assessment?

A: Career readiness is the level of preparation a high school graduate needs in order to proceed to the next step in a chosen career, whether that is postsecondary coursework, industry certification, or entry into the workforce. According to the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE), career readiness includes core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations in order to function in the workplace and in routine daily activities; employability skills that are essential in any career area such as critical thinking and responsibility; and technical, job-specific skills.

The student has: 1) met the benchmarks on the Employability Skills Attainment Record (ESAR), and 2) has obtained a Career Work Experience Certificate (CWEC).

Q: What are the standards of readiness?

A: Meeting benchmark scores on core academic, employability, and foundational academic skills and the ability to apply those skills within postsecondary, employment, independent living and community settings.

Q: What is the basis for the TAR?

A: The TAR is aligned with the ACT and meets the requirements that students participating in the alternate assessment are assessed on the same academic content. The TAR meets the federal requirement that all students are assessed.

Q: Who is responsible for reporting TAR scores?

A: Districts will self-report TAR data to the KDE.

Q: Which score counts if a student takes the TAR a second time?

A: The highest score from the TAR is reported to the KDE.

Q: What TAR scores determine college readiness for Kentucky students participating in the alternate assessment?

A: Benchmarks from the TAR at grade 11 are English/Reading-19 and Mathematics-16.

Q: What is the basis for the standards within the Employability Skills Attainment Record (ESAR)?

A:The standards included in the ESAR were derived from the Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment (KOSSA) and standards within the Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy's Skills to Pay the Bills research & curriculum. The most salient skills for students participating in the alternate assessment were chosen for inclusion within the ESAR.

Q: What ESAR scores determine career readiness for Kentucky students participating in the alternate assessment?

A: The ESAR, as a summative assessment, will be reviewed, discussed, and scored by the IEP or transition team at Grade 11. If the student does not meet the benchmarks they have another opportunity at Grade 12. Students have the continued opportunity through Grade 14 if they remain in school. This aligns with the TAR process.

Q: What is the basis for achieving the Career Work Experience Certificate (CWEC)?

A: A student must complete an individualized work-based learning process (career pathway) in accordance with a course of study and the student’s least restrictive environment. A minimum of three years is required for the certification process.

Q: How will ESAR scores and the completion of the CWEC be reported?

A: Districts will self-report data to the KDE.

Q: How do the 1.5 points for students who are both college and career ready work?

A: Any student who is considered college ready by meeting the benchmarks on the TAR, and who is considered career ready by meeting benchmarks on the ESAR and obtaining a CWEC is considered college and career ready. The school will then receive 1.5 points instead of 1 point for the student, which will give a school and extra .5 towards 100 on CCR.

Q: When does the school get CCR credit for this student?

A:The scores for accountability will be collected the year the student exits with a graduation code. KDE does not report scores until that time.

If a student participates in graduation ceremony but returns until age 21, the KDE Office of Assessment and Accountability will archive the score until the student exits with a graduation code. KDE will use the highest score since students will be assessed on the ESAR multiple times. Students can also take the TAR multiple times.

Once a district assigns a graduation code to a student there is no further opportunity for CCR credit, whether the student returns to school until age 21 or not.

Q: Does CCR affect funding for high schools?

A: No, the College and Career Readiness measures are one component of a local district’s overall accountability model. Currently, no funding streams are tied to the accountability model.

Q: Is there a medical exemption for the ESAR and CWEC?

A: No. The two Career Ready measures focus on daily instruction over time.

Career Ready Documentation

Q: Will the Alternate Assessment and Accountability Folder (AAAF) be used to document the ESAR and CWEC?

A: No. The AAAF will continue as the storage tool for the TAR documentation. A new folder, the Career Ready Alternate Assessment Folder (CRAAF) will house documentation for the ESAR and CWEC.

Q: What happens to ESAR and CWEC documentation when a student transfer to another schools district?

A: Procedures for the transmittal of records should be followed when a student transfers to another school district. The ESAR and CWEC documentation would be included in that transmittal. Refer to district special education policies and procedures for additional guidance.

Under FERPA, school officials may disclose any and all education records, including disciplinary records and records that were created as a result of a student receiving special education services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to another school or postsecondary institution at which the student seeks or intends to enroll. While parental consent is not required for transferring education records, the school’s annual FERPA notification should indicate that such disclosures are made. (Source: US Department of Education)

Community Based Work Transition Program

Note: more information on the Community Based Work Transition Program can be found on the CBWTP section of this website

Q: How will the Community Based Work Transition Program change, when used as a vehicle for completing coursework leading to the CWEC?

A: Essentially the CBWTP would remain the same and still involve students in their last two years of school. The CCR project is not making changes to the program. However, the district will further develop the coursework and work-based learning opportunities in the years leading up to the students’ last two years.

Changes to the program could occur in the future due to the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and how the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation plans to meet the WIOA requirements.

Q: How much information can be disclosed to an employer when a student participates in the CBWTP?

A: See the CBWTP manual for more explicit instructions and follow FERPA regulations for disclosure of records.


Q: Who can/should have rights to view the ESAR and CWEC documentation in Infinite Campus?

A: Use FERPA regulations to determine who can view any document for an individual student.

FERPA allows "school officials," including teachers, within a school to obtain access to personally identifiable information contained in education records provided the school has determined that they have "legitimate educational interest" in the information. Although the term "school official" is not defined in the statute or regulations, the U.S. Department of Education generally interprets the term to include parties such as: professors; instructors; administrators; health staff; counselors; attorneys; clerical staff; trustees; members of committees and disciplinary boards; and a contractor, volunteer or other party to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions. (Source: US Department of Education)

Q: Is the ESAR truly a secure/confidential assessment document since it it used for instructional purposes from baseline year through exit year?

A: The ESAR is not a secure/confidential assessment document, as in terms of performance events that require students to complete a task during a test window. The formative version of the document is used for instructional purposes from Grades 8-10 until the student exits with a graduation code. The summative version, given at Grade 11 for accountability, contains the same items but has a higher standard rubric. FERPA regulations and confidentiality of student information procedures apply to both versions. Think of this document in the same way as the Transition Attainment Record (TAR).

Instruction to Support College and Career Readiness

Q: How will students be prepared instructionally to meet the benchmarks and scores within the assessment and accountability model?

A:Students will be prepared by receiving instruction that is based on achievement of transition competencies, aligned with the federal level Common Core State Standards (CCSS); the US Department of Labor Standards (USDOL); and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

At the state level instruction will be delivered in alignment with the Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards (KOSSA); the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS), Alternate K-PREP Standards; the Employability and Foundational Academic Skills-Alternate Assessment; the Career Work Experience Certification Process; the Kentucky Work-Based Learning Manual, and the Kentucky Taxonomy for Transition Programming. Instruction will also be based upon evidence based research practices which include, but are not limited to: person centered planning and discovery; involvement in extracurricular activities; opportunity for paid internships; direct instruction in self-determination and self-advocacy skills; leadership opportunities.

Q: What is the role of related service personnel in supporting the instruction that will help students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve college or career readiness status?

A:By definition and role, related service personnel can provide important instruction and support to help students achieve college or career ready status.

Occupational therapy (OT) is the use of treatments to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental or developmental condition. Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill, and educating the client/family in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the client. Occupational therapists often work closely with professionals in physical therapy, speech therapy, nursing, social work, and the community. The strategies and intervention approach used to provide Physical Therapy relate to the student’s need for functional motor skills in the areas of mobility, movement, posture/positioning, access, participation, and safety in the educational environment (including class, school, campus, work sites, and community). The role of the school-based Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is to address the communication process of listening, speaking, reading, and writing to affect functional and measurable changes to fully participate in the educational environment. SLPs work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. SLPs work with both speech and language disorders. Speech disorders occur when a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with their voice or resonance. Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language).

Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Q: Can students with intellectual disabilities go to college?

A:The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) (PL 110-315) was enacted on August 14, 2008, reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965. This law contains a number of important new provisions that improve access to postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities (ID). New provisions for financial aid and the funding of twenty-seven Transition Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) were included in 2008. Kentucky was a recipient of one of these initial TPSID five year grants.

Under the Act students with ID are eligible to apply for federal financial aid to help cover the cost of attending college under these circumstances:

  • The student must meet the definition of ID as outlined in the Act
  • Students must be attending an approved Comprehensive Transition Program - a list of these programs is maintained on the Federal Financial Aid website at
  • Students who meet these two criteria DO NOT have to have a standard high school diploma, or be pursuing a degree or certificate.
  • Students with ID DO still have to meet the financial need criteria for eligibility
  • They are eligible for federal grants and work study funds, but NOT student loans.

Q: Why would a student with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) go to college?

A: Students with ID, just like all students, continue to learn and progress throughout their lives. Instruction is “an effort to assist, or shape, growth” (Bruner, 1966) and there are a wide variety of instructional strategies and techniques validated for this population. In addition to enhancing lifelong learning and increasing specific skills, education beyond high school is a legitimate pathway to a high quality of life.

According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, “in the next decade the United States workforce will have a deficit of nearly 11 million workers who have obtained a post-secondary education. Of this number, the workforce will lack nearly 4 million workers with a post-secondary certificate or associate’s degree.” The meaningful credential offered by CTP programs can help in closing this gap. College graduates enter the job market well positioned for labor market success, and most earn more than their non-college-going peers within a few short years. The move of the U.S. from a manufacturing-based economy to an economy based on knowledge, and the importance of a college education today can be compared to that of a high school education forty years ago (retrieved from on 12/19). It serves as the gateway to better options and more opportunity. In Kentucky, high school graduates earn $25,902.00/year vs. $43,007.00/year for those who completed a bachelor’s degree (retrieved from on 12/19/2013). In fact, any amount of postsecondary education is beneficial. Employees who attended even some college or earned an Associate's degree earned 26 percent more than high school graduates. Students with at least some postsecondary education earn about $473,000 more than their less-educated peers over the course of a lifetime. All people can benefit from post-secondary education.

Q: How can students, without a standard high school diploma and without the ability to pass entrance exams, get into college?

A: The Higher Education Opportunities Act, as amended in 2008, explicitly addresses students with ID and postsecondary education. The Higher Education Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008 and it reauthorized the Higher Education Act of 1965. This law contains a number of important new provisions that improve access to postsecondary education for students with ID. Of particular note are several provisions that address financial aid and create a new model demonstration program and coordinating center for students with ID. Funding of Model Demonstration Programs came about because of this legislation. Kentucky’s Supported Higher Education Program (SHEP) is one of these models. THINK College is the national coordinating center. Additional information can be found at

Q: What is a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)?

A: A Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) is a “carve-out” program, exclusive to students with ID, provided through institutions of higher education (IHEs) to enhance students’ career options. Students who are accepted into a CTP program are not entering the regular undergraduate degree program, but rather a specialized program provided as an option to universities as a part of federal law – the Higher Education Opportunities Act of 2008.

Q: What does a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) look like?

A:CTPs in Kentucky and around the country are not identical. However Think College, the National Coordinating Center for CTPs has developed Standards, Quality Indicators, and Benchmarks for Inclusive Higher Education. These standards are aligned with the definition of a comprehensive postsecondary and transition program for students with intellectual disabilities and reflect institutional and instructional practices that support a Universal Design for Learning framework as outlined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. The standards include the following broad areas:
    • Provide access to a wide array of college course types that are attended by students without disabilities
    • Address issues that may impact college course participation, such as travel, technology, accommodations
    • Provide students with the skills to access ongoing adult learning opportunities
    • Provide students with the supports and experiences necessary to seek and sustain competitive employment
    • Provide access to and support for participation in existing social organizations, facilities, and technology,
    • Ensure student involvement in and control of the establishment of personal goals
    • Ensure the development and promotion of the self-determination skills
    • Identify outcomes or offer an educational credential (e.g., degree or certificate) established by the institution for students enrolled in the program
    • Provide access to academic advising
    • Provide access to college campus resources
    • Collaborate with faculty and staff
    • Adhere to the college’s schedules, policies and procedures, public relations, and communications
    • Establish connections and relationships with key college/university departments
    • Have a designated person to coordinate program-specific services of the comprehensive postsecondary education program
    • Use diverse sources of funding
    • Have a planning and advisory team
    • Conduct evaluation of services and outcomes on a regular basis

To gain more information about CPTs visit Think College

Q: What kind of degree or credential do students with ID earn through a CTP?

A: Students participating in a CTP work toward completion of a meaningful credential granted by the specific Institute of Higher Education (IHE). The name of the credential varies from IHE to IHE.

Q: Which colleges and universities offer CTPs?

A: Currently Murray State University (MSU), Bluegrass Community Technical College (BCTC), Spalding University (SU), and Northern Kentucky University (NKU) all offer Comprehensive Transition Programs.

Q: Do colleges and universities without CTPs serve students with ID?

A: There is precedent for other colleges and universities in Kentucky to admit students with ID on an individual basis even if they do not provide a CTP. For example prior to CTP approval, NKU offered a very strong program that incorporated the principles and framework for inclusive post- interested in attending a particular college should contact the Human Development Institute/University of Kentucky’s Supported Higher Education Program (SHEP). secondary education as outlined in CTPs even though it was not yet a “formal” CTP.

Q: Do these students qualify for financial aid?

A: Recent legislation benefitting Kentucky postsecondary students with intellectual disabilities, KRS 164.7882, provides access to Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) funding for students enrolled in a Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs (CTPs).

Students with ID, who attend a federally approved CTP, are eligible for Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) monies, Pell Grants, and Stafford Loans.

Q: Are grades/grade point averages required for students who participated in the alternate assessment to receive KEES money?

A: Under HB45 students attending a CTP, even if they have an alternative high school diploma, will receive KEES money, exclusive of grades and GPA. However, proof that students are making satisfactory academic progress is required. This may be a letter grade or a satisfactory score on an alternate scoring rubric.

The intent of HB 45 was three-fold:

  • Students who receive an alternative high school diploma have access to funds for which all other Kentucky students have access for postsecondary education,
  • Students will have more incentive to go on to post-secondary education, and
  • IHEs have an incentive to provide CTPs in order to access this tuition stream (along with student eligibility for Federal Pell grants and Work-Study).

This intent also applies to other students with intellectual disabilities, who may have received a regular high school diploma.

Q: How much money can the students receive?

A: Currently a student attending a CTP receives the 2.50 GPA base amount of $125. Legislation sponsored by Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo has been introduced and is currently in committee to increase the amount to $250. This is based on a 3.0 GPA equivalent.

Q: What kinds of supports are available to students with ID going to college?

A: The kinds of supports students may need are as varied as the students who attend college; however, they fall into three broad categories, academic supports, social supports, and employment supports.

Q: Who provides supports for students with ID in college?

A: At approved CTPs, the Office of Disability Services typically provides and/or arranges for student supports. At non-approved CTPs, supports may be provided via other avenues but a good place to start is the Office of Disability Services which should be able to direct students. Assistance can also be provided by the Human Development Institute/University of Kentucky’s (HDI/UK) through its Supported Higher Education Project, or SHEP.

Q: Is it possible for high school students participating in the Alternate Assessment to be dually enrolled in a Comprehensive Transition Program?

A: Dual enrollment with this population has not yet been thoroughly explored. With the expansion of CTPs in Kentucky and the implementation of revised CCR measures, opportunities for dual-enrollment may increase.