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Coastal Carolina University LIFE provides higher education experience for special population

January 16, 2009

Coastal Carolina University LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone), a new four-year program designed to provide a college experience for students with intellectual disabilities, has been established. The program will begin in fall 2009 and will be administered by the Biddle Center for Community and Education in the University's Spadoni College of Education.

The Coastal Carolina University LIFE program is funded by a three-year, $155,000 grant from the College Transition Connection (CTC), with support from state appropriations. The program is a partnership between the University, the CTC, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the Center for Disability Resources at the University of South Carolina.

Coastal Carolina University LIFE is designed to promote a smooth and effective transition from secondary schools to a four-year higher education institution, as well as provide these postsecondary opportunities on a college campus.

"The innovative, collaborative design of Coastal Carolina University LIFE, strong support of the entire university community and leadership and funding from the College Transition Connection and the state of South Carolina will result in tremendous new opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities in South Carolina and an outstanding model for the rest of the country," said Stephanie Smith Lee, NDSS senior policy adviser.

The program will provide both on and off-campus residential opportunities and academic experiences. It will emphasize student independence and personal development, choice making, individualized work environments, communication skills, money skills, integration within the college community, and transition to an integrated work environment. Emma Savage-Davis, director of the Biddle Center Teaching, Learning and Community Engagement, and Gayle Disney, assistant professor of education at the University, will co-direct the program.

The pilot cohort of up to six students will be admitted in August, with up to six more students accepted each fall thereafter. The program will enable students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to address four key primary areas: (1) academic enrichment, (2) socialization, (3) independent living skills and (4) competitive or supported employment.

For more information, contact the Biddle Center for Teaching, Learning and Community Engagement at Coastal Carolina University, by e-mail at or by telephone at 843-349-2665. Or visit: