Integrated Studies

Integrated Studies at Gwynedd Mercy University is a student-centered, inclusive post-secondary program for individuals aged 18-25 with intellectual/developmental disabilities. This program is designed to provide excellent opportunities in education, career development, and social participation within an inclusive academic setting. Integrated Studies strives to create a community that cultivates self-determination, service, self–efficacy, and lifelong learning.

Program Details
Elements of the Program
Admissions Criteria
Admissions Process
Application Checklist
Tuition and Financial Aid
Support for Students
Living on Campus
Peer Mentors

Program Details

Integrated Studies is a fully-inclusive postsecondary program on Gwynedd Mercy University’s campus, offering two-year or four-year college experiences for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (ID/DD) to progressively develop skills each semester related to academic interest, employment, communication, healthy living, and technology with the ultimate goal of increased independence, meaningful employment and self-actualization. The program is based on Think College Standards and created with support from the PA Inclusive Higher Education Consortium and other successful programs. Integrated Studies students will be active members of Gwynedd Mercy University’s community as they will audit college courses, participate in community-based internships, attend sporting events, eat in the dining hall, and have the opportunity to live in the residence halls. Students will earn a non-degree certificate of  Integrated Studies and a university transcript that includes the courses and internships completed as well as a portfolio of highlighted work. 

Elements of the Program




Admissions Criteria 

In order to be admitted into GMercyU's Integrated Studies program, each student must:

  • Be between the ages of 18-25 at the start of the program. 
  • Have a documented diagnosis of intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Demonstrate interest in pursuing higher education at Gwynedd Mercy University and gaining meaningful employment.
  • Have exited high school or secondary institution (diploma, GED, special education diploma, certificate). 
  • Have either received or would have been eligible to receive services under IDEA (i.e., had an IEP/504). 
  • Demonstrate sufficient emotional stability, safety, and independent living skills to participate with minimal support in all aspects of the Integrated Studies coursework and campus environment.
  • Have functional literacy skills and basic computer literacy in order to comprehend basic safety signage, complete assignments with supports, and navigate the campus independently.
  • Have the potential to successfully achieve goals and the course requirements set out for an Audit designation with minimal support. 
  • Be able to appropriately participate in 75-minute classes with necessary accommodations in place to function independently in social situations such as being alone in the Griffin Complex, academic buildings, cafeteria, etc.
  • Be able to accept and follow campus rules and policies and behave respectfully towards others without supervision.
  • Have their own cell phone. 
  • Highly desired: enrolled in county supports coordination/OVR/waiver at the start of the program. 
     

Admissions Process

Contact Ariana Amaya (amaya.a@gmercyu.edu) to coordinate a campus tour with Admissions and a meeting to discuss Integrated Studies. 

Integrated Studies will be accepting five-six students for the Spring 2020 semester, and an additional five-six students beginning Fall 2020. When submitting an application, you may note that you would like to be considered for either Spring 2020 or Fall 2020 admission. 

Spring 2020

  • Applications for Spring 2020 will be due by November 1, 2019. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and it is recommended to submit an application at your earliest convenience. 
  • On-campus interviews will take place after all materials are received for student and their parents/guardian. 
  • Decision letters will be mailed on or before November 30, 2019. 
  • A person-centered planning meeting will take place prior to the start of the semester (involving the student, parents/guardians, program staff and support team) and after a student has accepted admission and made a deposit. 

Fall 2020

  • Applications for Fall 2020 will be due on March 15, 2020. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and it is recommended to submit an application at your earliest convenience. 
  • On-campus interviews will take place after all materials are received for student and their parents/guardian. 
  • Decision letters will be mailed on or before April 15, 2020. 
  • A person-centered planning meeting will take place prior to the start of the semester (involving the student, parents/guardians, program staff and support team) and after a student has accepted admission and made a deposit. 

Application Checklist 

Applications may be completed digitally using the links below. Please send all supplemental materials to Ariana Amaya at amaya.a@gmercyu.edu with the subject line including the student’s name.

o Complete application for admission.
o Complete Student Interest Questionnaire on the application, or email your response as a video or PowerPoint attachment.
o Submit two recommendation forms from current/former teacher or employer and/or member of community (coach, mentor etc.) online
o Email official high school transcripts and most recent IEP/504 and (if applicable) ISP and summary of performance.
o Email resume or summary of work/volunteer history

After all materials have been received, applicants and their families will be invited to an in-person interview and campus tour. NOTE: Due to space limitations, it is possible that not all applicants who meet criteria for admission will be accepted into the Integrated Studies Program. A waitlist will be available. 

Tuition

  • Students will pay undergraduate, full-time tuition without any additional program-specific fees. Learn more about GMercyU's Tuition Rates
  • The cost of living in residence halls varies depending on the room selected. Learn more about GMercyU's Residence Halls rates
  • Residential students will be required to purchase a meal plan, but it is strongly encouraged for non-residential students to have a meal plan as well to provide opportunity for campus social participation over lunch with peers. 
  • Books, class materials, and school supplies are not included in the cost of tuition. 

Financial Aid

  • Think College has a helpful resource on paying for college, and program staff is available to advise on this process to ensure that the program is financially accessible for any accepted student.
  • Students should complete the FAFSA during their admissions process to determine if they are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Grants or Federal Work-Study. Integrated Studies has submitted paperwork to become a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) which will allow students to have access to these federal financial aid dollars. 
  • Students may apply funds from PA waiver funding or OVR funding (once CTP is approved).
  • Additional scholarships may be available through:

Support for Students 

Prior to the start of a student’s first semester, a person-centered planning meeting will take place including the student, Integrated Studies program staff, family members, supports coordinators etc. to discuss and create an individualized plan for a student’s time at Gwynedd. Students will have individualized supports to maximize independence and success on campus. Some examples include: 

  • Syllabus modification for audited courses – creating assignments to meet student’s learning goals within each course
  • Weekly/Bi-weekly meeting with Integrated Studies program staff to review goals and introduce strategies for success
  • Academic coaches – peer students who volunteer to offer academic support (time management strategies, organization etc.) outside of class time 
  • Peer mentors- peer students that will provide support within classes, during lunch, at the gym etc. 
  • Peer tutors- All Gwynedd students have access to tutors through the Academic Resource Center, who will have gone through additional training on unique teaching strategies for diverse learners
  • Job coaches- Students will have job coaches provided (either students who have received additional training, or through supports coordination) as needed with the goal of fading supports and introducing strategies to maximize independence 
  • Natural supports will be encouraged within the classroom and campus environment

Living on Campus 

Students will have the option to live in the residence halls in an inclusive environment. Students will be supported by an RA (Resident Assistant) who has received additional training in strategies to support students with ID/DD. To promote success and safety in living in residence halls, students and families will complete a residential assessment to help determine if it will be a good fit for students. 

Additional information about residence hall options may be found here. 

Peer Mentors

GMercyU Integrated Studies is seeking peer mentors, academic coaches, and job coaches to promote independence and provide individualized support. If interested, please complete the application below. For additional information, please reach out to Dr. Ariana Amaya, Program Coordinator of Integrated Studies at amaya.a@gmercyu.edu.

Peer Mentor Application