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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Number Of Special Education Students Starting College On The Rise
March 2, 2004

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN--Over the last few decades, more and more of Wisconsin's students with disabilities are making the natural progression to college and university life.

Mary Kampa, a special education director with Cooperative Educational Services Agency 11, recently conducted a state-wide survey to see how many special education students leaving high school in the last three years were enrolled in two- or four-year colleges, vocational or technical schools or some other type of adult education.

The survey found that 45 percent of those students in Wisconsin were signed up for higher education, a number which was higher than similar surveys conducted across the country.

"I think it's huge because, really, it's one of the only avenues to higher salaries and increased opportunities for any of the kids," Kampa told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

According to a report by the National Council on Disability, the percentage of college freshmen with disabilities across the country more than tripled between 1978 and 1998, while the proportion of high school graduates with disabilities that went on to post-secondary education increased from 3% in 1978 to 19% in 1996.

"A lot of the students are going to high school with the intent of going to college, without a doubt," said Marjie Tomter, special education department chairperson at Cedarburg High School. "We see quite a few applying. It's definitely a major focus. And it's a major focus for the families."

Related article:
"College no longer out of the question" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)


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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.