C.R.S. Section 23-80-102
Legislative declaration


The general assembly finds that:


As of the 2020-21 school year, the department of education reported that an estimated six thousand nine hundred two students with intellectual disabilities reside in Colorado;


Historically, society’s low expectations and limited opportunities have prevented people with intellectual disabilities from the benefits associated with higher education. As a result, many people with intellectual disabilities live in poverty with few prospects other than exceptionally low-paying jobs or sitting idly at home.


Although students with intellectual disabilities have historically been denied higher education opportunities, when opportunities arise, students completing higher education programs reap the benefits of higher education, including high employment rates, better wages, increased socialization, community belonging, and greater independence;


In 2014, under the leadership of IN! Pathways to Inclusive Higher Education, educators, advocates for persons with intellectual disabilities, students, and families began working to create inclusive opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, as Colorado was one of only four states that did not have an inclusive higher education pathway for students with intellectual disabilities;


In 2016, the general assembly enacted a five-year inclusive higher education pilot program at the university of northern Colorado, the university of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Arapahoe community college;


As of 2022, approximately seventy students with intellectual disabilities are enrolled in a higher education institution, participating in traditional classes and course work, living inclusively on campus, and preparing for their careers;


Inclusive higher education pathways are designed to focus on academic growth, social development, independence, and career advancement;


Higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities:


Create career pathways for students with intellectual disabilities;


Ensure students with intellectual disabilities enter the workforce with in-demand skills;


Increase inclusion, social interactions, and meaningful community contributions for students with intellectual disabilities;


Reduce reliance on family and community resources by students with intellectual disabilities; and


Provide employers with access to a historically underutilized workforce;
Since 2016, under the leadership of IN! Pathways to Inclusive Higher Education and the Colorado inclusion consortium, many advancements have been made in Colorado for inclusive higher education for students with intellectual disabilities, including the ability to earn credentials at graduation, access to federal financial aid, and partnerships to support vocational goals; and


The success of the pilot program has created significant demand for more opportunities throughout Colorado.


Therefore, the general assembly declares it is beneficial to create higher education opportunities that support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to develop inclusive higher education programs in Colorado.

Source: Section 23-80-102 — Legislative declaration, https://leg.­colorado.­gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-23.­pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).

Green check means up to date. Up to date

Current through Fall 2024

§ 23-80-102’s source at colorado​.gov