Regis University Expands Access to New Post-Secondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

For Immediate Release: 

Dominique McKay,, (202) 730-0133

Sheryl Tirol,, (303) 458-4218

Anca Elena Call,, (720) 320-3832




Innovative Program Receives $365,000 in Scholarship Funding to Cover Tuition, Housing

Denver, Colo.— Today, Regis University (“Regis”) announced more than $365,000 in new scholarship funding for Denver County and prospective residential students from across the U.S. enrolling in the university’s groundbreaking GLOBAL Inclusive Program. This innovative program is one of only two post-secondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities offered at a Jesuit university and it is a collaboration effort between Global Down Syndrome Foundation (“GLOBAL”), Regis University and the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation.

A combination of this new scholarship funding and a grant provided by the Anna & John J. Sie Foundation will help ensure in-state and out-of-state students have access to the GLOBAL Inclusive Program. Scholarship funding will help cover costs related to tuition, books and supplies, extracurricular activities, transportation, and room and board. Since its launch, the GLOBAL Inclusive Program continues to receive the support of Regis University at the highest level.

“Establishing the GLOBAL Inclusive Program is perfectly aligned with our Jesuit values and we are excited to bring together the entire university community in support of our students who are differently-abled,” Regis University President Salvador D. AcevesEd.D. said. “We believe that our students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities benefit from diverse learning styles and mutual understanding. Consistent with our Ignatian educational tradition, our faculty and staff are eager to educate the whole student and ensure we set them up for success.” 

“To be able to offer students a safe, welcoming college experience in Denver is a dream come true,” GLOBAL President & CEO Michelle Sie Whitten said. “When I see the independence my own daughter is showing in the program as compared to high school, I feel pride and excitement for her future. Our hope is that we can work with other Jesuit universities and colleges across the nation and create educational research leveraging a larger population base and outcomes.”

The GLOBAL Inclusive Program was initiated under Regis University Provost Karen Riley, Ph.D. Riley is an internationally recognized expert in neurodevelopmental disorders and focuses on improving the lives of children and families impacted by Down syndrome.

Jeanine Coleman, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Division of Education at Regis University and serves as director of the GLOBAL Inclusive Program, utilizing her expertise in Early Childhood Special Education and research on children with neurodevelopmental and intellectual disabilities. Coleman has more than 30 years of experience working at the local and state levels conducting research and policy analyses for children with disabilities.

The GLOBAL Inclusive Program has three levels:

  1. Basic Level: Includes 12-18 credit hours of academic coursework and extracurricular support for independent living and basic job skills over one year.
  2. Intermediate Level: Includes the Basic Level offerings plus 12 additional credits of employment-specific courses over two years.
  3. Advanced Level: Includes the Intermediate Level offerings plus supported residential living over two years.

The program culminates in a college certificate and includes modified curriculum for classes with typical peers, peer mentors and professors to assist with homework, class projects, internships, social activities, sports and exercise.

“My first year has been great,” said Grace Grubb, a 22-year-old currently enrolled in the GLOBAL Inclusive Program. “I like to study, and to hang out with my friends and my peer mentors. My favorite classes are philosophy, religion, and public speaking. I want to live in the dorm. I want to finish college and get a job!”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6.5 million people in the U.S. have an intellectual disability. An estimated 68% graduate from high school, but many of those graduates do not go on to seek a higher education. In 2022, 21% of people with a disability were employed, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Initiatives like the GLOBAL Inclusive Program will help ensure those living with intellectual disabilities are prepared to thrive in adulthood. Learn more about the GLOBAL Inclusive Program, including how to apply for scholarship funding, here.

GLOBAL Inclusive Program Background:

  • Enrolled students complete 12 to 30 credit hours using a combination of modifications and accommodations.
  • Classes include a variety of subjects — including writing, philosophy, communications, psychology, and health and exercise.
  • Students receive support from an Educational Support Specialist (ESS) during classes, tutoring sessions, and class preparation, as well as an Academic Success Coach.
  • The ESS also provides support to faculty that enables the program to make real-time accommodations and modifications in and outside of the classroom.
  • Peer mentors help with practical tasks such as navigating the campus and sharing their social knowledge.
  • Two days a week the students participate in a physical fitness class using the Mann Method of Physical Therapy and Fitness.



Established in 1877, Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit Catholic tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning and service. Regis University, one of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, has three campus locations in the Denver metro area and extensive online program offerings with more than 6,000 enrolled students. For more information, visit

# # #

Recent Posts