In 2018, 13.9% of New Hampshire residents 25 and older with a disability had a four-year college degree, in comparison to 24.3% of residents without a disability having a four-year college degree according to the 2019 Disability Statistics CompendiumThe Granite State Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) project hopes to narrow that gap in the next 5 years. 

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Institute on Disability (IOD) was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education. The grant is called Granite State TPSID project. It will assist in creating access for post-secondary education for adults with intellectual disabilities.  

The 2019 Disability Statistics Compendium found that adults with an intellectual disability are more likely to be unemployed and live in poverty.  

UNH issued a press release about the grant on Nov. 23 that covered the goals of the new project: “Over the next five years, the Granite State TPSID project will work to narrow New Hampshire’s education gap by developing a sustainable model to enroll and support up to 50 students with ID at UNH and build capacity across the state’s network of Institutions of Higher Education. In accordance with UNH coronavirus (COVID-19) operating procedures, innovative campus and remote-learning opportunities will combine traditional classroom experiences with inclusive campus life options, peer mentoring, and academic coaching to prepare students for academic, occupational, and social success.”  

Dr. Kelly Nye-Lengerman, Director of the Institute on Disability said, “Opportunities for jobs and careers often come through post-secondary training and education experiences. For many students with ID, post-secondary opportunities are not extended to or expected of them. Today, that experience is changing,” 

In the press release, Principal Investigator for the Granite State TPSID project Dr. Tobey Partch-Davies said he is excited about the project. He said, “We’ve been working with UNH departments on campus as well as state agencies and non-profit partners to develop this model for the past five years. We’re excited to be at this stage of implementation.” 

The Granite State TPSID project works statewide to address the gap in New Hampshire’s higher education gap between individuals with and without an intellectual disability.  

The project will establish access for adults with disabilities to colleges, universities, state agencies and service providers. 

The IOD is pursuing a future where all people, including individuals living with disabilities, are fully engaged members of communities by focusing on scholarships, capacity, and sustainability, which is outlined in their strategic plan.  

UNH IOD was founded in 1987 and focuses on the improvement of knowledge, policies and practices for young adults with a disability and their families.  

Their mission statement on the UNH IOD website states, “The IOD promotes full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.”