EAGLE Academy sees record enrollment
Now in its fifth year, EAGLE Academy is welcoming seven new students–the largest class of incoming students yet, totalling 11 students for the 2023-2024 academic year. With this new record, Georgia Southern University’s certified comprehensive transition program (CTP) moves closer to its goal of helping young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience college and transition to independent adult living.
Program Director Nicholas Roshkind attributes the increase in participation to more awareness about the program and the easing of challenges caused by the pandemic, but expects that the largest draw for students is the availability of a new financial aid option. Starting this fall, the program is eligible for students awarded Georgia’s Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE) Grant. Roshkind says financial aid is especially crucial for his students. “Families raising children with intellectual disabilities often don’t plan for college expenses.”
Roshkind points out additional successes for EAGLE Academy this year beyond increased enrollment. He says, “We’ve made strides to ensure these students will be more included, which is one of the goals of our program.” For example, before moving into their dorm rooms, the new students had an opportunity to choose from three college orientation sessions to attend with the general student body–a first for EAGLE Academy participants. Three students and their families were able to meet each other during the one-day event.
This new class of students can also look forward to finishing their college experience with the general student body. For the first time this past May, program graduates were able to participate in commencement ceremonies at Paulson Stadium. The two graduates had their names read, and they got to walk across the stage to receive their certificate.
So what’s next for Eagle Academy? Roshkind has his eye on the City of Statesboro’s new public transportation option. He sees an opportunity for his students to obtain off-campus employment and is already making connections with businesses along the bus route.
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