Senate Bill 37 would direct the Higher Education Coordinating Board to maintain a continuous study on the participation of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in higher education, including data on applications, recruitment, admissions, retention, graduation, and professional licensing at both the under graduate and graduate levels.

SB 37 was heard and passed out of the Senate Committee on Higher Education on Wednesday April 15.

Please support SB 37 so that data will be collected by the Higher Education Coordinating Board that can be used to study the issue of post secondary education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities that can support the development of both current programs and future programs in Texas.

The Texas Education Agency already collects data on students who receive special education services once they exit high school in the State Performance Plan Indicator 14. Having the Higher Education Board collect data would be a continuation of data collection and study on this underserved demographic.

Historically, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have not had access to post secondary education. Over the last three decades opportunities have increased substantially across the country. Currently there are over 200 post secondary programs in the United States. In Texas most Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities currently do not have access to post secondary programs in their community. There are about half a dozen programs in Texas, however there are another half dozen colleges and universities either planning to start a program or considering it. We expect the number of programs created will increase substantially in the next 10 years as awareness increases of the desire and ability of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to continue their education beyond high school and the positive outcomes of those who attend post secondary programs. For example at Austin Community College STEPS program 84% of students who graduate from their two-year vocational program are employed after graduation.

PLEASE SUPPORT SB 37! THANK YOU!