SF State Inclusion Pilot Project

SF State Inclusion Pilot Project
For Students with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities


The Inclusion Pilot Project is for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are interested in being included in the academic and social components of campus life. The SF State Inclusion Pilot Project works to meet students where they are regardless of ability and aspires to make college accessible to everyone.

A person-centered planning process supports students to create an individualized plan of study aligned with their personal, academic and career goals. An individualized plan typically consists of courses, social activities, intern/job activities, housing support, and a career path. Students in the pilot project are not on a degree track but receive a certificate of completion detailing their satisfaction of their academic, social and vocational goals as laid out in their individualized person-centered plan.


The Program Currently Offers:

  • A person-centered planning process
  • Three hours of paid and trained peer mentors for each student per week
  • Support by trained student mentors
  • Assistance with applying to the California Department of Rehabilitation Services or the Golden Gate Regional Center and other government and service agencies and for additional academic and vocational support services
  • Guidance with setting up a peer support system
  • Support/guidance to the faculty on inclusive teaching practices
  • Regular check-ins and mentoring





Meet the Students

This program started with a pilot cohort of three students in spring 2021. The students selected their courses from the regular course offerings open to all SF State students. They each are enrolled in two or three courses of their interest in different departments, and the curriculum is adapted to their individual needs.

Ishaan, Inclusion Student



“The classes encourage and inspire me to focus and work more in the field of my favorite subjects.”

MaShay, Inclusion Student



“One day I hope to become a veterinarian or one day work with little kids. I also want to publish my first book.”

Augustin, Inclusion Student



“Id like to be an animator because I like creating and drawing. I dream of having a job that makes me feel I can do hard work.”


Impact on the SF State Community


Nina Morente

Impact on Peer Mentors

“While earning my teaching credential and master’s degree at SF State, I have had the amazing opportunity to be a part of a new inclusion program where I was to work with adults who are experiencing their first year of college. I felt supported within a group of creative experts who helped me shape a unique and authentic experience for these students in their college courses. I worked side by side with the student as a partner, as we were fully included in a range of classes from art, to English, to dance. After participating in the inclusion program, I know now that I can work to help any student achieve their dreams of going to and graduating from college.”

Nina Morente
Peer Mentor

Dean Shih-Hsung (Alex) Hwu

Impact on Faculty and Leadership

“The College of Extended Learning (CEL) helps expand access to SF State. In stewarding this new Inclusion Pilot Project, CEL provides a specifically designed pathway for developmentally disabled students that did not previously exist, to study at SF State. It also reflects SF State’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion on its campus. At the same time, it is extremely important for me personally, since I have a son who is on the autism spectrum. I have witnessed first-hand how important support and opportunities are for him to remain on a successful learning path. This program will support learners and families who would otherwise have to navigate a very complex system to access the benefits of higher education. We look forward to serving these new students at SF State.”

Shih-Hsung (Alex) Hwu
Dean, College of Extended Learning



About the Inclusion Pilot Project


Students walk and talk together on the SF State campus

Tuition and Registration

Students register through the College of Extended Learning, Open University. The three pilot students' tuition is supported by the College of Extended Learning and the Department of Rehabilitation.

This program cannot accept new students until sufficient funding has been secured.


Since the passage of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), a growing number of universities have founded programs to improve access to postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities. 

The latest national Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability (TPSID) report (Grigal et al, 2020) shows positive outcomes for students in post-secondary inclusion programs, like:

  • Much higher (64%) employment rates than the general population of adults with IDD (18%)
  • 93% of the included students report that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their social life
  • 78% completed their program
  • Benefits for faculty and students with and without disabilities
  • Increased inclusive instructional practices consistent with Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Burk Hall, home to the Department of Special Education


SF State Partners:

  • Department of Special Education
  • English Department
  • College of Extended Learning
  • Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
  • Marian Wright Edelman Institute
  • Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability
  • Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC)
  • Family, Interiors, Nutrition and Apparel (FINA)

External Partners:

  • California Department of Rehabilitation
  • California Department of Developmental Service (Regional Centers)
  • San Francisco Unified School District
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Dublin Unified School District
  • Think College
SF State sign and trees


Email Inclusion@sfsu.edu
Instagram @SFSU_Inclusion
Facebook SFSU Inclusion Pilot: Students w/ Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities


  • Dr. Julie Paulson, Professor of English
  • Dr. Kathleen Mortier, Assistant Professor of Special Education
  • Dr. Mayumi Hagiwara, Assistant Professor of Special Education
  • Isabella Brown, MA, PhD student at SF State/UC Berkeley Joint Doctoral Program
  • Sadie Egan, MA, Lecturer of Special Education