School of Education

REAL Certificate

School of Education

Colleges / Schools


Program Types

About the REAL Certificate

The Raising Expectations for Academic Learning or REAL Certificate offers students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities the opportunity to participate in a post-secondary academic-, vocational- and social inclusion-focused program. Applicants will have received extensive special education services in their secondary schools and are not able to access college by meeting typical entrance criteria. Students in the REAL Certificate audit traditional undergraduate courses and participate in inclusive vocational and social experiences. Students have the option to live on campus or commute. An individual plan for college participation is developed for each student. Students must follow the University Code of Conduct and the REAL Certificate does not have the personnel to (1) supervise students with difficult and challenging behaviors; (2) dispense medications or (3) provide personal assistants.

The REAL Certificate is NOT an accredited college degree program and graduating students will receive a certificate of completion.

The REAL Certificate is a Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Eligible students are therefore able to apply for certain types of federal aid. See the Student With Intellectual Disabilities eligibility section of the Federal Student Aid website ( for further information.  Consolidated or Person/Family Directed Supports (PFDS) waiver and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation funding may be used to pay for the REAL Certificate tuition.