JWCC College for Life FAQs

What is College for Life?

College for Life is an exciting new program for students with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) who want to go to college. 

What are intellectual/developmental disabilities?

Intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) begin before age 22. IDD makes daily living more difficult. Challenges may be in self-care, language, learning, mobility, self-direction, independence, and working. IDD may also include autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, and Down syndrome. CFL is open to students with other learning challenges too. 

What is the CFL mission?

JWCC enriches lives through learning by providing accessible educational opportunities and services at an exceptional value. College for Life extends that mission to students with IDD, allowing JWCC to better reach the community as a whole.

What is the CFL vision?

JWCC will be the community’s partner and leader in education, workforce training, and lifelong learning. Through CFL, JWCC will lead the community in blazing the trail to post-secondary education, workforce development, and lifelong learning for students with IDD.

Why did JWCC start CFL?

JWCC serves the entire community. CFL allows JWCC to better serve students with IDD. CFL students will gain skills, knowledge, and confidence for increased contribution to our greater community as coworkers, friends, and neighbors.

What students should take College for Life courses?

College for Life is for students 18 years of age and older who:

  • Have IDD or similar learning challenge.
  • Want to continue their education beyond high school.
  • Want to take non-credit courses.
  • Want to be part of campus life.

Do students need to be high school graduates?

No. Students who are ages 18-21 and still receiving special education services are encouraged to consider CFL. College for Life can be a part of an effective IEP Transition Plan. Dual-enrolled students can continue receiving special education services from their school district while attending CFL on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The CFL Coordinator is available to talk to parents and educators interested in this option.

What are the goals of College for Life?

College for Life will provide students with:

  • An enriched college experience.
  • An inclusive, welcoming place to belong.
  • Greater independence.
  • Improved work ethics and job skills.
  • Continued learning through non-credit courses.
  • The opportunity to earn a College for Life Certificate through a combination of non-credit, developmental, or regular college courses.

What is required of students?

Students are responsible for:

  • Transportation to and from campus.
  • Lunch. (Like any other student - bring your own, buy on campus, go out with a friend.)
  • Getting around campus. (No supervision will be provided outside of the classroom.)
  • Self-care needs.
  • Following the college code of conduct. (Do not be a danger to yourself or others. Do not interfere with learning.)
  • Payment of tuition. (Specific CFL scholarships may be available. Regular financial aid does not apply to non-credit courses.)

What are the courses?

College for Life courses are non-credit community education courses addressing a variety of topics. Courses prepare students for a fulfilling adult life in their communities. 

Will CFL courses be graded?

CFL courses will be graded Pass/Fail.  

What is the CFL Certificate?

Students who successfully complete a specific course of study can earn a CFL Certificate. The Certificate demonstrates that students show independence, self-advocacy, and work readiness skills in preparation for adult citizenship in the community.

Will students have help in the classroom?

A Learning Coach or volunteers may be available in classes to assist students. Instructors will consider diverse learners when choosing information and activities for the courses. 

What is the College for Life Schedule?

Classes meet twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am to 2:50 PM. Classes are 50 minutes long. CFL follows the JWCC calendar.

How much does College for Life cost?

Tuition is $250/course. Some courses may also have supply fees which are typically $25 - $50 per course. 

Will Medicaid, Social Security, or other disability service funds pay for College for Life?

No.  Unfortunately, College for Life tuition is not paid by any disability programs. Non-credit courses are not eligible for most typical financial aid programs either. Some students have found scholarship opportunities from community civic organizations, churches, or businesses.

How do I enroll?

Contact the CFL Coordinator at 217-641-4340 to make sure that the program fits your needs, or your student’s needs, before you register and pay tuition.

 Can I take CFL courses if I don’t have learning challenges?

Yes! All the same expectations and conditions apply. CFL courses are like any other Community Education Course except information and activities are designed for students with learning differences.

Who are the College for Life instructors?

CFL Instructors want to share knowledge about something they love. We choose CFL instructors like we choose instructors for other Community Based Outreach classes. 

What should I do if Id like to be an instructor?

Contact the CFL Coordinator to get an Adult Course Proposal Form. Submit your Proposal and bio or résumé. You may be asked to do a teaching demonstration. We are looking for creative course proposals. Keep in mind the many learning spaces of the JWCC campus and the needs of diverse learners. Curriculum must align with the College for Life mission and goals. Of course, all instructors must meet JWCC Human Resources requirements.

Do Instructors or Learning Coaches have experience with students with IDD?

Experience with IDD may be helpful but is not required. CFL Instructors and Learning Coaches must attend an orientation training to:

  • Review CFL mission and goals.
  • Review JWCC procedures and requirements.
  • Review best practice in achieving the desired CFL student outcomes. 

Why have I not heard of anything like this before?

CFL is an innovative program. We are part of a nationwide movement toward inclusive post-secondary opportunities (for more information, see www.ThinkCollege.net).