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TSU TO CHANGE LIVES OF YOUNG ADULTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES, RECEIVES $284,000 IN GRANT AWARD

By: Alexis Clark

Tennessee State University has received $284,000 from the TN Department of Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (DIDD), becoming the first public institution in Middle Tennessee and HBCU in the nation to offer the program.

A check presentation took place Tuesday morning as DIDD commissioner Brad Turner and his team joined TSU President Glenda Glover, Dr. Anita McGaha, TSU director of disability services, Rep. Harold Love Jr., Senator Brenda Gilmore and staff for the historic event.

TSU’s grant will be spread over two years to create TigerEDGE (Educate, Develop, and Grow for Employability) a non-degree certificate program for students ages 18-26.

“We are fulfilling our mission to provide a college education and experience to a population that is often overlooked and underserved,” said President Glover. “We are indeed proud. We will work to change the lives of the program participants and their families.”

Commissioner Turner, who stated that he is a parent of a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), said it is an honor to present the grant to TSU. “It speaks value about the importance you see in students with disabilities and creating a brighter future for them,” he said.

Turner said being able to tell students that there is a public institution suitable for their education is the beginning of something great. “There are schools that you can go to that believe you have every right to have a 4-year college degree if that is what you want to do. And TSU is once again, leading that in higher education.”

Dr. McGaha said the program is currently targeting enrollment of eight students for the Fall semester. The unique program will provide the students with a residential and academic ambassador on campus, and mentors to assist the selected students.

“We all want to see our students, our children to succeed in life and we believe that this program is a tool to provide that,” Dr. McGaha said.

TSU is among four higher education institutions to receive the Tennessee Believes grant from DIDD, which is a program that provides funding to colleges to create or expand post-secondary opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information about the TigerEDGE Program or how to apply, contact Dr. McGaha at amcgaha@Tnstate.edu.

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