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The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Creating opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures.

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E-mail this pageTransition to Postsecondary Education Community of Practice


Our mission is to create a venue for participants to learn from each other about how to ensure that ALL youth with disabilities, including youth with intellectual disabilities, have the opportunity to prepare for and participate in postsecondary education. 

The Transition to Postsecondary Education Community of Practice will create opportunities for participants to identify and reach consensus on priorities concerning postsecondary education transition, to identify and disseminate research-based practices, and to identify ways to improve postsecondary participation for all youth with disabilities.

This Community will provide members and visitors with:

  • Opportunities to learn from each other and build state and local capacity to improve the postsecondary participation of all youth;
  • Opportunities to learn about how youth with intellectual disabilities are being supported in gaining access to postsecondary education options;
  • A forum to suggest and develop resources, solutions, and materials;
  • Opportunities to collaborate, communicate, and problem-solve on topics related to postsecondary education transition;
  • Opportunities to share best practices;
  • Access to colleagues, activities, and current events related to postsecondary education transition; and
  • Links to information on postsecondary education transition.

E-mail Discussion Forum

One of the basic features of this Community is an e-mail based discussion forum or listserv. This feature - the only closed section of our community of practice - allows members to post questions, comments, and information and to share ideas with other members. We are open to a wide range of information, questions, opinions, requests, and news.

To access this section of the community, you must sign up to be a member of the community listserv. Specific communication guidelines and ground rules will be provided once individuals subscribe.

To Sign Up

  • Address an e-mail message to
  • Leave the Subject line blank
  • Type subscribe PSE_Transition yourfirstname yourlastname (insert your actual first and last name) in the Body of the message. Ex. subscribe PSE_Transition Jane Doe
  • Send the message

You will receive an e-mail requesting you to confirm your subscription request. Watch for this e-mail and respond within 48 hours or else your request will not go through. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact Megan Dushin at

Calendar of Events

Please visit the NCSET Events Calendar and this Community page for information on upcoming events. A teleconference will be held on Issues Regarding Finding and Qualifying for Financial Aid sometime this year. To receive an e-mail announcing the date, join NCSET E-News, subscribe to this community listserv, or visit this page again soon.

Get Involved in the Community

The Transition Community of Practice is made up of a variety of stakeholders and professionals like you.  We are currently working together on important issues and projects affecting transition to postsecondary education for students with disabilities.  If you are interested in getting involved, please sign up for the listserv and/or contact the person(s) listed.

Current Hot Topic(s):

  • Finding and Qualifying for Financial Aid

Projects Underway:

  • Resource Tool on Finding Financial Aid in Traditional and Non-Traditional Ways
    • To contribute, please e-mail potential resources and information to Debra Hart at
  • Teleconference on Issues of Finding and Qualifying for Financial Aid

Subscribe to community listserv and revisit this page for updates on these projects.


NCSET Resources: Web Topics

Preparing for Postsecondary Education
This topic, directed at students, teachers, and parents, provides an overview of self-advocacy, rights, responsibilities, and other issues students with disabilities need to think about when considering a postsecondary education.

Postsecondary Education Supports and Accommodations
This topic explores how the kinds of supports that are currently being offered in postsecondary education, and the manner in which they are offered, are different from supports in secondary education, and may affect outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Self-Determination for Postsecondary Students
This Web topic explores how self-determination—the combined skills of self-awareness, self-advocacy, self-efficacy, decision-making, independent performance, self-evaluation, and adjustment—can contribute to an individual’s ability to establish and achieve his or her own goals during and after higher education experiences.

(See complete list of NCSET Topics for a variety of other resources regarding secondary education and transition)

NCSET Resources: Publications

Interagency Transition Team Development and Facilitation (January 2005)
NCSET Essential Tool
This guide, relevant to national, state, and local levels, offers instruction on (a) how to build an effective interagency transition team; (b) how to determine initial roles, responsibilities, and the team vision; (c) how to conduct interagency transition team meetings; and (d) how to determine whether or not your interagency transition team is making progress and meeting its goals. The manual also includes examples of successful interagency transition teams, and further resources.

DO-IT: Helping Students With Disabilities Transition to College and Careers (September 2003)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief  • Volume  2 ,  Issue  3
Summarizes research on outcomes for students with disabilities in postsecondary school and describes one program, DO-IT Scholars, that successfully applies research findings in a cohesive set of interventions for students who have disabilities. The brief also shares lessons that can be applied to other college and career preparation programs for youth with disabilities.

An Effective Model for College Students With Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (February 2004)
NCSET Research to Practice Brief  • Volume  3 ,  Issue  1
College students with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders who participate in the Virginia Commonwealth University Supported Education Model tend to stay in school and progress in their educational programs, according to a study conducted by the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports. This brief describes the VCU Supported Education Model and results of the study.

High School Graduation Requirements and Students with Disabilities (February 2005)
NCSET Information Brief  • Volume  4 ,  Issue  2
An increasingly common graduation requirement for secondary schools is a passing score on an exit examination. This brief outlines issues and controversies surrounding the use of exit examinations, including the reasons proponents support the use of such exams. The brief also lists some of the intended and unintended consequences of using such exams.

Social Security and Undergraduates with Disabilities: An Analysis of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey (October 2004)
NCSET Information Brief  • Volume  3 ,  Issue  4
This brief provides a rich demographic profile of the utilization of postsecondary education by recipients of Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The brief summarizes the results of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey and also provides information about resources for further information.

Addressing the Needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students With Disabilities in Postsecondary Education (February 2004)
NCSET Information Brief  • Volume  3 ,  Issue  1
Persons with disabilities usually must overcome a variety of challenges not faced by their peers without disabilities in order to gain entry to and succeed in postsecondary education. These challenges are often especially difficult for persons with disabilities of culturally and linguistically diverse heritage. This brief identifies the major challenges of postsecondary education for persons with disabilities of culturally and linguistically diverse heritage and provides recommendations to postsecondary institutions for supporting the educational success of these students.

The Emergence of Psychiatric Disabilities in Postsecondary Education (September 2004)
NCSET Issue Brief  • Volume  3 ,  Issue  1
An unprecedented and growing number of postsecondary students report psychiatric disabilities. This brief provides a brief definition of the issue and an outline of the primary barriers such students face in completing postsecondary education. The brief also offers strategies for postsecondary professionals, recommendations, and further resources.

Challenges in Coordinating Related Services and Supports in Secondary and Postsecondary Educational Settings (December 2002)
NCSET Issue Brief  • Volume  1 ,  Issue  6
Current practices and policies, including differences between youth and adult service delivery systems and the lack of interagency collaboration, complicate service coordination for youth with disabilities. This brief, written for secondary and postsecondary educational administrators, state policy makers, rehabilitation counselors, and researchers, identifies the barriers to successfully managing supports for individuals with disabilities, and provides recommendations for overcoming these barriers.

Parenting Postsecondary Students with Disabilities: Becoming the Mentor, Advocate, and Guide Your Young Adult Needs (March 2002)
NCSET Parent Brief
This brief focuses on the importance of involving parents in the transition from high school to the post-secondary environment, and provides concrete recommendations to help parents learn to mentor and advocate for their post-secondary youth. Includes parent resources and references.

(See the complete listing of NCSET Briefs and Essential Tools for more information on these and other topics.)

Other Resources: National Web Sites

A new Web site from the Institute on Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts-Boston, designed to provide information to students with cognitive disabilities who are interested in finding ways to attend college. The site includes information for students, family members, and professionals, and features a searchable database of postsecondary education programs, a discussion board designed by students, a listserv, and links to Web-based resources.

Postsecondary Innovative Transition and Technology Project (Post-ITT)
The Post-ITT Web Site, funded by OSERS, is a collection of resources and activities established to aid students, parents, educators and Disability Services coordinators in the task of planning for a student's transition from secondary to postsecondary education.  It includes links to colleges in certain areas, activities and worksheets, definitions of important terms, legal issues, and more.

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Program
DO-IT serves to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. It promotes the use of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment. The DO-IT Scholars program includes a live-in summer study program at the University of Washington and work-based learning experiences, as well as access to peers and mentors through electronic communication.

HEATH Resource Center: National Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities
Besides a host of publications, links, and resources, this Web site also includes quick answers to key issues and student voices. See their Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities (2005 Edition). HEATH Resource Center's annual revision of this popular resource guide is now available. The 2005 edition contains completely updated and revised information to help individuals with disabilities to seek and obtain financial assistance for postsecondary education. The guide describes federal financial aid programs, state vocational rehabilitation services, and regional and local sources. A listing of nationally awarded grants and a pre-college checklist to organize the search for funds complete the guide.

Association on Higher Education And Disability
The Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD) is an international, multicultural organization of professionals committed to full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities. The Association is a vital resource, promoting excellence through education, communication, and training.  While the main purpose of AHEAD is to serve disability support services personnel, there are some helpful links, training information, and publications on their website, including archives of the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.

On-Campus Outreach
This Web site, intended to support best practices in transition to postsecondary settings for students with significant disabilities, includes fact sheets, journal articles, a discussion forum, helpful links, and training modules. The site also offers the new online training module "Individual Supports to Increase Access to an Inclusive College Experience for Students with Intellectual Disabilities." This self-paced training module provides an overview of the major steps involved in creating individual supports to access postsecondary education and includes step-by-step instructions, downloadable examples and forms, a glossary, list of acronyms, FAQ, and related Web resources.

Community Contacts

This Community is facilitated by staff of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. For more information about this community, contact:

Megan Conway
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
University of Hawaii-Manoa

Debra Hart

Institute for Community Inclusion
University of Massachusetts-Boston

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This page was last updated on January 12, 2022.