UMatter Program


Eileen Hoffman Hafer UMatter Program

See below for more information and opportunities to offer your support.

About the UMatter Program

Vision: Developing self-determined adults by optimizing adult life educational experiences in a university setting. 

Mission: Dedicated to providing an accessible and inclusive university experience leading to competitive integrated employment and independent living.

The Eileen Hoffman Hafer UMatter is an innovative inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) program created to provide young people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to experience higher education and campus life.

UMatter was launched in 2020 through a $900,000 grant awarded by the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities. The program welcomed its inaugural class of students to the USF St. Petersburg campus in August 2021. A $1.2 million gift made by Andrew and Eileen Hafer in September 2021 will allow the program to expand, through the College of Education, to all three of USF’s campuses.

With support from UMatter professional staff and mentors, students in the program navigate the transition from high school to college, acquire skills in socialization and independent living, and experience professional training through internships. Scholarship funds of up to $15,000 are available to eligible students to cover tuition, housing, fees and other expenses.

Program Goals

The program aims to help students increase their skills in the five program components based on their individualized goals and tailored program of study:

  • Academic Advancement 
  • Employment Readiness
  • Social Involvement 
  • Self-Sufficiency 

Students will complete their program of study by earning an Employment Readiness Certificate from the UMatter program and Micro-Badges from USF based upon their individualized career goals and program of study. The Employment Readiness Badge addresses eight essential skills employers look for when hiring interns or new employees:

  • Communications
  • Critical Thinking
  • Global Citizenship
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Teamwork
  • Technology

Students who successfully complete the program will be in a position to obtain competitive employment aligned with their selected program of study. 

Program Benefits

Students in the UMatter program  express a strong desire to continue their education in an inclusive postsecondary setting, explore careers and engage in work-based learning opportunities, and live independently.

Students experience campus life through various activities, including:

  • Auditing college courses
  • Joining and participating in student organizations
  • Completing internships
  • Applying for jobs and obtaining competitive employment
  • Becoming responsible members of their communities

Students in the UMatter program may have the option to live on campus with support from residential coaches, which is a unique opportunity that less than half of the inclusive postsecondary programs in the state of Florida feature offer to program participants.

UMatter Program Brochure

Download a copy of our program brochure by visiting the link below. 

Download Brochure

Learn more about the UMatter Program by attending a Virtual Open House

All virtual open houses are 6:00 - 7:00 PM

  • September 19, 2024
  • November 14, 2024
  • March 13, 2025
  • June 12, 2025

Join Virtual Open House Here

UMatter Program Application

Ready to apply? Learn more about admissions requirements and the application process. 

Learn More

Support the Umatter students and program

By making a gift in support of UMatter, you can help strengthen this life-enhancing program for countless future students.