About the UMatter Program
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.
Established through a $900,000 grant awarded by the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities, the UMatter program is hosted at USF’s St. Petersburg campus to provide young people with intellectual disabilities the learning, social skills and career training needed to set them up to be competitively employed and live independently.
With support from UMatter professional staff and mentors, students in the program will 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 $7,000 will be available to eligible students to cover tuition, housing, fees and other expenses.
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 Access and Enrichment
- Career Development and Employment
- Campus and Community Engagement
- Independent Living
Students will complete their program of study by earning a certificate of completion and accomplishment and a Career Readiness Badge from USF based upon their individualized career goals and program of study. The Career Readiness Badge addresses eight essential skills employers look for when hiring interns or new employees:
- Career Management
- Critical Thinking
- Global Citizenship
Students who successfully complete the program will obtain competitive employment aligned with their selected program of study.
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 Application
Ready to apply? Learn more about admissions requirements and the application process.