Grant cuts costs for students in Kennesaw State’s inclusive learning program

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jul 20, 2021

A new $25,000 grant from the Homer N. Allen Charitable Trust will provide scholarships for students in Kennesaw State University’s Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth. The trust has now awarded the academy a total of $100,000 over the past four years.

The academy provides an inclusive post-secondary college experience to students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Program participants audit one typical university course per semester, while also participating in social integration, career exploration internships and training through academy-based courses.

“The Homer N. Allen Trust has been phenomenal to work with,” said Neil Duchac, executive director of the Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth. “With their overall support of our mission and of our students, we’re really blessed to have a partnership with them.”

Scholarships from the trust’s grants have benefited nearly two dozen students over the past three years, Duchac said.

Established in 2009, Kennesaw State’s post-secondary inclusive learning program is the oldest and largest of the eight in the state. In August, the academy will welcome 50 students for fall semester. Students who complete the two-year academy course of study earn a certificate of social growth and development. Those who do exceptionally well qualify to continue, and in another two years earn a certificate of advanced leadership and career development.

Academy students receive academic and career counseling support, participate in internships and work with peer counselors, KSU students who advise and assist them in their audited classes and encourage campus social engagement.

The mission of the Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth is to help its graduates lead more independent lives and prepare them for successful careers, Duchac said. Research has shown that students who complete a post-secondary inclusive learning program have double the employment rate of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities with only a high school education, as well as achieve higher earnings.

– Gary Tanner

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit