Empowerment and Education
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are the fastest growing diversity group entering higher education across the nation. Unfortunately, research shows that only 40% of students with ASD will complete their degrees. The Raven Scholar program is a free, donations-based support service for University of Idaho students with ASD and has a retention and graduation rate of 80%! We’ve shown that with support and tailored education, students with ASD can be highly successful!
The kinds of support needed for the challenges faced by students with ASD are not built into the accommodations required by the Americans with Disability Act, nor are they addressed in other typical student services. With recognition of this gap in U of I services for students with ASD, Tom Alberg and Judi Beck of the Raven Trust generously donated seed funds to develop such supports through the Raven Scholars program. The program launched in 2011 with just four students. Now, and for the past three years, we've had to enact a waitlist and are working on ways to serve more students through a tiered service model starting this fall. This new model is intended to meet the ever-growing demand to serve more incoming students, while continuing to provide an ASD-specific resources for continuing students.
The Raven Scholars program supplies support in ways that other programs and services are unequipped to deliver. We offer a course, INTR 101 - Focus on Success, which is specially designed to support transitioning students in developing organization and time management strategies. In addition, the course teaches soft skills like self-advocacy, conflict management and important life skills. Beyond the course, Tier 1 students have individualized weekly case management meetings with program staff. Tier 2 and 3 students continue to have program advising support, peer-mentor access, advocacy and intervention, but are encouraged to develop their independence in other areas with less frequent program meetings. All tiers have access to the student lounge and are invited to social gatherings, workshops, groups and other program events. We also connect students with opportunities for internships, entry-level positions, mentorships and other opportunities to support their post-graduation career success.
The program needs funding to provide trainings, workshops and social opportunities for students to engage with the program and our peer-mentors. Additional opportunities for social gatherings, workshops and groups improve the outcome and experience for students as it builds a sense of community and belonging. Your donation will help us facilitate more opportunities for students to be a part of the Raven Scholars and U of I community. We greatly appreciate your support!
This year we are providing our donors with new incentives:
- $10 will earn you a Raven Scholars pin.
- $25 will earn you two Raven Scholars stickers and a pin.
- $50 or more will earn you a Raven Scholars mug, stickers and a pin!
Please provide your shipping address in your donation information to receive these incentives by mail, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping information directly, if you prefer.
We genuinely appreciate your support of our U of I students on the Autism spectrum. Thank you!