The Cutting-Edge is an individualized approach to education and inclusion in college for students with intellectual developmental disabilities. These are individuals who have either traditionally not been able to meet the standard admissions criteria for college, or require additional supports in order to be successful in college. Edgewood College is the first four-year college in Wisconsin to offer such a program to students who have intellectual developmental disabilities. From 2007-2012, the Cutting-Edge program has supported 32 students with the opportunity to attend college by attending required/undergraduate courses, practicums and internships, student housing, and learning with a peer mentors by engaging in student-life events, as well as pursuing community service.
Required courses for all Cutting-Edge students are the Resource Seminar, Safety in the Community, and Friends, Dating, and Your Place in a Diverse Community. As well as the required Cutting-Edge courses, students have the option to enroll in general Edgewood College courses.
Practicums and internships are focused to build skills that lead to employment. Participating students are supervised and receive immediate feedback on attendance, compliance with work procedures, customer service, and professionalism. To place a high importance on learning employment skills, the first internship students experience is the Sonderegger Coffee Cart.
Student Housing integrates a balance of academics, socialization, self-determination, and independent living. The Cutting-Edge program has mixture of on-campus and off-campus housing available. Each housing arrangement is supported by a housing peer mentor that facilitates the balance of independent living.
Peer Mentors are drawn from volunteers around numerous areas of the campus. The Special Education graduate students from 600 level courses serve as Study Skill Peer Mentors. These peer mentors meet weekly with Cutting-Edge students to assist with academic and social situations, including: help with coursework; problem-solving daily schedules and needs. Undergraduate students serve as In-Class Peer Mentors and Social Peer Mentors. This is an excellent way for the Cutting-Edge students to break into the social networks already on campus and in the community.
The Alumni of the Cutting-Edge has reached 35 students that have completed the program. Of the 35 alumni, 70% are employed since leaving Edgewood College and 40% are continuing to pursue higher education.
Tuition for the Cutting-Edge students will be the same as the Edgewood College undergraduate tuition. Candidates who are accepted into the Cutting-Edge program will submit a $2,000 deposit, which is credited toward tuition.
Please do not complete the Edgewood College undergraduate application. In the beginning of September, each year we accept the first 20 completed applications. Those 20 candidates will be interviewed by our Selection Committee. In late January, the Selection Committee will begin interviewing candidates. Candidate selection is not based on the student's disability, but rather on the student's level of motivation to attend college and their ability to serve as ambassadors of the Cutting-Edge program. In mid-April, the Selection Committee will notify accepted candidates.
Please submit all materials to:
1000 Edgewood College Drive
Madison, WI 53711
Completed applications include:
- Application (use link above for pdf)
- Recent photo
- Official transcripts
- Letter of reference (not a family member)
- One-page essay - "Why I want to go to college."
- $25 application fee
Please send any questions or comments you may have to:
Dr. Dedra Hafner
Director of the Cutting-Edge Program