Future of WCU program for individuals with special needs uncertain

Andrew Kramer
November 06, 2019 - 4:00 am
West Chester University's RAM Initiative.

Courtesy of West Chester University

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — West Chester University's RAM Initiative, which began as a pilot program in 2018, could be in trouble. 

The program is funded by an annual grant "to provide a full college immersion experience for one or two non-degree seeking students who have intellectual disabilities," explained the University's Deputy Provost Jeffrey Osgood. 

But right now, the pilot is scheduled to come to an end when this current academic school year is over, something Osgood told KYW Newsradio they hope to change. 

"We're excited about continuing the program," he said, "and our intent has always been for the pilot to be successful and for us to get to the end of the pilot and find a way of continuing it into the future."

The problem is it costs a lot to keep this program alive. The university says they'll need around $100,000 for staff and operating costs. 

They hope a lot of that money comes from donations.

"We're not setting any deadline," said Osgood, "we're just going to continue to engage with the community and seek the support we know is there and ensure all these students who want to access a West Chester University education can and will do so in the future."

The program allows for two students a year. Two students joined in the pilot year, and another one this year.

"All three of those students have done so well, we're so proud of their progress," added Osgood. "We can't wait to see them receive their certificates of completion. We are committed to them and we will make sure they make it through the program."

They will finish the program whether it ends or not.

Osgood says every penny given through the website goes to the RAM Initiative.