RISE Program | Judson University Christian College

RISE Program at Judson

Road to Independent Living, Spiritual Formation and Employment

RISE to the Challenge and Join Us! Are you looking for a unique opportunity for a post-secondary education for you or a loved one who has an intellectual disability? Through the RISE Program, we give students with intellectual disabilities the college life experience in a Christian community and build upon strengths for independent living and customized employment.

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Who Qualifies?

Students (18-25 years) with:

  • Intellectual disabilities
  • A high school diploma or equivalent
  • Practical reading and writing skills
  • The desire to learn while living in a residential college environment with traditional students

What's Included?

The RISE Program Includes:

  • Person-centered planning
  • Career-oriented curriculum
  • Internships and employment opportunities that match skills and interests
  • Dorm-style living with traditional students
  • Purposeful integration into the campus community
  • Support from qualified student advisors
  • A Certificate of Completion in Liberal Arts with a subject area concentration

Program Location:

The RISE Program takes place at Judson University, a Christian liberal arts university in Elgin, Ill. Our campus is small, safe and gives students the opportunity to experience chapel three times a week, and participate in spiritual formation groups, athletic events, music and theater events, social events and more.

Application Information

Cohorts are two years, begin in late August and follow the typical academic year. Cost and financial aid details can be found on the RISE Tuition and Fees page.

Each Cohort Begins


Application Process

The Application reviews begin on February 1 with the goal of finalizing the fall cohort by February 28. Applications are accepted until the cohort is full. To apply, click on "Apply Now" and complete the Application for Admission. Along with the application, please provide: The most recent IEP, proof of special education qualification and intellectual disability, a high school transcript and $50 application fee.

RISE staff will review the application, check references and may invite the student and parent(s)/guardian(s) to Judson for a personal interview.

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RISE Preview Days

Visit us, tour campus, and get an overview during a special RISE Campus Preview Day in September, November or January.

Learn More

Donate to RISE

If you wish to make a donation to help support the RISE program, click on the donate button below and choose "Department > RISE Program" when designating your gift. Thanks in advance for your support!

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News and Press

Contact Us

For more information about the RISE Program, contact:

Gineen Vargas  

Gineen Vargas
RISE Program Director & ADA Compliance Officer
(847) 628-2524

Drew Burless  

Drew Burless
RISE Program Assistant Director
(847) 628-2525

Support provided by:

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Foglia Family Foundation

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Judson University, Shaping Lives that Shape the World