Admission Criteria

Union Mall on a May afternoonAdmission into the EMPOWER program is based on numerous criteria. The program is specifically designed for individuals age 18-24 with mild cognitive disabilities who do not demonstrate significant behavioral or emotional problems. 

Students must have been served in special education in public schools and have an IEP (Individualized Educational Program) or have had similar programming in alternative settings. Students should display functional literacy and math skills as well as demonstrate satisfactory academic progress within their modified course work.

Prospective students must exhibit the necessary independent living skills. These skills are required for them to live in an apartment setting on campus or off campus, and navigate the campus and community. Students also should have the potential to improve their independent living skills and become successfully employed in competitive employment settings at the end of the program.

A big part of the admission decision will be based on the interview with students and family members. Students must demonstrate an interest in the program, and a level of motivation and social skills that would result in their successful experiences in the EMPOWER program. 

Admission Process

  • Fall 2024 application 
  • Application deadline (deadline is strictly adhered to)
      • Jan. 15 
  • Submit 3 letters of recommendation
  • Submit most recent IEP (Individualized Educational Program)
  • Submit documentation of a cognitive disability
  • Submit Psychological Evaluation (within 3 years) 
  • Participate in an interview with EMPOWER staff
  • Program enrollment capacity is currently 25 students

Tuition and fees for EMPOWER students

EMPOWER students pay the same tuition and fees paid by all undergraduate students at the University of Arkansas, including  in-state tuition and fees when appropriate.

In addition, there is a $5,000 per semester EMPOWER program fee that enables the extra supports provided to students.

EMPOWER — Educate, Motivate, Prepare, Opportunity, Workplace Readiness, Employment, Responsibility