Applications are now open for Cohort #3 of Bear POWER! The completed application and all required documents are due by January 8th at 5:00pm. Cohort #3 will start Fall 2021 Semester. 

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The application is a PDF document that will need to be printed. If you have questions, please contact us at

Bear POWER is a nondegree certificate program. Transfer credits are not accepted. Students admitted to the program will start in January. Bear POWER is a five semester college program that was created to offer a post-secondary education opportunity to students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) transitioning out of high school.

Applicants will only be considered once all items in the checklist below have been submitted. Applicants will receive email notification when their entire packet has been received. An admissions committee will review applications and select candidates to interview. If selected for an interview, the applicant will be notified via email and will be interviewed independently as well as with their family/support person. Not all applicants who complete the application process will be interviewed due to limited space within the program. All applicants will be notified via email or letter if they are or are not accepted to the Bear POWER program.

Admission Criteria

  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent documentation *if you are still enrolled in high school please send us your current transcript with projected graduation date
  • Have a diagnoses of cognitive, intellectual and/or developmental disability, applicant must have qualified for special education services under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 20 U.S.C. 1140, Section 760 (2))
  • Independently demonstrate the desire to attend the Bear POWER Program at MSU and live on campus
  • Have sufficient emotional and independent living skills to participate in college-level coursework and campus life
  • Be able to remain unsupervised for a minimum of 8 hours
  • Have a cell phone
  • Demonstrate the ability to accept responsibility for their actions and maintain respect towards others and have no history of disruptive behaviors
  • Have medical insurance and be independent in handling medications, dietary and/or medical needs *students will have access to existing resources within the Disability Resource Center on campus and in dining halls
  • Participate in an interview with and without support from family/support person
  • Agree to participate in all courses, sessions, internships and employment training, if accepted
  • Successfully participate in the MSU Bear POWER Summer Leadership Retreat, if selected to attend the Leadership Retreat *this is the final step of our admissions process.

Admissions Checklist

  • Completed Student Admission Application
  • Copy of high school transcript *transcript does not have to be official but all students admitted to the Bear POWER Program will need to have an official copy of transcript on file
  • Current IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or ISP (Individualized Service Plan) *May also included a Person Centered Plan
  • Behavioral Records – copy of Functional Behavior Assessments and/or Behavior Intervention Plan for past five years *if student has no records must send a letter directly from school stating there is no record
  • Documentation of intellectual or developmental disability. This can include Educational, Psychological and/or Medical documentation by a qualified professional, this can also include IQ testing but it is not required
  • Three recommendation forms from non-family members who have known the applicant for at least three years *must include at least one educator
  • Copy of any guardianship agreement or documentation, if applicable

Applications and Recommendations should be mailed to:


Rachel Heinz

Attn: Bear POWER Admissions

College of Education

901 S National Avenue

Hill Hall 216

Springfield, Missouri 65897

Admissions Timeline

  1. Complete and submit application packet with all information and fee included. *Applicants will be notified via email once all information is received.
  2. Completed application packets will be reviewed by the Bear POWER Admissions Committee.
  3. Applicants will be notified via email if they have been selected for an interview. If selected, they will participate in an interview independently and with family/support person. They may also be asked to complete a reading and writing sample during interview.
  4. Following interviews, applicants will be notified via email if they are selected to attend the Leadership Retreat. This will be a one day event via Zoom where students will be able to complete a variety of activities. Parents will attend informational meetings at a later date (date to be determined later). This is the final step of our admissions process.
  5. The Bear POWER Admissions Committee will notify up to ten students via email or letter if they are accepted into the Bear POWER Program. All applicants will be notified via email or letter if they are or are not accepted to the Bear POWER program.