Bear POWER Frequently Asked Questions

Through our application and interview process we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions by students and family members.

What does the academic component of Bear POWER look like?

Students engage through the combination of audited courses, support sessions and internships. They choose an “area of concentration” using person-centered planning methods. After completion of five semesters in the program students will get a Bear POWER certificate and walk in the graduation ceremony with their peers.

Please review our blog post on academics.

Will students be in regular classes with MSU students?

Yes, students will enroll in the equivalent of approximately two regular classes (equivalent of 6 credit hours) with typical MSU students in courses of their choice. Prerequisites can be waived if faculty determine that the student has the capacity to obtain learning objectives within a specific course.

Are classes modified or audited?

Both. Course curriculum will be modified by instructors according to the needs of each student. Students may take a course for academic credit or as audit. Grades will be still be received and participation in coursework is still expected for all students. Grades will be kept within the Bear POWER offices and a Satisfactory Academic Progress policy requirement will be expected for all students in the program.

Do students graduate with a degree?

No. Bear POWER students will walk with their peers at graduation but will receive a certificate of completion rather than a degree.

How does the internship portion of the program work?

Beginning the second semester of the program (out of five semesters), students will be placed in an internship position in an area of their work-related interests. Each semester the hours of the internship will increase. 

Do students live in the residence halls?

Yes. The first semester our students live in a Living Learning Community on campus. Once students complete their first semester, they can choose to stay in the LLC or they can live in a different residence hall on campus.

Are there accommodations in the dining halls for students with food allergies or sensitivities?

Yes. Campus Dining Services are happy to accommodate any dietary restrictions or needs a student may have. During campus tours, a specialized tour of the dining halls is available to meet with dining staff to discuss any dietary issues.

What kind of support will my student receive?

Each Bear POWER student will be paired with up to 5 Bear POWER Ambassador student mentors who provide a circle-of-support in the areas of social, academic and health/wellness.

In addition to Bear POWER Ambassadors, students will also receive support from Bear POWER staff and campus faculty who will be modifying coursework for students in our program. Other existing campus resources can also be utilized, such as the Disability Resource Center/Learning Diagnostic Clinic, the Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic, etc.

What is the process for selecting Bear POWER Ambassador student volunteers?    

Bear POWER Ambassadors must submit an application, meet a 2.5 GPA requirement, pass a background check, and complete a two-hour training course for working with students in our program.

You can read about Bear POWER Ambassadors describing their experiences as student mentors with our program here!

How will transportation needs be accommodated on campus?

The Bear Line runs several shuttles, all day on campus during regular semester hours. They frequent common campus locations, and are accessible to all students. In addition, other transportation arrangements can be made on an as needed basis.

What will communication look like with parents of students in the Bear POWER program?

Once students start in the program, parent communication with the Bear POWER program will be very limited and communication will go directly through your student. Our program will be busy ensuring that students have proper supports in place within the four pillars of the program (academic, social, independent living, job readiness), coordinating volunteers and faculty (also making sure they have been trained/prepared) and checking in with Bear POWER students across campus.

How is the Bear POWER program different from a typical college experience?

Students in the Bear POWER program have a modified admissions process that consist of an application, interview and attending our Leadership Retreat.

Bear POWER is a 5 semester (2.5 year) program and students who graduate will receive a certificate and not a degree. The program provides support, accommodations and modifications to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to support them in an inclusive learning environment. You can read more about the Four Pillars of Bear POWER.

What are the goals of the program?

Access our blog post on the Four Pillars of Bear POWER.

What is the Bear POWER program fee and what does that cover?

The Bear POWER program fee is $4,035. The fee supports a self-sustaining program model, and covers additional 6 hours coursework equivalency for Bear POWER students. Learn more about projected program costs of the Bear POWER program.

Can my student still receive financial aid? Are there scholarship opportunities for students in the program?

Yes! Bear POWER is an approved Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) so students in our program can still qualify for federal financial aid if they meet all criteria even though they are not degree seeking. Bear POWER students can also receive scholarships—both national and local. View a list of scholarship opportunities.

What is FERPA?

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and is a federal law that was enacted in 1974. FERPA protects the privacy of student education records. All educational institutions that receive federal funding must comply with FERPA.

If you're a student, it's important for you to understand your rights under FERPA. If you're a parent, you'll need to understand how the law changes once your student enters a post-secondary institution. If you're a university employee, you'll need to understand what information can and cannot be released, and the appropriate procedures for release of student information.

What is FERPA and how does it apply to future Bear POWER students?

FERPA applies to Bear POWER students the same as it applies to all other Missouri State students. There is a FERPA release option which we will be covering in more detail for students accepted to the program.

For more information, please visit the FERPA page and FAQ on the MSU website.