STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – After more than a decade of giving students with intellectual and developmental disabilities a chance to experience college while gaining valuable career and life skills, Mississippi State’s ACCESS Program is expanding its reach through online enrichment courses.

ACCESS Online now is open to any student, age 14 or older, regardless of their academic level or disability. The ACCESS Online program, among the first-of-its-kind nationwide, offers innovative courses taught through MSU’s online platform, Canvas, with a curriculum that helps students improve functional life skills, increase independence, expand college and career readiness and develop self-advocacy skills.

ACCESS’s on-campus, four-year residential program was established at MSU in 2010 to provide post-secondary education to students who might otherwise not attend college. It is the only post-secondary, comprehensive transition program in the state and offers students the opportunity to have a full, inclusive college experience, with a focus on academics, career development, independent living and socialization.

“Our mission is to provide students with the knowledge and confidence necessary to become gainfully employed and live as independently as possible in their communities,” said Stacy Jackson, academic coordinator.

The classes are offered in conjunction with MSU’s fall, spring and summer semesters. Fall and spring courses are 13 weeks, while summer courses are 10 weeks. All courses are self-paced with weekly deadlines and taught by MSU’s certified, online-education ACCESS instructors. Students typically engage from three to six hours per week in course content.

Jackson said there are options for full financial sponsorship to cover the cost for qualifying Mississippi residents through the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, and self-pay also is accepted.

To learn more, contact Jackson at slm244@msstate.edu or visit www.access.msstate.edu/online-education.