The Makor College Experience

For individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
A Partnership Program of Makor Disability Services and Yeshiva University

What is the Makor College Experience? The Makor College Experience is a three-year, non-degree program for young men (typically aged 18 to 25) with Intellectual Disability on the Wilf campus of Yeshiva University in Washington Heights. The Makor College Experience (MCE) provides individuals with Intellectual Disabilities the opportunity to be part of the YU community while gaining skills and exploring opportunities as they transition to a life of independence.

Who runs the Makor College Experience? The MCE is technically a “Day Hab without Walls” program operated by Makor Disability Services (formerly known as Women’s League Community Residences), a lifespan social services organization supporting individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities since 1978. Makor approached Yeshiva University with the idea of opening a college experience program and the two institutions have worked in partnership to make this program a reality.

What is a day at the MCE like? The day begins with Jewish studies in the morning and continues with general studies in the afternoon. In addition to the many opportunities for integration with YU students, MCE participants will have self-contained classes, exposing students to the liberal arts and enhancing students’ independent living skills. The afternoon portion of the program places a heavy emphasis on vocational exploration and opportunities, with Year One focusing on prevocational and job readiness skills; Year Two focusing on career exploration and experiences; and Year Three focusing on Supported Employment and resume building. Towards the end of the second year of the program, students are expected to declare a major. Potential majors include: A) Office and Business skills; B) Retail and Food services; and C) Communal Work and Human Services. Majors will be chosen and developed with the assistance of the students’ advisement faculty based on personal interest, skills and abilities, and employment potential.

Do MCE students earn a degree? No, the MCE is a non-degree program. Students who complete the program requirements will graduate with a Certificate of Completion, a resume, and a reference letter for future employment.

What sort of student is appropriate for the MCE? The typical MCE student should be eager to continue his formal education after high school; have a strong motivation to learn and gain skills; have a long-term goal of finding gainful employment; be excited to become involved in campus life; and should be able to independently enjoy campus life with minimal supervision. To be eligible for the program, a student must: 1) Have a diagnosed intellectual or developmental disability; and 2) have a history of special education and/or State funded services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities; and 3) have attended a high school program designed for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. 

Are inclusion and social opportunities a part of this program? Inclusion and social opportunities are very much a part of the MCE, including peer mentors, homework help, access to University resources and events, and Judaic study partners (chavrusahs). MCE students will attend daily prayer with YU students and are generally a part of the YU community.

Is there a residential component to the program? The Makor College Experience includes a near-campus residential component, although this aspect of the program is not mandatory, and acceptance into the Makor Dorm is separate from, and not guaranteed by, acceptance into the College Experience. Note that residential costs or fees, including any necessary staffing, are not included in the MCE tuition. This is true even for students who are otherwise funded through OPWDD for their day program tuition. Also note that that we cannot provide transportation for students who choose to commute.

What is the cost of the program? The annual tuition is $48,000, paid directly to Makor Disability Services. For New York State residents eligible for services through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), some or all of this fee may be covered through Day Habilitation funds. For Out-of-State students, financial aid is based 100% on private fundraising and may not be available (no Yeshiva University financial aid opportunities are available for participants of this program). Staff from Makor will work with families and service coordinators to see what assistance may be available, and financial need should not preclude potential program participants from seeking more information. Residential (“dorm”) fees are currently $10,000 per year and include an up to $800 per year involvement in the Yeshiva University Meal Plan. Again, residential fees are paid directly to Makor Disability Services and are required from all those seeking residential services, including New York State residents whose day program costs are otherwise funded through OPWDD. 

To apply to the Makor College Experience, please click here

For more information on the Makor College Experience, please contact Dr. Stephen Glicksman, Director of Clinical Innovation at Makor, at 347-390-1315 or sglicksman@makorDS.org.