Project FOCUS - College of Education - University of Arizona from UA College of Education on Vimeo.


Project FOCUS

The University of Arizona’s College of Education in collaboration with school districts in Pima County is providing a unique post-high school option for students, ages 18-21, who have intellectual disabilities. Project FOCUS (Focusing Opportunities with Community and University Support) is a dual enrollment program designed to support access to University of Arizona’s academic offerings and campus life in order to increase each student’s self-reliance and employability.

Each student in Project FOCUS receives instructional support and enrolls in a minimum of 6 credits per semester for 2 years.  Student’s academic support needs will be individualized using the person centered planning process. In addition to academic coursework, students are provided instructional supports related to campus life, employment, and overall self-reliance.

To accomplish this goal, Project FOCUS, with the assistance Arizona's Rehabilitation Services Administration and campus partners, provides highly trained instructional staff, individualized materials, state-of-the-art technology,  job development and training. 

Project FOCUS is a documented and replicable post-high school transition model that increases academic growth, self-reliance, and the employment of students with intellectual disabilities.




Students with intellectual disabilities, ages 18-21, currently enrolled in school district within Pima County and who meet programmatic criteria will have the opportunity to apply for Project FOCUS.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Student is enrolled in 1 of 11 school districts in Pima County.
  2. Student is 18 years old on or before the first day of the University of Arizona's academic year.
  3. Student has evidence of an intellectual disability. 
  4. Student has a continued need to fulfill graduation requirements in core credit areas.
  5. Student demonstrates a willingness to change behaviors and learn new skills.
  6. Student demonstrates a desire to be in the community full time.
  7. Student is medically stable.
  8. Student is safe to self and others.
  9. Student is able to attend to tasks.
  10. Student is able to demonstrate interests consistent with University of Arizona course work.
  11. Student, family or stakeholders are invested and supportive of student's independence.
  12. Student, family or stakeholders are invested and supportive of the student's acquisition of gainful employment. 
  13. Student, family and stakeholders are invested and supportive of the student's involvement in technology and social media.
  14. Student is able to begin Project FOCUS one week prior to the start of the University of Arizona’s fall academic calendar.
  15. Student, family or stakeholders are able to provide the $50 admission’s application fee, $25 CatCard fee to the University of Arizona if accepted in Project FOCUS.
  16. Student, family, or stakeholders are willing to apply for vocational rehabilitation services in order to be considered for financial support for tuition and fees
  17. In the event that the student does not qualify for financial support from vocational rehabilitation, student, family, or stakeholders will provide tuition and materials as stated in Programs Costs section of this application.

Program Structure

Each student in Project FOCUS will receive instructional support to attend University of Arizona courses totaling a minimum of 13 credits in the first year and 12 credits in the second year.  The program will begin one week prior to the start of the University of Arizona’s fall semester in order to provide freshman orientation to each student. Student’s academic and support needs will be individualized through person centered planning to occur prior to the student’s first course.  In addition to coursework, students will be provided with instructional supports related to campus life, employment, and increases in overall independence.

Program Costs

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a collaborating partner with Project FOCUS.  All interested students must apply for VR services.  If determined eligible by VR the student's tuition, fees and books will be paid.  If the student is ineligible for VR services. Costs not covered by VR are the responsibility of the students, families or stakeholders.