Policy Research Brief: A Taxonomy for Postsecondary Education Programs for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Part of the Policy Research Brief series.
Mary A McEathron, Trisha Beuhring PhD, Amelia E Maynard, Ann L Mavis


A brief examining postsecondary education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which is on the cusp of major growth thanks to recent federal policy and grant initiatives. Unfortunately, information regarding programs and schools serving this population is limited, thus constraining students' and families' ability to understand the offerings of individual programs and make informed choices among them. This is due both to the rapid increase in programs and the lack of a clear set of relevant characteristics to allow for programmatic comparisons. This issue of Policy Research Brief offers a framework for comparing the features of the growing number of programs, and lays the foundation for further study and comparison of program outcomes. The taxonomy is based on research conducted by Mary McEathron, Trisha Beuhring, Amelia Maynard, and Ann Mavis of the Evaluation Group at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration.


February 2013 
Volume 23, Number 1
Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL)


  • Specific life stage
    • Adolescents and young adults
    • Adults
  • Employment and postsecondary education
    • Postsecondary education
  • Specific disability
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)