Propel Program Visit Days

The Propel Program hosts weekly visit times every Friday. 

Visit times are at 11:15 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

We will discuss the Propel Program, the admission process, tour the campus and answer questions.

If you would like to schedule a visit, or need to schedule an alternate  visit day or time, please email:, 816-235-6340.

Propel Approved as Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program

The Propel Program recently received approval as a Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary (“CTP”) Program from the United States Department of Higher Education.   As an approved CTP Program, Propel students who qualify may receive funding from Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs.  This approval paves the way for students who might otherwise not have access to a postsecondary program.  Since UMKC Propel Program does not charge any additional fees, besides those charged to any UMKC student, this approval allows students to pay a large portion of their tuition and fees through these federal programs.

MDHE Approves Certificate

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (“MDHE”) reviewed the proposal of the Leadership, Employment, and Community Engagement Certificate at their April 27, 2016 meeting.  They approved the proposed certificate enabling the Propel Program to grant the Leadership, Employment and Community Engagement Certificate to each student who completes the two-year program.

Suggested Reading

Disability Studies Guide at the library

(Un)learning disability : recognizing and changing restrictive views of student ability by AnnMarie Darrow Baines

No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement 1st Edition by Joseph P. Shapiro

Think College!: Postsecondary Education Options for Students with Intellectual Disabilities by Meg Grigal Ph.D. and Debra Hart M.S.


Why Propel Matters

In keeping with the Coordinating Board for Higher Education’s plan to increase the number of Missourians earning a college degree or certificate, UMKC’s Propel program provides intensive, wrap-around academic, mentoring and career services to ensure its students not only graduate from the two-year program but are also prepared to go immediately to work or complete the post-secondary education needed for their career goals.

In addition, we expect these instructional and support techniques – person-centered planning, peer mentoring, intrusive advising, academic-skill building, and career coaching — will make a significant research-to-practice contribution and can be shared with other Missouri institutions as strategies to raise retention and completion rates for all.

The recently released Coordinating Board’s 2016 “Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education” stresses access to higher education for a greater share of Missouri residents as well as a reduction of disparities for students at the state’s colleges and universities. The strategy? Raise completion rates by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender and disability by 50 percent by 2025. UMKC’s Propel can certainly help provide a blueprint for achieving this goal, with its emphasis on practical, learner-centered strategies for student success.

Students applying to Propel will go through a rigorous interview as well as provide references from teachers, counselors and others to show they can be successful at UMKC, that there’s a good person-environment fit. Other federal Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) programs have already demonstrated that students with intellectual/developmental disabilities can be successful in college, increasing their ability to find employment after leaving their program.

In just five years, the TPSID program has supported the creation or expansion of programs at 45 colleges and universities serving 1379 students. Over 70 percent of participating students were involved in career development activities and paid internships. Research has shown that these postsecondary programs for students with ID have had a positive impact on student rates of employment and wages, social networks, self-determination skills, and community living.

Missouri has set a goal for 60 percent of its adults age 24–65 to have a two- or four-year degree or career or technical certificate by 2025. This goal corresponds to the expectation that by 2018, 60 percent of jobs in the state will require a college degree or certificate. Given that in the past five years, college enrollment has decreased by 3.6 percent, something has to be done to open up higher education to more Missourians, including those with disabilities, Veteran status, and lower socioeconomic status.

Financially, the Propel program will pay for itself, covering its teaching and staff costs through the five-year grant. The students will be full-time, each taking 12 credit hours per semester and paying full tuition, for a total of $117,558 per year.  Propel is hiring 10 undergraduate and 2 graduate students in paid positions as mentors and academic coaches and will provide service-learning and internship opportunities for other UMKC students interested in careers working with people with disabilities.

2016 Bridge to College Closing Ceremony

The 2016 Bridge to College students’ accomplishments will be recognized on Friday, May 6, 2016 at the Closing Ceremony.  After weeks of developing their career plan, networking, and college plan, they have reached the end of the program.  Each student who has successfully completed the Bridge to College course will receive a Certificate.  Our guest speaker will be Andrew Sartorius, Missouri State Assistant Public Defender.

Congratulations 2016 Bridge to College students!



Save the dates for the Propel Program Orientation for Fall 2016

Students and Parents Orientation

Saturday, August 6

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Student Orientation

Monday, August 8 – Friday, August 12

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Peer Mentors Needed

Are you looking for an on campus job?  Would you like to earn money while learning and giving back?  Each peer mentor will be assigned to 1-2 incoming Propel students in Fall 2016, then 1-2 more incoming Propel students the following Fall.  You will meet weekly with your Propel mentee(s) to get to know them, assist in study skills, social activities and more.

Please review our website for more information about the Propel Program.  If you are in good academic standing, reliable, friendly and ready to commit to several years as a peer mentor to the Propel Program, please contact Rhonda Blanner.

Propel Peer Mentor Job Description

Peer Mentor Job Application

Authorization for Background Check