Mission Standards

Mission Standard 1:

The program has a written mission statement that is consistent with the Higher Education Act (HEA) requirements that the program is a “degree, certificate, or non-degree program at an accredited institution that is designed to support students with intellectual disabilities (ID) who are seeking to continue academic, career and technical, and independent living instruction” to obtain competitive integrated employment (CIE).


The mission statement must be consistent with the statutory and regulatory requirements in the HEA. However, a mission statement is not required to explicitly include the language from the definition of a “student with an intellectual disability” and the definition of a “Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities” (CTP) in the HEA. The intent of this standard is to ensure that the mission standard aligns with the law and does not contradict it. For instance, the HEA states that programs must serve students with ID. A mission statement that affirms that the program serves students with a variety of disabilities would be contradictory to the intent and language in the HEA. See glossary for CTP, ID, and CIE definitions.

The term “gainful employment” is used in the CTP definition in HEA. However, the US Department of Education (ED) no longer considers CTPs to be gainful employment programs. The updated term “competitive integrated employment” is used instead, as it is defined in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Required for Review

  • Provide the mission statement.

  • Describe how the mission aligns to the HEA ID and CTP definitions.

    • Provide documentation that the institution is accredited, including the name of the recognized accrediting agency that has accredited the institution

    • Include the weblink to the institution’s accreditation or institutional assessment page

Mission Standard 2:

The program communicates the written mission statement to prospective and current students, families, staff, faculty, and the public, and reviews the statement at least every third year, or sooner if there are significant changes to the program.


The program communicates the mission statement to a variety of stakeholders through multiple communication channels. There must be a process in place that outlines the schedule and conditions under which the mission statement is reviewed by both internal and external stakeholders, and revised, if necessary, on a regular basis.

Required for Review

  • Indicate how the mission statement is communicated to prospective students, students, families, staff, faculty, and the public.

    • Marketing or recruitment materials, or a link to the mission statement

    • Student and/or parent handbooks where mission is referenced

  • State when the current mission statement was written or last reviewed, and by whom.

    • Meeting agendas or other documentation indicating when the current mission statement was developed, updated, or reviewed

  • State the process and timeline for periodic evaluation of the mission statement.

    • Policy indicating when the current mission statement will be reviewed and by whom

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