UI REACH offers courses on academic skill building, career preparation, independent living, and student self- advocacy. Reading, writing, and math skills are further developed, focused on helping students attain benchmarks towards independence.

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UI reach person helping student in computer lab

Professional instructors, trained mentors, and education interns provide individualized support where needed.

The UI REACH curriculum is designed to educate the students holistically, provide meaningful and useful daily living skills, and skills and assist them in reaching their full potential as more independent and productive members of the community.

In addition to the UI REACH curriculum, students may take traditional college courses* for credit or audit. The University of Iowa’s Student Disability Services offers accommodations that increase students’ chances of success in these classes. Students may also enroll in courses at Kirkwood Community College’s Iowa City campus. *Additional fees may apply for traditional college and Kirkwood classes.

A student-centered planning approach is used to develop goals and monitor individual progress. Students receive academic enrichment and support through our academic success classes, small group study sessions, and study labs.

Academic Credit


UI REACH courses engage students in powerful applied learning opportunities, integrating classroom learning with structured real-world learning experiences.

Ui Reach Self-Contained Courses

Most UI REACH self-contained courses are split into proficiency based small groups to allow instructors to provide targeted instructions that will maximize student growth. Courses focus on 21st century independent living success, student self-advocacy, and academic skill-building.

Examples of Academic UI REACH courses that all UI REACH students participate in include: Reading Strategies, Expressive Writing, Personal Finance, Computers and Technology, and Health: Positive Choices. Students also have an opportunity to take elective courses aligned with their interests. For a complete list of UI REACH courses, refer to the General Catalog.

Integrated Courses

UI REACH students are also expected to enroll in integrated courses alongside University of Iowa undergraduate students. These courses are tailored to provide all involved learners with a meaningful, integrated, educational experience. UI REACH students receive support from UI REACH instructors and staff as part of their involvement in these integrated opportunities.

Traditional Inclusive Courses

UI REACH students may take traditional inclusive courses depending on the interests, goals, and strengths of each student. This is an option after completing at least one semester as a UI REACH student.

UI Undergraduate Courses

UI REACH students succeeding in their UI REACH courses have an opportunity to enroll in University of Iowa undergraduate classes for credit, but as a non-degree seeking student. Students taking a University of Iowa course for credit are strongly encouraged to apply for accommodations through Student Disability Services. Students taking traditional courses for credit may only receive support based on accommodations outlined in their Student Disability letter. UI REACH staff can provide support in registering for courses and accommodations,


Internships are also for academic credit. There is a classroom and job site element to the scores you will earn. Students are assessed using the same standards-based grading scores as the classroom.

Student Progress

Each student's progress, preferences, and goals are monitored. Grades are given in each class. Passing grades and effort toward achieving goals are part of the graduation requirements. Students must earn a satisfactory grade to earn credit for each UI REACH course. In addition to an official satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade given for each course, students are also assessed on an array of UI REACH content benchmarks. Progress reports are issued for students after each semester.

Students may be placed on academic probation or even dismissed from the program if they do not attend classes or complete assignments satisfactorily.

The class schedule, courses, and career experiences change each semester for students.

Sample Schedule - Year 1 student

Campus Life

UI Reach group baking

Students live in a fully inclusive on-campus residence hall and participate in activities facilitated by our staff to help fully immerse them in campus life, while connecting with other University of Iowa students.

Students live in a fully inclusive on-campus residence hall with a trained UI REACH Resident Assistant on each floor. UI REACH staff are on-call 24/7 via phone for emergencies. They share a room with other UI REACH students and live on co-ed and single sex floors.

The University of Iowa community offers a variety of activities ranging from Big Ten sports to arts and cultural events.

By connecting with others and enjoying all that the University of Iowa has to offer, students gain self-confidence, interpersonal skills, an awareness of personal safety on a large campus, understanding of public transportation, and knowledge of community resources.

Summer Family Orientation is an opportunity for staff to share information with parents/guardians and incoming students. In May, Year 1 students and their families participate in a two-day UI REACH orientation. Students meet their peers, register for classes, and begin exploring campus. Parents connect with staff and fellow parents while exploring how to prepare their student to transition successfully to the UI REACH college experience.

Move-in is in August a few days before the University fall semester begins. UI REACH staff assist with registration, navigating the halls for move-in, and supporting UI REACH families as students settle into their new room.

During the afternoon of move-in, UI REACH staff review staff supports, expectations, and orientation schedule with students.

Fall Orientation further supports students in their adjustment to college life. For the first week of the semester, orientation events, including informational sessions, small group activities, and campus activities help students learn more about the University of Iowa and prepare for the UI REACH experience. Students learn about the weekly schedule, campus life, and campus navigation. Some of these leisure activities of orientation promote getting to know others and safety.

The residence hall experience is an engaging and exciting community experience. Students live in an inclusive campus residence hall and participate in activities facilitated by our staff to help transition into campus life. . UI REACH Resident Assistants (RAs) - undergraduate student staff - live in the UI REACH community, lead activities for students, support students in their transitions to college, and provide support during situations that may arise in the hall. A professional UI REACH staff member is on-call 24 hours a day for emergency situations.

University of Iowa Halls have amenities including a fitness room, computer lab, floor lounges, and a multipurpose room forroom for weekly student activities. UI REACH students are encouraged to get involved in hall and campus organizations to interact with their peers and develop leadership skills.

UI REACH students experience campus life with other University of Iowa students through participation in cultural and social events, student organizations, and sporting events. Students are encouraged to participate in recreational opportunities offered on the University campus to enjoy their current interests and explore new opportunities. The University of Iowa encourages students to apply their enhanced life and independent living skills through real-world experiences.

A variety of activities and learning opportunities are offered weekly, and attendance at activities is expected of students. Training on skills needed to live and work independently, including healthy lifestyles, and safety, safety awareness, time management and self-advocacy, are emphasized throughout the program.

Students in the UI REACH Program must follow the expectations and policies outlined in the University of Iowa Code of Student Life, Residence Hall Policies, and UI REACH Program Handbook. UI REACH students typically have the same consequences as do traditional students for code violations as prescribed in the University of Iowa's disciplinary process.

Developing community life skills enables our alumni to live with greater self-sufficiency and to contribute to their community through successful employment and leisure activities. Students gain self-confidence, interpersonal skills, knowledge of community resources, and an awareness of personal safety as they explore the city for work and leisure activities.

The combined Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available on the UI Office of Campus Safety website. If you would like to receive a paper copy of this report, you may contact the University of Iowa Office of Campus Safety at 808 University Capitol Centre, Iowa City, IA 52242, or by calling (319) 335-5022.  The report contains information regarding campus security and personal safety including topics such as: crime prevention, fire safety, university police law enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, disciplinary procedures and other matters of importance related to security and safety on campus. It also contains information about crime statistics for the three previous calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by UI; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.  This information is required by federal law.