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Inclusive Higher Education
Aspiring Scholars


The CSUSM Aspiring Scholars Program is a non-degree, four-year university program for students with intellectual disabilities seeking an inclusive college experience. Students enrolled in this Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE) program will learn and grow alongside the CSUSM community and will earn a higher education career studies and skill development certificate. 

With the goal of competitive integrated employment, students will participate in the following:

  • Academic courses
  • Vocational internships
  • Independent living skills instruction
  • Campus-wide social activities
CSU Aspiring Scholars Student and Staff

New Program Opens Doors for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
Rebecca Brooks arrived at Cal State San Marcos with 16 years of experience as a special education teacher – and with a dream. Almost since the day she was hired...

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Taylor Griffin holding award Jenna Walker holding award

Way to Go!

Taylor Griffin, a graduate assistant for the Aspiring Scholars Program, received the College of Education, Health, and Human Services' Student Champion for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity Award for her exceptional work with the program and Jenna Walker who is studying psychology, received recognition as an Outstanding Service Learning Student for her role as a Peer Mentor for the Aspiring Scholars Program.

Program Includes

  • Four-year program for students over the age of 18 who have an intellectual disability and have a desire to gain meaningful competitive integrated employment
  • At least two academic classes each semester with CSUSM undergraduate students
  • Individualized pathway of courses created by the student in collaboration with their Person Driven Plan support team
  • Participation in clubs, groups and other activities on the campus
  • Trained Peer Mentors to provide support, guidance and mentorship as needed
  • Internships on campus or in the community
  • Independent living skills instruction during inclusive seminars

Academic Information

Our Staff

Rebecca Brooks

Dr. Rebecca Brooks, Associate Professor
Program Director

Allison Jobin

Dr. Allison Jobin, Assistant Professor
Associate Director

Taylor Griffin

Taylor Griffin, B.A., Education Specialist
Graduate Assistant

Lisa Carmosino

Lisa Carmosino, Administrative Coordinator
Program Volunteer

Meet Our Staff and Volunteers


Student in a lecture hall using a laptop
Gain Independent Living Skills
Developing independent life skills is essential. Based on student needs, students will participate in college seminars addressing a wide range of topics in the areas of independent living skills and skills needed to be successful as a college student.

Program Eligibility

  • At least 18 years of age and has a documented Intellectual Disability
  • Completed high school with a diploma or certificate
  • Has a strong desire to gain employment after completing CSUSM's Aspiring Scholars Program and is striving toward independence
  • Is comfortable with a dynamic schedule and has intrinsic motivation to participate
  • Are able to complete daily needs, access your physical environment, and safely function with minimal to no supervision (note: if you have prearranged supports, indicate this on the application)
  • Are able to communicate needs effectively (inclusive of communication devices)
  • Have the ability to get along with peers, follow rules, and accept direction
  • Are able to effectively and appropriately participate and benefit from the program

Application Information

Peer Mentors

Become a peer mentor today to support Aspiring Scholars in academic classes, sporting events, U Hour activities,  clubs, and events on our campus
The support peer mentors can provide is instrumental in the success of CSUSM Aspiring Scholars accessing academic courses and participating in campus life. While being a peer mentor can be immensely beneficial for the Aspiring Scholar, peer mentors also benefit greatly. Being a peer mentor can positively impact a mentor’s communication skills,  patience, compassion, flexibility, problem-solving skills, and ability to create inclusive opportunities for everyone which deepens their understanding of the diverse world in which we live. All of these skills are critical to any future career of CSUSM graduates. 
Become A Peer Mentor

We need you! We are looking for dedicated students to serve as peer mentors for students enrolled in CSUSM's Aspiring Scholars Program.

How to become a peer mentor: 

  1. If you are enrolled in a course that requires service-learning, select CSUSM Scholars Peer Mentoring
  2. If you do not need service-learning experience, you may become a mentor for CSUSM Scholars by completing the peer mentor application

Become A Peer Mentor

Students studying in grass

Contact Information

CSUSM Aspiring Scholars
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd.
San Marcos, CA 92096
Phone: (760) 750-8506

Did you know?

Only 3% of adults with intellectual disabilities make a living wage in the state of California.

After completing a program like Aspiring Scholars, students who participated in an Inclusive Postsecondary Education program completed a a one-year outcome survey* showing:

  • 73% of respondents had a paid job one year after completing the program
  • 92% reported they were happy with their social life

*Annual Report of Cohort 3 TPSID Model Demonstration Projects (2021-2022)
To learn more go to

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