SEED scholars cheering and smiling on campus

Redwood SEED Scholars Program

The UC Davis Redwood SEED (Supported Education to Elevate Diversity) Scholars Program, is a new program designed for students ages 18-23 who have intellectual disabilities. Through this four-year program, students will study on campus at UC Davis and enjoy support from peer mentors in academics and health and wellness. Redwood SEED Scholars will take part in internships both on and off campus with the goal of competitive, integrated employment. They will also live alongside other UC Davis students in on-campus housing and participate in extracurricular clubs and organizations. Promoting personal growth, self-determination and choice are key objectives of the program.

How the Program Works

Students will live on campus in the dorms with the support of typical students. A distinct component of the program is specialized foundational courses that SEED Scholar students will take, which have been developed specifically to help them gain the skills needed to participate in typical UC Davis classes on campus. Students will also take two or three campus courses each year with academic support. In addition, students will have the opportunity to participate in any campus club or organization that interests them, with support as needed. 

Students will engage in one employment opportunity per quarter, beginning in Spring quarter or as students are ready. These employment opportunities are carefully created to offer a ladder of support and designed to build on the skill and interest levels of each student. Additionally, recognizing the health disparities of students with intellectual disabilities when compared to the typical population, we will also have health and wellness mentors working with students on nutrition, exercise and general good health habits.

Program Benefits

The Redwood SEED Scholars Program features a person-centered plan focused on self-determination, including: 

  • Exploration: Take courses with typical peers in their area of interest
  • Education: Receive targeted instruction in literacy, math and specialized courses along with technology and communication skills
  • Independent Living: Live in on-campus housing and learn living skills like grocery shopping, laundry, meal planning and personal hygiene
  • Health and Wellness: Receive nutrition and exercise mentors
  • Leisure Skills/Community: Social mentors provide support in participation with on-campus clubs, activities and special events
  • Employment: Quarterly internships promote job skills, navigating public transportation, planning for work, communication skills, leadership skills and advocacy skills

Application Details

  • How to Apply: Application opens October 1, 2023
  • Deadline to Apply: January 5, 2024
  • Application Requirement: Completed online application form with payment of $100 nonrefundable application fee 

For more detailed information on the admission process, program details or program cost, please go to the UC Davis Redwood SEED Scholars official website: UC Davis Redwood SEED Scholars Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can apply to the program?
  • Students who have a federally identified intellectual disability and are between the ages of 18-23 can apply. Our program is a non-degree seeking program, which means our students will graduate with a specified learning credential similar to other inclusive college programs found at They will NOT graduate with a Bachelor's degree.

    Redwood SEED Scholars has received a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the TPSID (Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities) program. This grant has made it possible to start the program. It is a requirement of the grant to welcome students with intellectual disabilities. Students are required to include an evaluation from their high school conducted by an appropriate professional to determine eligibility, as well as other documents that you will see requested in our application. Intellectual disability is not just an arbitrary number. It is defined by a significant delay in adaptive functioning and cognitive development. There are well-established criteria for the diagnosis such as those specified by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, as well as by the federal government. Our program is created for the subset of students with Down syndrome, autism, fragile X syndrome, traumatic brain injury and other life situations who also have an intellectual disability. We are dedicated to welcoming students who will be a good fit for the support we offer, the learning opportunities we offer and the residential and campus experiences we offer.

  • How do we apply?
  • The application is hosted here on the UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education website. The Redwood SEED Scholars is a new program at UC Davis. The application process consists of a formal application filled out online, an all-day on-campus interview, an offer of admission, a formal acceptance from the student and an orientation held during the summer.

  • Do you need to have a diploma to apply?
  • No. We recognize that with over 1,000 school districts in the state of California there must be some flexibility on our part. We will accept students with EITHER a certificate OR a diploma. Every school district has a diverse way of approaching students with intellectual disabilities and we want to welcome any student who is a good fit for our program. 

  • Is the Redwood SEED Scholars Program a Certified Transition Program (CTP)?
  • No, at this time, the UC Davis Redwood SEED Scholar Program is not a CTP. We need to be operational for at least a year before we can apply to be identified as a federal CTP. We plan to apply for this designation as soon as we can.

  • How much will the program cost?
  • Our goal is that every single applicant who is a good fit for our program can participate regardless of their ability to pay the tuition and costs of living on campus.

    We have worked to keep the cost of both the academic portion and the residential portion of our program to be within the range of cost for a UC Davis education.

    We recognize that this is a big financial barrier for many families and we are committed to keeping the costs as low as possible.

    Currently, IF the scholar is within the California Department of Rehabilitation system and has a Vocational Counselor AND together they have created employment goals that match what the UC Davis Redwood SEED Scholars Program offers, the Department of Rehabilitation will fund the tuition, transportation and technology of our program.

    Additionally, we are in process to be vendorized with Alta Regional Center for the Living Learning Lab component of the program. We are hopeful that the Regional Center system will be ready to use the vendorized codes for our program by the beginning of the academic year in 2023.

  • Do you have to live on campus?
  • While no student is required to live on campus, the residential living piece of our program is truly unique and we believe a significant benefit for our students. There are only a few programs in California besides ours that offer residential living and none of them are with typical students in the dorms. This is a very special opportunity and we encourage all of our students to carefully consider that portion of the experience. Our program is holistically designed and living on campus is intentionally an important part of the design.

  • How can I be assured that my student will be safe?
  • Students with intellectual disabilities are a vulnerable population. They are at a higher risk for sexual abuse and are more likely to get lost. It is for these reasons that many families and schools are naturally very concerned about inclusive college programs. However, residential, inclusive college programs have been running successfully and safely for as long as 20 years in some parts of the country. 

    We believe a defining quality of our program is the belief in self-determination. We want to provide opportunities to our students to challenge themselves and to offer experiences that they are usually excluded from, like living in a dorm. Students will learn how to navigate campus safely. They will take sexual health classes, self-regulation classes and other classes that help them develop interpersonal skills that are needed when living in the community. They will learn about consent and how to develop healthy relationships. Based on the other inclusive residential programs we have seen, we believe our students will develop confidence in their ability to solve problems and will learn how to communicate their needs as well as their desires. Every effort will be made to keep the Redwood SEED Scholars safe.