redwood seed student

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the UC Davis Redwood SEED Scholars Program?

The UC Davis Redwood SEED Scholars Program is a four-year residential, inclusive college program designed for students ages 18-23 who have intellectual disabilities*.

*The intellectual disabilities a student has must be documented and submitted with the application as a condition of our US Department of Education TPSID grant.

Students live on campus in the dorms with the support of typical students. They take specialized foundational courses that develop the academic and social skills needed to participate successfully in typical courses on campus. The Redwood SEED Scholars also take up to two typical courses on campus with academic support each quarter. In addition, students  participate in any campus club or organization that interests them, with social inclusion support as needed. 

The Redwood SEED Scholars have an employment opportunity per quarter, beginning in spring quarter of their first year, 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 the student. 

Finally, recognizing the health disparities of students with intellectual disabilities when compared to their typical same-age peers, we have health and wellness mentors working with students on nutrition, exercise and developing overall healthy habits.

illustration of facts

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 US 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 applications will be hosted on the ​UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education website

The application process consists of a formal application filled out online, an interview for both prospective students and parents/guardians, an offer of admission, a formal acceptance from the student.

Do you need to have a diploma to apply?

No. We recognize that with over 1000 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)?

We are in the process of becoming a Certified Transition Program and hope to have the federal CTP designation by the beginning of the academic year in fall 2023.

Do you have to live on campus?

While no student is forced 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 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.