Cutting Edge Students and faculty posing for a photo.

Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge is an individualized approach to education and inclusion in college for students with intellectual developmental disabilities. These are individuals who have either traditionally not been able to meet the standard admissions criteria for college, or require additional supports in order to be successful in college. Edgewood College is the first four-year college in Wisconsin to offer such a program to students who have intellectual developmental disabilities. From 2007-2017, the Cutting Edge program has supported over 60 students with the opportunity to attend college by attending required/undergraduate courses, practicums and internships, student housing, and learning with a peer mentors by engaging in student-life events, as well as pursuing community service.

Required courses for all Cutting Edge students are the Resource Seminar, Safety in the Community, and Friends, Dating, and Your Place in a Diverse Community. As well as the required Cutting Edge courses, students have the option to enroll in general Edgewood College courses.

Practicums and internships are focused to build skills that lead to employment. Participating students are supervised and receive immediate feedback on attendance, compliance with work procedures, customer service, and professionalism. Students in the Cutting-Edge program are given a practicum or internship experience each semester.

Student Housing integrates a balance of academics, socialization, self-determination, and independent living. The Cutting Edge program has mixture of on-campus and off-campus housing available. Each housing arrangement is supported by a housing peer mentor that facilitates the balance of independent living.

Peer Mentors are drawn from volunteers around numerous areas of the campus. The Special Education graduate students from 600 level courses serve as Study Skill Peer Mentors. These peer mentors meet weekly with Cutting Edge students to assist with academic and social situations, including: help with coursework; problem-solving daily schedules and needs. Undergraduate students serve as In-Class Peer Mentors and Social Peer Mentors. This is an excellent way for the Cutting Edge students to break into the social networks already on campus and in the community.

The Alumni of the Cutting Edge has reached over 60 students that have completed the program. Of those alumni, 80% are employed since leaving Edgewood College and 20% are continuing to pursue higher education.

Tuition for the Cutting Edge students will be the same as the Edgewood College undergraduate tuition. Candidates who are accepted into the Cutting Edge program will submit a $2,000 deposit, which is credited toward tuition.


Application Timeline:

Candidates for the Cutting-Edge program are encouraged to begin the admissions process a year in advance. To be considered for the program, the student and family are encouraged to submit all application materials by December. In addition, families are encouraged to attend an Open House in the fall or spring.

When all application materials are received, the applicant’s file is reviewed by members of our Candidate Selection Committee. Upon review, the student and family will be invited to Edgewood College for an interview.

Candidates are not selected based on the student's disability, but rather on the student's level of motivation to attend college and their ability to serve as an ambassador for the Cutting-Edge program.

Notification letters will be mailed after an admission decision has been made.
-Students interviewed in June – August will be notified in October.
-Students interviewed in October – December will be notified in January.
Note: Applications submitted between January and May might be considered for enrollment in Fall 2019 (pending available space) or Fall 2020.

Accepted applicants are brought to campus in May to discuss housing needs, academic courses, and supports for the fall semester. Applicants are also invited to the Cutting-Edge Retreat in July. All Cutting-Edge students begin their Edgewood College journey in August for the fall semester.

Application Details:

Please complete the Edgewood College online Undergraduate Application at

Note: When completing the online application, be sure to select "Cutting Edge" under "Enrollment Classification."

Application Materials:

  1. Application
  2. Recent Photo
  3. Official Transcripts
  4. At least one letter of reference (not a family member)
  5. One-page essay - "Why I want to go to college".
  6. Current IEP and Re-Evaluation
  7. Application Fee (Paid Online)

Apply Now

Please submit all materials to:
c/o: Cutting-Edge Program
Edgewood College
Cutting Edge Program – DER 102
1000 Edgewood College Drive
Madison, WI 53711


Please send any questions or comments you may have to:

(608) 663-2340

Open House

Friday, March 15, 2019

Presentation of Program
Questions and Answers
Tour of Edgewood Campus
Lunch provided by the Cutting Edge
Individual Meetings with Cutting-Edge Staff
RSVP for Open House