RiverHawks Scholar Program

The Riverhawks Scholar Program at Northeastern State University is a four-year, fully inclusive certificate program for students with mild/mild moderate intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. The Riverhawks Scholar Program focuses on helping students gain knowledge and enhance their capabilities in the following areas:

  • Independent Living
  • Social Skills                                      
  • Academics
  • Career Development

Independent Living

Students will live in on-campus housing integrated with other students. A trained Resident Assistant for students in the Riverhawks Scholar Program will be in close proximity. Students will receive direct instruction as needed, to learn the things that most students learn on their own to help them with independent living skills. Students will be housed in Cobb Hall. Learn more about Cobb Hall.

Social Skills

Social skills are involved in every aspect of the program just as they are part of every aspect of the college experience for any student!

Students will participate in campus activities of their choice along with required membership in an active club/organization of their choice. Students will also be engaged in a physical fitness routine with a peer mentor. 

Trained peer mentors will be assigned to each student in the areas of socialization and physical fitness. These mentors help the student to improve social interactions and stay engaged in physical fitness.


Students will take two traditional university classes in areas of interest, with appropriate supports, in addition to one specialized session each semester.  Students taking courses for college credit are exposed to the full course curriculum and must complete all course requirements at a satisfactory level to earn college credit. While the curriculum cannot be modified, students may receive accommodations such as note-takers, extended time testing or other ADA accommodations similar to those received in high school. Trained tutors for the RiverHawks Scholar students will be available for academic assistance, as well as supports available to all students. Student Disabilities Services coordinates all student accommodations.

Specialized sessions are designed to help RiverHawks Scholar Program students reach their full potential.  Students involved in these non-credit sessions may have content modified based on their individual abilities and needs.  Sessions included topics related to a general introduction to NSU, writing comprehension, personal finance, interpersonal communication and career path planning. 

*Students that desire to take courses for credit must adhere to standard admissions guidelines. For Credit courses will not have modifications to curriculum.

Career Development

Students will be placed in time limited job sampling and paid and unpaid internships, throughout their four years, charting a path to meaningful employment in a career of choice!

The RiverHawks Scholar Program has been developed to provide supports to help students learn what other students learn on their own. Person Centered Planning is the basis for charting each students path. 

Students in the RiverHawks Scholar Program are expected to show satisfactory progress in all aspects of the Program.

The RiverHawks Scholar Program is the first of its kind in Oklahoma. The RiverHawks Scholar program plans to apply for the federal designation of a Comprehensive Transition Program or CTP soon, however, until the program gains that designation, federal funding assistance is not available.

Projected Costs for the 2018-2019 academic year are as follows:

Academic Tuition, Fees and Housing (including meal plan) $17,000.00
Program Fee: $2,000.00

Costs are from the 2017 – 2018 Academic Year and are subject to change.
Projected costs do not include books or individual housing supplies (towels, sheets, clothes, computers, etc.)

Who Should Apply?

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old by August 1, 2018 and have completed high school;
  • Have been served by special education services (or have been eligible) under the IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
  • Have a mild to mild moderate intellectual and/or developmental disability or a disability that interferes significantly with daily living skills; academic performance, and social development;
  • Have no history of disruptive or challenging behaviors (Personnel needed to manage behavioral issues is not part of the RiverHawks Scholar Program);
  • Be able to manage his/her own special diet requirements and/or medical needs (such as medication). The RiverHawks Scholar program staff will not be involved in medication management;
  • Demonstrate the ability to accept responsibility for his/her actions; • Have the ability to read and complete math at a functional level;
  • Demonstrate the desire to attend the RiverHawks Scholar program; and
  • Agree to participate in all aspects of the RiverHawks Scholar Program

How do I apply?

Application deadline has been extended to  May 18, 2018.

  • Download the Application Packet Information (pdf)
  • Follow instructions in the packet carefully
  • Only complete packets will be reviewed by the Applications Committee
  • The RiverHawks Scholar Program accepts and reviews applications until all spots for the incoming cohort have been filled.
  • Students will receive notification by mail for an interview, if selected.
  • Students will receive notification by mail if they have been selected for the Riverhawks Scholar Program.
  • Students will be notified by mail if they have been selected for an interview. If selected, the applicant must participate in the interview process with and without reinforcement from family/support persons.
  • Students must be able to attend an orientation prior to the Fall semester. Dates TBD. 


For more information call 918-444-4610.


Payments can be made for the RiverHawks Scholar via credit card online, or check or money order that is delivered to the Continuing Education office 512 N. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah, OK. 74464.

The payment for the first half of the school year is due by July 20, 2018.  Online Registration will have the option to pay the first half of the year, the second half of the year, or the whole year.


How many students will be accepted in the 2018-2019 academic year?

The RiverHawks Scholar Program will accept 5 students in the 2018-2019 year. 

How will students be selected?

Students will submit an application form (insert link). Complete application forms will be reviewed by the RiverHawks Scholar Application Committee. See (link) for complete guidelines per the application information.
Students are encouraged to re-apply for the next academic year if not accepted for the 2018-2019 year. Dates for next application period will be available soon.

What type of housing will be available?

For the 2018-2019 academic year, RiverHawks Scholar Program students will be located in Cobb Hall, our newest housing choice. 

What class choices will be available to RiverHawks Scholar Program students?

Freshman Year:
1st semester
(2) Course catalog courses, beneficial for all NSU freshman: University Strategies and Personal Health
(1) RiverHawks Scholar Program class: Transition to College

2nd semester
(2) classes from course catalog or select from continuing education classes
(1) RiverHawks Scholar Program class: This session will focus on enhancing independent living and academic success such as writing fundamentals, personal finance, etc. Specific class TBD based on first cohort.
Time limited job sampling to be introduced

Remaining 3 years/each semester:
2 course catalog or mix of course catalog and continuing education classes
1 RiverHawks Scholar Program class
Time limited job sampling and internship opportunities will be included in each semester

Students in the RiverHawks Scholar Program will participate in developing their own path plan based on Person Centered Planning. By the end of their sophomore year, students will be required to select an Area of Focus. This Area of Focus is similar to a major. Courses and internships after this point will be related to students chosen Area of Focus. 

Who will be peer mentors?

Social and physical fitness peer mentors will be Northeastern State University students that will share similar interests and help enhance the social skills of the students in the RiverHawks Scholar Program. Peer mentors will not be paid.

What is the credential Riverhawks Scholar Program students will earn upon completion?

The RiverHawks Scholar Program is a non-degree Certificate Program. However, students can choose to take For Credit classes. If students desire to enroll in For Credit classes, they must meet standard admission criteria per NSU admission guidelines, see: Standard Admissions. For Credit coursework will not be modified, and students will be expected to meet the same standards as other students taking the class.

What is the cost of the program?

Cost for the program for the 2018-2019 academic year is:
$17,000; Includes Academic Tuition, Fees and Housing with meal plan
$2,000; Program FeeThese costs are from the 2017-2018 Academic Year and are subject to change. Projected costs do not include books or individual housing supplies (towels, sheets, clothing, computers, etc.)

How is the yearly cost of the program to be paid?

The cost of the RiverHawks Scholar Program is to be paid either in advance for the year or on a per semester basis. If the full year is paid in advance, a discount will be applied for a total of $18, 810 due before the start of the Fall semester.  The program cost may also be paid on a per semester basis of $9, 500 prior to the start of each semester.

Is Financial aid available?

The RiverHawks Scholar Program is the first of its kind in Oklahoma. The RiverHawks Scholar program plans to apply for the federal designation of a Comprehensive Transition Program or CTP soon, however, until the program gains that designation, federal funding assistance is not available.

Is there a specific person to direct the application to, if a signature upon delivery is preferred?

Applicants that are interested in designating they receive a signature upon receipt at NSU need to add: ATTN: Applications Committee c/o Pam Riggs.

How do I find out about other resources for post secondary education?

ThinkCollege  thinkcollegeTA@gmail.com


The RiverHawks Scholar program is the first program funded by LeadLearnLive.