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Two Think Cardinal students reading together

Think Cardinal

Think Cardinal is a pathway for students with an intellectual disability, as defined by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008), to have an inclusive college experience at Saginaw Valley State University. All courses and co-curricular experiences offered to ThinkCardinal participants are open to all SVSU students. This program leverages a peer mentoring model to provide supports on campus where they are needed. Ultimately, our goal is to see students develop both personally and professionally, gain confidence in themselves and their skills, and establish a sense of community and support – many of the same goals we have for any college student.


A Think Cardinal student participates in the SVSU marching band"Coming to SVSU has taught me all about Cardinal Pride.  It means setting big goals, working hard every day, and making a LOT of new friends.  I love being independent and making choices for myself.  I have confidence that I can get a job and live on my own someday.  SVSU helped my dreams come true." - Luke Drumright

Steps to Think Cardinal

Prospective students should start by filling out an application and contact the Accessibility Resources & Accommodations Office at SVSU.

To qualify for admission under this pathway to SVSU, students must have a documented intellectual or developmental disability. An informal interview is required as part of the admission process so that participants and their families have clear expectations.

To begin your application, please CLICK HERE.

Program Contact: Shawn Wilson
Phone Number: 989-964-7147

In order to join SVSU in the ThinkCardinal pathway the following requirements must be met:

  • Students must have a Certificate of Attendance or Completion from their high school.
  • Students must be comfortable sitting in an academic setting for extended periods of time (typically 1-3 hours depending on the course) while being respectful to other class members and the instructor.
  • Students should be comfortable to safely navigate campus to find classrooms and different campus locations.
  • Students must complete a program application.
  • Students will submit two letters of recommendation from people that have known them in an academic setting.
  • Resume
  • Complete an interview with the program coordinator.
  • Students will enroll with SVSU’s Office of Disability Services to aid with classroom accommodations where necessary.
  • Transportation to/from campus is the responsibility of the student and/or caregivers.
  • Students must be independent in handling his or her own medication. There are not any program staff available to administer medication to students.

Year One

HUM 191 - College Transition
Academic Course of Interest
An Extra-curricular activity of choice
FIT at College (healthy living workshop for all students)

Academic Course of Interest
KINE Activity course
An Extra-curricular activity of choice
Internship Experience 1

Year Two

Academic Course of Interest
KINE Activity course
An Extra-curricular activity of choice

Academic Course of Interest
KINE Activity course
An Extra-curricular activity of choice
Internship Experience 2

Several of our program participants have been successful recipients of scholarships through Ruby’s Rainbow. 

Please note: this list will be updated as necessary as additional scholarships are made available.


Office of Admissions
178 Wickes Hall, 7400 Bay Road, University Center, MI 48710
(989) 964-4200