College STAR Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is College STAR?

A: College STAR is a grant-funded initiative in which partnering participants strive to help postsecondary campuses become more welcoming of students with learning and attention differences. Much of this work is made possible by generous funding from the Oak Foundation.

College STAR provides a network of support for students who historically have slipped through the cracks in our education system—students who are capable of college success, but who often struggle academically because they learn differently. By weaving together direct supports for students, instructional supports for faculty members, and partnerships with educational professionals, this initiative is providing the opportunity for shared learning about effective strategies for teaching students with varying learning profiles in postsecondary settings.

Q: Where are College STAR Anchor Campuses?

A: Early on, the College STAR program involved collaboration with participating universities located within the UNC system: East Carolina University (ECU), Appalachian State University (ASU), Fayetteville State University (FSU) and, UNC-Greensboro. Currently, ECU, ASU, and FSU serve as anchor campuses for the initiative, and we are now reaching beyond North Carolina to build a network centered on collaborating with colleges and universities nationwide.

Q: What student-support resources are available in the College STAR network?

A: There are a multitude of student resources located on the College STAR website. The Student Support Program directoryfeatures a number of programs on college campuses across the US that focus on helping students with learning differences reach their postsecondary goals. The College Bound Transition Curriculum offers information for students, teachers, and families to support college ready students for transition. The Disability Support Services (DSS) directory provides information for all North Carolina DSS offices to include Community Colleges, Private Colleges, and those in the UNC System. The student-to-student blog highlights college student’s stories, advice, and useful tools gained through current student’s college experiences. All these student resources sync with the mission of College STAR which is to help incoming college freshmen with learning differences become prepared to enter a postsecondary setting.

Q: What services are offered through student-support programs in the College STAR network?

A: Each student support program is unique, but examples of services available through programs in the College STAR network include assistance in making the transition from high school to college, seminars and/or courses designed to equip students with skills necessary to succeed in the postsecondary setting, mentoring, tutoring, advising, and other support network resources. The ability to access technology that can facilitate learning is an integral part of some of the programs. Student-support programs associated with College STAR serve specific numbers of students, but the instructional support component of the initiative is designed to benefit all students by providing support and professional development (grounded in the principles of Universal Design for Learning) to faculty members, staff, advisors, and tutors.

Q: How and when would a student apply for one of the campuses in the College STAR network?

A: Application timelines, processes, and criteria are different for each student support program in the College STAR network. Each school uses a unique application process, and students are advised to start their college search early (preferably well in advance of the senior year of high school) in order to explore different program options we encourage you to access our support program directory ( on the College STAR website lists a variety of support programs along with basic information about each one. Students are encouraged to consult the actual website (also linked on each profile page) for more specific information about each program in which you are interested.

Q: Does College STAR conduct research to support students with learning and attention issues?

A: College STAR is currently launching STAR Research Communities (SRC) that consist of small working groups of practitioners from across the nation who meet regularly to plan and conduct research to enhance learning resources for students with learning differences. If you are interested, please consider joining or proposing a research community.

Q: What types of learning differences qualify students for College STAR?

A: The campus programs featured on the College STAR website focus on a wide variety of student groups and learning support needs.

College STAR Anchor Campuses:

East Carolina University – STEPP Program

The STEPP Program at East Carolina University, focuses on students with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.

Appalachian State University – AS-U-R Program

The AS-U-R program at Appalachian State University focuses on students with significant executive functioning challenges (neurocognitive profiles that cause difficulties with tasks which involve planning, flexibility, organization, and self-monitoring).

Fayetteville State University – Bronco STAR Program

The Bronco STAR program at Fayetteville State University focuses on students with significant executive functioning challenges (neurocognitive profiles that cause difficulties with tasks which involve planning, flexibility, organization, and self-monitoring).

Broader College STAR Network:

There are similar programs affiliated with the College STAR Network, that support the unique characteristics of students who may be a good fit for college. These are featured in the student-support program directory. Visit the directory and the individual program websites to learn more.

Q: What instructional support resources are provided to faculty and staff?

A: College STAR provides faculty and staff support that ranges from a general awareness-building level to promoting deeper application and learning about the principles of Universal Design for Learning. Examples of faculty and staff support resources include:

Online Modules & Case Studies

Online modules and case studies are practical professional development resources for college instructors seeking to infuse the principles of UDL into their classrooms and improve student learning and engagement. These resources are free and available here.

Faculty members who wish to share their ideas cansubmit a proposal to develop a new module or case study. Incentive funding is available for faculty members whose proposals are selected for development.

STAR Learning Communities

Faculty and staff members who are interested in connecting with colleagues, though small working groups, to design and implement UDL-aligned instructional techniques/resources should inquire about being a part of a College STAR Learning Community. These groups provide staff and faculty with a supportive forum to explore new teaching and program practices and evaluate the impact of those instructional and support approaches on student outcomes. STAR Learning Communities meet regularly with face-to-face and/or virtual options. Faculty members who are interested in learning more information should click here.

Additional Resources

Additional resources linked on our website include UDL-related videos, podcasts, news features, and websites. We regularly add new resources to the website as well.

Q: What type of resources does College STAR provide for K-12 students and parents?

A: College STAR provides links to resources designed for parents with students who are transitioning from K-12 to higher education such as those listed below. Some of these were developed by campuses in the College STAR initiative, and some are resources developed by other organizations or projects that you may find helpful.

Q: What does it cost to use College STAR resources?

A: Due to the generous support from the Oak Foundation and the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, resources developed through the College STAR initiative are available to use for free. However, you may find links to resources, developed through other programs, on our website that do have associated costs.

Q: Who funds College STAR?

A: College STAR is currently funded by the Oak Foundation of Geneva, Switzerland, and the N.C. GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.

Q: What is Universal Design for Learning?

A: According to CAST, "Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and challenging for all. Ultimately, the goal of UDL is to support learners to become “expert learners” who are, each in their own way, purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal driven. UDL aims to change the design of the environment rather than to change the learner. When environments are intentionally designed to reduce barriers, all learners can engage in rigorous, meaningful learning."

Q: How would I obtain more information about College STAR?

A: If you would like more information about College STAR, you may contact us here.

Still have questions?

If you failed to find an answer to your question please feel free to contact a member of the College STAR team through our Contact Us page. We will do our best to answer any and all questions as quickly as possible.