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Complete Program Cost per Student

Maine Residents* $13,667.00
 Non Maine Residents $65,013.00 

Tuition includes: food, housing, utilities, Southern Maine Community College classes, internet, cable TV, and spending money.

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Is a comprehensive program aimed at teaching its students necessary skills to live independently in the community. 

STRIVE U is an admissions based program, and we would love to give you a tour and application. Please contact our Admissions Coordinator to arrange a tour and discuss admissions requirements.

For more information, please contact us at 207-774-6278 or

If you are between

18 and 25

STRIVE U is founded on four main program areas:

Community Living
Living in an apartment with a roommate

Learning valuable job skills through paid work experiences

Post-Secondary Education
Through a certificate program with Southern Maine Community College

Assuring the transition from STRIVE U into the community is successful and meaningful

Competitive Employment - Real Job Experiences:

STRIVE U is committed to providing students with valuable, competitive work experience and the support needed to ensure successful professional experiences. Students will be given the opportunity to experience a wide variety employment opportunities of value (both to employee and employer) focusing on areas in which students express interest.

Our intention is to provide employment opportunities in areas other than the traditional ones open for people with developmental disabilities. STRIVE also provides extensive job preparation and training to complement the work experience. 

Post-Secondary Education: 

STRIVE U collaborates with Southern Maine Community College to provide an inclusive educational opportunity for STRIVE U students. In the first semester, students will enroll in a course at Southern Maine Community College focused on transition and immersion into college. This course will focus on goal setting, decision making, development of academic vision, and the responsibilities of adult learners. At the end of the semester, students will be aware of options and ideas about how to implement the academic vision they develop over the semester.

In the second semester, Southern Maine Community College will provide an Advisor/Coordinator for STRIVE U students to help guide them to identify personal and academic goals and how to meet their goals through collegiate academics. STRIVE U students will have Southern Maine Community College student identification card and have full access to campus life.

In addition to Southern Maine Community College courses, STRIVE U students also participate in learning group classes that focus on independence and independent living. 

Independent Living in the Community:

Students enrolled at STRIVE U will learn critical independent living skills in off-campus apartment buildings managed and staffed by STRIVE U. These apartments will serve as skills classrooms for independent living, training in money management, time management, independent travel, self-care, nutrition, health and wellness, and household management.

Each resident will have maximum independence and choices including the opportunity to make mistakes in a safe environment It is our goal to teach each student the skills and give each student the confidence to live independently upon graduation from STRIVE U.


Leading up to graduation, STRIVE U, will assist graduates with housing and employment support if necessary. This will ensure that STRIVE U graduates are productive and fully participating members of the community. The transition process will take place throughout students 2 years at STRIVE U.

This will begin with enrollment, and the creation of a written transition plan, including goals set by the individual. Upon graduation from STRIVE U, and receiving the certificate of completion, students will have several things in place, including all factors identified in their transition plan.

STRIVE U grants admission to students whose academic credentials, scholastic achievement, and personal motivation demonstrate a promise of success in its academic programs.

STRIVE U is a complete program not found anywhere else. STRIVE U is the only program in the nation for young adults with developmental disabilities that combines all four program areas of residential living, employment, transition, and post-secondary education. It is inclusive, comprehensive, and groundbreaking.

Students admitted to STRIVE U will meet the following requirements:
  1. Be 18 years of age by the year of admission and no older than 25 by the year of admission
  2. Must meet eligibility guidelines established by the Department of Health and Human Services for the State of Maine for intellectual disability:
    • Significantly sub-average intellectual functioning means a person scores 70 or below on a standard intelligence test.
    • Impairments in adaptive behavior means not being able to do things that most others of the same age do.
    • Manifested during the developmental period means occurring before age 22.
  3. Produce three letters of recommendation, one from a teacher, one from an employer, and one personal (excluding relatives).
  4. Student must be his/her own guardian by the start of the residential program.
  5. Be able to complete his/her own application working as independently as possible.
  6. Agree to participate in an interview process.
  7. Agree to actively participate in an independent living skills assessment and any other required assessments, and meet the criteria established by STRIVE U.
  8. Have completed their Individual Education Plan (IEP) under IDEA at a certified secondary school.
  9. Be able to provide STRIVE U with a high school transcript or equivalent.
  10. Received a High School Diploma, Certificate of Completion, or equivalent from a certified secondary school.
  11. Demonstrate an interest in possessing educational, employment, and life experiences that are necessary to attain substantial independence upon graduation from STRIVE U.
  12. Have a proved ability to learn and participate in classroom situations and professional work settings.
  13. Be willing to abide by all the rules and policies set forth by STRIVE U – available upon request
  14. Meet immunization requirements for STRIVE U
  15. Student and family must consent to being filmed, video recorded, interviewed and/or quoted in media and publications

For more information, please contact (207) 774-6278 or email:

Most all of our students receive social security and use all of that towards their tuition, which typically covers almost half of the total. Additionally, the goal for students is that they will have paid employment during their two years and those work wages can also be used toward tuition. Many students come in to STRIVE U with scholarships that they have been awarded and those, too, may be used. We do have a small scholarship that students apply for that can be used after they have entered the program. There is also a low interest loan program with Bangor Savings Bank.

Students must have the first year completely paid before they can begin the second year. The second year must be completely paid before graduation.

*Lived in Maine for 12 consecutive months, for purposes other than education. Proof may be required.*

For more information, please contact (207) 774-6278 or email:

Will a STRIVE U student be able to spend the night off campus at a friend’s house? What if they have responsibilities the next day, i.e. work, an exam?

Yes, students can spend the night off campus even in they have responsibilities the following day— however, the student is responsible for making sure that they have rearranged their schedule so that they can take care of their responsibilities at a different time. Making mistakes and instituting natural consequences is part of the program.

In the event that students want to go on a Southern Maine Community College trip to Boston for example, can students go without staff?

Yes, students will have the opportunity to travel once they’ve mastered the residential curriculum surrounding travel and planning. If the student would not yet be able to make this trip safely, staff can help the student find an alternative plan. In some instances, staff support may be provided.

I gave my student some money and bought them food. Is this okay to do?

Typically this is fine, once in a while. However, if it is a regular occurrence, the student can become reliant on that additional income, which doesn’t allow the student to learn to work within their budget. We work with the students weekly to check their bank accounts and determine an appropriate budget for the week. Money concepts is difficult to teach and the more time a student has to learn what his/her budget will be like once they graduate, the more successful they will be. The students all receive an $85 check that comes out of tuition which allows for money for groceries, personal care items and social activities. The students also have an activity fund and a residence council fund which can help supplement activities that all the students are participating in.

I think something may be broken in the apt. Who should I talk to?

If something is broken, the students should let the Student Life Coordinator know right away. Staff also check in with the students weekly to ask if there are any maintenance issues, and monthly during apartment walk-throughs. If a repair is needed and it is the landlord’s responsibility, STRIVE U will pay for the cost of the repair, however if maintenance or a repair is required because of misuse, the student is responsible for the repair.

Will student be expected to attend medical appointments by themselves?

If a student has a medical guardian, the medical guardian may be involved in all medical appointments, or as the guardian sees fit. Otherwise, the student may choose whether he or she would like staff support in the appointment.

What if a student wants to worship or join a faith other than that of his/her parents?

This is up to each students' discretion.

Is there a curfew?

No. The office is open from 7am – 11pm Monday – Friday and 9am – 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays. All students are asked to sign out stating where they are going and when they will be returning. If a student chooses to stay out past the time the office is open, he/she is permitted to do so. In that case, we ask that the student call to let us know they have returned to campus whenever that is.

Can students have pets?

Only fish in a ten gallon tank or smaller.

How are roommate issues handled?

When the students first enter the program, they will sit with one staff person and their roommate and discuss “apartment rules” that they will determine together. Circumstances such as a “guest policy” – does each roommate need to ask before inviting a guest over, or may they just invite someone at their discretion, or whether or not they would like to share personal items such as DVDs. After that initial discussion, roommates have an opportunity to meet each week and discuss anything related to the apartment. These conversations are facilitated by a staff member and cover topics such as cleaning supplies, apartment maintenance, and sharing the space.

What happens if a student is sick?

If a student is sick, staff will work with him/her to determine if a doctor’s appointment is necessary. If so, we work to schedule an appointment and support the students to the appointment. Generally, if a student is too ill to attend work or class, we recommend that they take the rest of the day to recover, which means that the student may miss outon some social opportunities, but we teach the balance between working through a few sniffles and the need to take a day to rest and recover. If the student is calling out sick, but is not actually sick, the student will face natural consequences i.e. job loss, loss of pay, falling behind in school work etc.

We are planning a family vacation. Can my student go?

Yes – we work with the students to treat time away from STRIVE U as “Vacation Time” and each student is permitted to take 10 – 14 days per year at their discretion. We use this as an opportunity to teach the students how to plan for vacations and to learn the appropriate way to request time off from work, any volunteer positions and to discuss with staff what they will need to do ahead of time so that all responsibilities are met before taking a vacation.

What if a student refuses to participate in STRIVE U activities/outings?

The importance of good hygiene will be taught, both in the residential curriculum and through daily interactions with staff.

What if a student refuses to shower or attend to personal hygiene for several days?

The importance of good hygiene will be taught, both in the residential curriculum and through daily interactions with staff.

Will students be allowed to refuse medical/dental treatment or medication?

Will students be allowed to refuse medical/dental treatment or medication?

Are healthy relationships addressed?

Yes, teaching healthy relationships is an important part of the STRIVE U curriculum, both friendships with peers and romantic relationships. Students are taught healthy and safe ways to date and engage in relationships.

If a student is 21, can they drink alcohol in their apartments?

Students are allowed to drink in their apartments, provided that the student and his/her roommate are both 21. This gives a great opportunity for learning and is an issue students will encounter when they live on their own. To say “no” would be inconsistent with our program philosophy.
Allowing alcohol on campus also allows the staff the opportunity to teach appropriate behavior. Substance abuse prevention and alcohol education will be taught during the first few months of the program. STRIVE U residential policy reflects that STRIVE U students can possess alcohol in their apartments if of legal age, but guests cannot bring alcohol into the residences.

Allowing alcohol into the residences will give staff the opportunity to model hyper-responsible drinking behavior. Essentially, saying “no” to alcohol sends the message that we don’t trust STRIVE U students to make sound decisions. Substance abuse prevention and alcohol education will be taught during orientation week. STRIVE U residential policy reflects that STRIVE U students can possess alcohol in their apartments if of legal age, but guests cannot bring alcohol into the residences.

Can STRIVE U students have overnight visitors? If so, how long can visitors stay?

Yes, students can have overnight visitors. Visitors will sign in with the residential staff. Staff will have the authority to say no to overnight guests if there is a health or safety concern. Guests are permitted to stay for one night; however, exceptions can be made for family members.

What if a student wants to go to the store at 10pm? At 1am? Will staff go too?

Yes, students can go to the store whenever they choose. Staff will not accompany STRIVE U students, except during the early stages of the program, as the student is learning the area and how to navigate safely.

Will students be allowed to go to the Old Port at night without staff?

Yes. Our goal is to give students the skills to make these decisions and plan these trips safely.

Can a student with a license transport other STRIVE U students?


What if a parent call and ask us to divulge confidential information about their son/daughter?

In keeping with the program philosophy and federal guidelines, we cannot divulge certain types of information to parents without their child’s consent. Information will be divulged when it’s appropriate and legal. The best source of information about the student, is the student him/herself.

What if a student refuses to participate in STRIVE U activities/outings?

It’s okay to refuse to participate, but the importance of trying new things will be discussed.

How do we handle a student who wants to display materials that may be offensive to others?

Students are free to display what they like, however, it’ll be confined to personal space i.e. their bedroom.

STRIVE U Alumni: If you want to keep in touch with news and social events, email if you would like to be added to the email list of alumni students to be emailed.

Connect with STRIVE U Campus on Facebook to keep up with upcoming alumni events!

Check back here often for updates on Alumni information

Nye Street Campus

From the Maine Turnpike (I-95):From I-95 merge onto I-295 N via exit number 6A toward South Portland/ Portland Downtown. From I-295, take the US-1 S/ Forest Avenue/ ME-100 S exit—exit 6A. Turn right onto Forest Avenue/ US-1/ ME-100. Continue to follow Forest Avenue. Turn right onto Congress Street. Turn left onto Park Street. Turn left onto Nye Street.

We would be happy to show you around the Nye Street Campus. Tours are set up through our Office of Admissions. For more information, please contact (207) 774-6278 or

PSL Services/STRIVE Offices - Foden Road

The PSL Services/STRIVE Center is located at 28 Foden Road in South Portland, across from ON Semiconductor. It is only 10 minutes from downtown Portland and less than 5 minutes from the Maine Mall.

From Portland: Take I-295 South to Exit 3. Make a right at the end of the exit. At the second traffic light, make a right onto Western Avenue (Outback Steakhouse and Eggspectation Restaurant is on the right). At the next traffic light, make a right onto Foden Road. The PSL Services/STRIVE Center is 500 ft. on the right side.

From all other points: Take I-95 (Maine Turnpike) to Exit 7A. Make a right at the end of the exit. At the first traffic light, make a right. Proceed straight through the next traffic light (passing Staples plaza and the Coca-Cola Company). At the next traffic light, make a left onto Foden Road. The PSL Services/STRIVE Center is 500 ft. on the right side.