IDP: Pioneering Higher Education for Adults for 30 Years

Thirty years ago, progressive members of the Trinity community sensed a need to accommodate the prevailing spirit of freedom and experimentation among college students, and designed the Individualized Degree Program (IDP), an alternate way for students to earn a bachelor’s degree. Continuing the tradition, IDP will hold an annual fall Open House on Thursday, October 2 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, October 4 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. 

Liz Burns, assistant director of special academic programs, notes that while alternate degree programs have proliferated, the Individualized Degree Program at Trinity was a pioneer in adult college education.  IDP provides adults with the flexibility, extended time frame, and financial help they need to pursue a bachelor’s degree. IDP students are fully integrated at Trinity, studying the same subjects and meeting the same academic standards and requirements as their younger counterparts. 

Ranging in age from the mid-20s to the mid-50s (the oldest IDP student was 80+), many IDP students come to Trinity directly from community or other colleges, while others continue college education left incomplete years ago. “Many join IDP feeling that they’re now more mature and focused and have a better understanding of the value of a liberal arts education,” Burns explains.

IDP students have gone on to graduate and professional schools, becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, artists, stockbrokers, college professors, social workers, members of the clergy and teachers.  The ranks of IDP graduates include an award-winning mystery writer, a physician honored with the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, and the mayor of Hartford, Eddie Perez, Class of ’96.

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