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Disability Resources & Educational Services


From the Staff of the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) and Beckwith Residential Support Services (BRSS).

You are now a member of the University of Illinois academic community as well as a member of a unique residential community. We sincerely hope that the Beckwith support services you receive at Nugent Hall will enhance your full participation in the academic and extracurricular activities of the University of Illinois campus.

BRSS is dedicated to facilitating the transitional residential needs of students with severe physical disabilities. Accordingly, students receive assistance with their activities of daily living to accommodate their participation in the academic and extracurricular programs and activities of the University of Illinois. Students are also given an opportunity to participate in educational programming, which is provided to promote their attainment of maximal functional independence and increase personal responsibility for disability management.

We sincerely hope that living at Nugent Hall and receiving Beckwith support services will be an enjoyable and productive experience for you.

The BRSS website outlines the policies and procedures governing Beckwith, along with descriptions of opportunities and responsibilities associated with residential life on campus. Because Beckwith supported residents live at Nugent Hall they are expected to follow the University of Illinois Division of Housing Housing Hallmarks and Contract.

A Perspective on Beckwith Residential Support Services (BRSS)

The first floor of Nugent Hall has been physically, educationally and socially designed to serve the residential needs of University of Illinois students with severe physical disabilities who are unable to reside in other residence halls or private housing because they require personal assistants (PAs).  Beckwith supported residents may obtain in-house PA support services to provide routine daily living activities. "In-house" medical services are not provided at or by BRSS staff.  All medical services (e.g., diagnosis, treatment and follow-up) are performed by McKinley Health Services and/or other medical service providers. In addition, the pursuit of maximal functional independence and personal responsibility for disability management is a requirement for residency at Beckwith.

Specifically, the residential, educational and transitional objectives of BRSS are:

  1. To accommodate the residential needs of students with physical disabilities who require the services of Personal Assistants to successfully perform activities of daily living (ADLs); and
  2. To promote personal empowerment and independence on the part of students with disabilities and, whenever possible, to facilitate their transition into living environments of their choice.

While residing at Nugent Hall and receiving Beckwith support, residents are expected to work with the Beckwith Administrative Team to advance their potential for independence. The ultimate goal is for Beckwith supported residents to become functionally capable of independent living or to acquire the managerial knowledge and skills necessary to successfully amass and coordinate the resources needed to live as independently as possible. Beckwith supported residents agree to collaborate in the development of a Transitional Disability Management Plan (TDMP) with the Beckwith Administrative Team and to pursue the recommended action.

BRSS is not typically recommended for returning residents who are not invested in working towards greater independence through the TDMP or are only interested in a space because of financial support or easier access to floater staff.

Applicants to the BRSS program, who are subsequently accepted, will be supported based upon into one of the two service models.

  • The two service models offered are based on the Illinois Model.
    • (1)  BRSS Full Service Program (Typically for first year residents and returning residents still in the process of developing proficiency with overall disability management)
    • (2)  BRSS Step-Down Program (Residents accepted into this service model when they have demonstrated proficiency in overall disability management while supported by BRSS)
  • Prior to self-selecting a service model, please reach out to Kathryn Hoyer, Visiting Disability Advisor, at khoyer2@illinois.edu or 217-333-0075 to determine which service model best meets your present, individualized needs.
    • In addition to their room and board, residents living in the BRSS wing (Rooms 1000 to 1026) of Nugent Hall will pay a BRSS fee commensurate with the level of PA support received daily (5/7 hours) and their service model.  This fee subsidizes the implementation of these programs.
  • Residents are provided PA services that are essential to their success at the University of Illinois. Residents receive up to five (5) hours per day or (7) hours per day (if meal assistance is required) of in-house, non-academic PA service time may be scheduled daily. However, residents requiring more than their allotted hours of daily PA services are financially responsible for all additional hours received.
    • Residents who are sponsored by the Department of Human Services (DHS), Illinois Office of Rehabilitation Services (IORS) should note that IORS will not pay for academic personal assistance services and/or any other Personal Assistant services in excess of those for which BRSS is responsible, unless they are discussed and approved in advance with their IORS counselors.
  • Residents who are part of a the BRSS Step-Down Program receive funding through Illinois Home Services Agency or other financial resources independent of the university.  Residents have the primary responsibility for hiring, vetting, funding, and managing their PAs. 
  • Students occasionally locate outside agency sponsorship to assist and supplement financial responsibility for services not provided by BRSS when a resident's scope of care requires sterile medical procedures:
    • Residents utilizing a ventilator will be required to provide their own 24 hour professional nursing care.
    • Residents utilizing a feeding tube are required to provide medical documentation to support ability to provide self-directed care.
    • Residents utilizing a tracheotomy are required to provide their own professional medical care for suctioning. Supportive medical documentation is necessary if a resident can self-suction.
    • Residents utilizing intermittent catheterization need to do so independently or direct their PA staff to assist by providing hand-over-hand assistance for alignment and placement of equipment only.  
  • Residents requiring assistance with academic activities, such as tutoring, reading or writing are also financially responsible for these services. BRSS is not responsible for personal assistant hours that exceed five hours per day or the latter-mentioned academic assistant needs.
    • Residents are responsible for recruiting and hiring their own staff to fill needs beyond the five hours of in-house, non-academic PA service time.
    • Residents are responsible for recruiting and hiring their own staff to serve as academic assistants.
      • The Beckwith personal assistants/floaters may not be privately hired as academic assistants.