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Best Disability Friendly Colleges and Universities for 2020
Top Schools for Special Need Students

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50 Best Disability Friendly Colleges

Transitioning to a post secondary education is a big deal for any rising college student. For students with disabilities, however, it is an entirely different ball game. Certainly, there are a number of, what are considered special need colleges, however, the majority of students with physical disabilities opt for immersion with their non-disabled peers when seeking a college education. In fact, students with disabilities in college statistics show that 11% of college students have a documented disability.

What Can Disabled Students Do if They Face Discrimination in College?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA) has very specific protections for students who have any disability in a federally funded school, from pre-K through 12th Grade. However, the laws exist, but are a little less clear as far as protections and accommodations go for college students. State Funded Programs including higher education are covered by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and vocational schools and private colleges offer protections to students with disabilities under the ADA Title III. Section 504 specifically relates to institutions that receive federal funding. These protections ensure that students with disabilities are given what they need to receive an equal education with access to “reasonable accommodations.” It is variable, however, how individual schools define accommodations that are “reasonable.”

This is the key reason why we felt it was important to create a list of schools that take accessibility seriously when considering the needs of students with disabilities. We wrote a previous ranking that focused on schools that provide excellent support for students with learning disabilities. While there is quite a bit of crossover, this list is geared more towards schools that provide excellent accommodations for students with physical disabilities. 

Let’s talk about accommodations

Accommodations come in many shapes and sizes and might look a little different for each student. When considering the needs of students with physical and learning disabilities, extra support can include: longer test taking times, audio recording or note taking services, the use of technology or specialized apps including dictation software, moving a classroom or lab to a more accessible building, among many other possibilities. Some schools take their work of creating a more equitable and accessible learning environment to the next level by offering extensive support services that can include extra mental health support, access to on campus support groups for students with disabilities, and even athletic teams use adaptive principles. Some schools considered universal design while creating curricula and building infrastructure.

This is a list that we researched consisting of the best colleges for students with physical disabilities. In each profile we are highlighting the services they offer and the reasons why it is a good fit for a disabled student entering college. While it can be seen as a list of colleges for special needs students, we’d like to think of it more as a series of schools that frame inclusion as a driving force in their mission. 

1

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI

michigan ann arbor
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.3
College Consensus
75.3
Publisher Consensus
79.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

University of Michigan is Michigan State’s oldest institution known for advancing truths and transforming lives. This University’s Services for Students with Disabilities has been offering accommodations and access to students with disabilities for the last 40 years. They boast of assistive technology testing, accessible housing, and proctor options for out-of-residence exams. Future and current students benefit from academic coaching, adaptive sports, transportation resources and employment opportunities. In particular, UM offers a self-defense workshop; this holistic approach to self-protection, emphasizes awareness and assertiveness skills as well as physical and verbal strategies to counter violence. They pride themselves on striving to support full inclusion of individuals with disabilities as part of the University of Michigan’s commitment to creating a diverse and  multicultural community. These are among some of the many resources offered to students with physical disabilities. All services are available for no extra charge to the student. Their student services office and disability coordinators work to make the campus inclusive environments through specialized advocacy, support, and academic services.       

Additional Costs: None 

2

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

UofSouthernCalifornia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.7
College Consensus
78.7
Publisher Consensus
78.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Through the Department of Student Affairs at the University of Southern California they offer an extensive Disability Services Program. This is the place for students to get their needs met, as far as accommodations go, for their disability. In fact, they recommend that students make contact with their office prior to even entering the campus in order to get the ball rolling and understand the services that might be beneficial for them. In order to get their needs met effectively, it is important for students to disclose their disability to the Disability Services Office with the appropriate documentation from their medical provider. This office offers a variety of support services both for students and faculty members on campus. This includes support groups and access to cutting-edge technology/ assistive devices. They have 20 staff members with different niche specialties to ensure students have a variety of people to work with when advocating for themselves to have what they need on campus. 

Additional Costs: None

3

Northeastern University
Boston, MA

Northeastern University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.9
College Consensus
69.2
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Northeastern University offers students an excellent Disability Resource Center. It is the point office for all students with disabilities to access the services they need. Their support starts prior to the student even beginning life on campus. They offer a 5 session online tutorial for incoming students with disabilities who are making the transition from high school to college at Northeastern. They do not consider themselves, at the Disability Resource Center, student advocates, but collaborators that support the student’s self determination to find the tools they need to be successful. They work with students who need physical and structural support, which may include accessible classroom spaces or furniture. They offer students a myriad of assistive technology apps and devices including braille, text-to-speech software, and audio recording devices for students who are approved to record lectures and class sessions. Technology for visual recordings is also available. 

Additional Costs: Some of the assistive technologies have varying fees associated with their purchase

4

Xavier University
Cincinnati, OH

Xavier University Cincinnati
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.1
College Consensus
63.4
Publisher Consensus
76.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Xavier University offers students a multi-faceted Disability Services Center that prides itself on offering students accommodations that are tailored to their unique needs. All of their resources are designed to give students equal access to all of the opportunities that campus life provides. Students are required to gather their documentation that discloses their disability from a medical provider prior to receiving services. Their whole thing is that they work in partnership with each participant rather then play a leadership role in ensuring they have what they need to be successful. They help students find support service animals and accessible housing. They are also the hub for assistive technology which includes software and various devices. They are also the place to turn when a student needs to file a grievance if they are not getting their accommodation needs met. Content accessibility can be a real issue on college campuses and Xavier offer many options that attempts to account for the accessibility of all students. 

Additional Costs: Additional costs relate only to the X-Path Program geared towards students with learning disabilities.

5

The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX

UT Austin
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.5
College Consensus
68.5
Publisher Consensus
80.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

It is no surprise that the University of Texas at Austin has made such great strides to offer exceptional services for students with disabilities, as they also have an excellent Center for Disability Studies. The two departments are known for working in collaboration to bring excellent speakers to campus, including for the Disability Awareness Speakers Series that happens each year. This goes to show that students with disabilities will not fall into the shadows at the University of Texas, and they will have many opportunities to be represented and receive the support that they need. This includes activating the use of a range of accommodations including high end adaptive technology and software through the Texas Technology Access Program (TTAP).  They provide demonstrations of the latest devices geared towards supporting students in the classroom and student life activities. There are also a variety of interpretation services on campus as well as access to accessible copies of orientation materials even before the student arrives on campus. 

Additional Costs: None

6

College of Charleston
Charleston, SC

College of Charleston
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.8
College Consensus
59.3
Publisher Consensus
74.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The Center for Disability Services (SNAP) at the College of Charleston is determined to ensure that the campus is accessible to ALL students. On their website they offer links that further define accessibility, and they also highlight the ways they show up to their students needs without taking away their agency and autonomy. Out of the approximate 11,000 students on campus, nearly 850 access the support services that SNAP offers. They also support other departments and campus wide events to collaborate on accessibility. This is important for ensuring that every offering through the college is friendly to people of all abilities. SNAP also works with student housing to support students to have their accessibility needs met in their housing accommodations. Among  their partnerships is also their connection to the counseling center, which offers private and group therapy services that factor in the support needs of students with disabilities.  

Additional Costs: None

7

University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT

UConn
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.3
College Consensus
64.4
Publisher Consensus
72.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

As a division of Student Affairs at the University of Connecticut, the Center for Students with Disabilities is a key resource. It has been in existence since 1967, and was initially known as The Program for Physically Handicapped. Originally, it was part of Public Health Services, and has evolved considerably in the last 50 years. Their original projects were advocacy related and included having an elevator built in the student union. That is small potatoes today, as they now consider themselves an institution that not only values the presence of students with disabilities, but they show up with the accommodations that make that apparent. Beyond the basic accommodations they offer a program that primarily relates to students with learning disabilities, but can also be beneficial for all students with disabilities, called Beyond Access. This consists of a variety of support offerings including learning coaches and specialized adaptive technologies for students seeking the additional supports. 

Additional Costs: Beyond Access Program:

  • Track I (1 hour per week) – $1,800 per semester.
  • FLEX Track I (1.5 hours per week) – $2,200 per semester.
  • Track II (2 hours per week) – $2,700 per semester.
  • Track III (3 hours per week) – $3,600 per semester.

8

Messiah College
Mechanicsburg, PA

Messiah College
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.5
College Consensus
59.2
Publisher Consensus
71.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Messiah College offers students an intimate environment to study, as their student body only consists of 3,200 students. With such a small school, their Office of Disability Resources considers themselves to be an important part of the fabric of campus. They provide services for over 200 students that go beyond the required accommodations by the ADA. They believe that they have moral and ethical responsibilities associated with meeting the accessibility needs of students with disabilities. The institution as a whole has a value system that includes the importance of each person, and serving students with both learning and physical disabilities is in alignment with their mission. Their physical and emotional support resources include offerings both in and out of the classroom. This ranges from disability informed counseling to adaptive technology access. They also offer a number of resources on their website that pertain to students with disabilities and include christian resources. 

Additional Costs: None

9

University of the Ozarks
Clarksville, AR

chapel college of the ozarks orig
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.3
College Consensus
64
Publisher Consensus
72.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The University of Ozarks offers an extensive resource for students with disabilities on campus called the Jones Learning Center. As a result of this multifaceted resource they are considered to have more programming than any other postsecondary institution in the nation that is directed towards students with learning disabilities. They also, however, have a range of programs and support accommodations to give students with physical disabilities equal access to a high quality education. This includes hearing and visual impairment tools, service animals, transportation options, as well as options to make classrooms and living arrangements more accessible. As a result of the Jones Learning Center, that has been in existence since 1971, there is campus-wide visibility that reduces the stigma attached to learning and physical differences. On top of their offerings through the Jones Learning Center, they have a residential life component that is called JLC Distinctives, which offers additional accommodations. 

Additional Costs: There are a range of costs associated with programming through the Jones Learning Center

10

Loras College
Dubuque, IA

Loras
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.1
College Consensus
58.8
Publisher Consensus
69.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Loras College offers a comprehensive programming hub called the Lynch Learning Center. They have an assortment of offerings including what is called The Enhanced Program. This is primarily designed for students with learning disabilities, however, some students with physical disabilities also apply to participate in an effort to receive additional support on campus. This is an application based program with a range of fees associated with enrollment that are beyond tuition. Loras College also offers an array of accommodation services for students who have a cross-section of disabilities. Tuition includes these particular offerings, and the list is extensive. They also have an inventory of assistive software and technologies including voice-to-text that support a variety of needs. They encourage prospective students to get in touch with the Lynch Learning Center as part of their application process and learn what their offerings include. It is important to have a diagnosis prior to requesting services. 

Additional Costs: None for general accommodations, however, Lynch Learning Center has a variety of associated fees. 

11

Augsburg University
Minneapolis, MN

Ausburg
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64
College Consensus
57.4
Publisher Consensus
70.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Augsburg College has a variety of offerings for students with disabilities that are based in their Center for Learning and Accessible Student Services (CLASS). CLASS is centered on the belief of inclusionary practices for all students. They provide accommodations for students with all disabilities including a physical or sensory impairment. They help students determine which accommodations are appropriate for their particular needs. They have many adaptive technology offerings that include support for students with different disabilities. This can include alternative course materials and textbooks, as well as software like speech-to-text. They also offer Built in Accessibility software through Windows. All students have access to a personal disability specialists who stay with them on their journey as a student at Augsburg. Their role is to help students get their individual needs met through accommodations and support services. 

Additional Costs: Some fees associated with individual adaptive software

12

West Virginia Wesleyan College
Buckhannon, WV

West Virginia Wesleyan College
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
61.2
College Consensus
50.6
Publisher Consensus
71.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

West Virginia Wesleyan College has a firm commitment to meeting the needs of disabled students through their Disability Support Services. Not unlike other institutions of higher learning, students must first comes to the Disability Support office with documentation of their disability and a request for accommodations. On campus is what is called the Learning Center which is the hub of accessibility offerings. Within the Learning Center are specialized programs that are geared towards students with learning disabilities, but also an Assistive Technology Lab which offers an incredible amount of e-resources that support the needs of students with disabilities and learning differences. This includes reading and writing software, audio note taking, and digital recorders. They also have magnification programs for zooming into text and additional accommodations for physical disabilities. Each student will have access to what is called a comprehensive advisor who supports them to make an individualized support plan. 

Additional Costs: Some programs have additional fees, but the majority of accommodations are covered by tuition

13

Abilene Christian University
Abilene, TX

Abilene Christian University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.2
College Consensus
54.2
Publisher Consensus
74.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The Abilene Christian University believes in making sure their students with disabilities have everything they need to succeed in their social and academic lives on campus. They have a variety of resources that support their mission, including their Alpha Scholars Program (ASP) and the Student Support Services (SSS). They also have a program that is federally funded called the TRIO Program. Their Disability Support Services (DSS) consist of a synthesis of all of the aforementioned programs that work together to provide students with personalized accommodations to meet their needs. Each student who seeks disability accommodations will be provided an assessment to determine a plan that would be best for them. The in depth assessment looks into the students’ physical needs as well as their study habits, learning styles, and social characteristics. The student’s documentation paperwork must be up-to-date (no more than five years old) to qualify for specialized accommodations. 

Additional Costs: None

14

Alfred University
Alfred, NY

Alfred University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
60.9
College Consensus
53.7
Publisher Consensus
68.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Alfred University offers students in depth Accessibility Services and Accommodations that ensure students with disabilities have full access to everything the campus has to offer. All students with a documented disability will be assigned to an academic consultant who will support them to access appropriate accommodations that work with their specific needs. The consultant team is made up of graduate students in the psychology department. Within this session they will collaborate on an individualized plan that brings together the resources that the campus provides to support the distinct needs of the individual. This includes housing accommodations as well as academic, which can include the use of assistive devices. This can also include more accessible furniture, extended length of time on tests, and adaptive software, for example speech-to-text. They offer a comprehensive appeals process for students who are denied any requests related to disability accommodations. 

Additional Costs: None

15

Baylor University
Waco, TX

Baylor University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.9
College Consensus
59.1
Publisher Consensus
74.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Baylor University offers students the resource of the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA). Students who have a documented disability must fill out an online application in order to disclose their disability and request accommodations and services. There are a myriad of offerings through this center that students can access to glean the support they need to have an inclusive and immersive academic experience. An accommodation specialist will contact each applicant and set up a personalized session and go over their unique needs. There are some basic accommodations like access to more adaptive labs and work spaces, longer test taking times, and additional adaptive technology. There is also on-campus transportation for disabled students and continued access to the students accommodation specialist to discuss specific issues including grievances. Quite a bit of research has come out of the OALA and there are several articles made available on their website. Some of the topics include: supporting student’s self determination, the effects of accommodations on students with disabilities, and coaching college athletes with disabilities. 

Additional Costs: None

16

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

intro about
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.6
College Consensus
86.2
Publisher Consensus
83
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Stanford University has a comprehensive resource center that supports students with disabilities called the Office of Accessible Education. This is the hub for students to disclose their disability and seek accommodations. The first step is gathering the necessary paperwork from the student’s medical team and bringing it to a scheduled intake meeting with a disability advisor. This session will help students make an individualized plan based on the student’s disability and unique offerings that Stanford has. This is also where students turn when they are looking for facility access request forms and adaptive devices. They also have a variety of videos to support students with disabilities who want to study abroad, all of which share stories from others who have had similar experiences. They will help students seek accessible home stays and arrange for the necessary accommodations for International travel. The Office of Accessible Education is part of Student Affairs. 

Additional Costs: None

17

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Whitewater, WI

University of Wisconsin Whitewater
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
60.1
College Consensus
47.6
Publisher Consensus
72.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The University of Wisconsin Whitewater has an active Center for Students with Disabilities that ensures that all students will have an inclusive experience on campus. They are one of the schools for disabled students that value the diversity that learning and physical differences bring to a campus environment. They also understand that the transition from high school can be especially challenging. They take that transition process seriously and offer students services that enable them to access on campus resources for academic and physical accommodations. Students can request a variety of adaptive technologies including alternative media and other software that is relevant through their assistive technology lab. They also have an assistive transportation service that makes college for disabled adults and youth more possible. In addition, they offer services that relate specifically to students with temporary disabilities that may be a result of an injury or illness. 

Additional Costs: None

18

University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

U Arizona
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.8
College Consensus
54.1
Publisher Consensus
73.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The Disability Resource Center at the University of Arizona is a frontrunner as far as offering services of this kind. They believe in what is called universal design, which basically means creating environments and products that can be used by people of all abilities. The campus stands by that concept as a driving practice, which means there are less “accommodations” needed in the long run, and inclusion is considered from the initial building stages. Their website offers seven principles of universal design, and all of these pinnacles relate also to the compilation/ curation of curricula. Even their museum takes such principles into account when designing exhibits. One extra special element to the University of Arizona campus is their Disability Cultural Center, which is actually one of a very small amount in the country. Not only is this a space where events happen, but also a welcoming drop in with lots of open hours. As far as schools for disabled students go, U of A seems to offer some of the most innovative resources. 

Additional Costs: None

19

SUNY Cortland
Cortland, NY

Cortland oldmain building
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.8
College Consensus
53.8
Publisher Consensus
71.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The website for accessibility at SUNY Cortland says it all with an image of students playing basketball in wheelchairs and the title proclaiming All People, All Abilities: Americans with Disabilities Act at SUNY Cortland. They are honoring the 25 years of ADA regulations by creating even more programs that bring accessibility and inclusion into every aspect of student life on campus (and beyond). One of the projects they support is the ADA Legacy Project which explores the history of accessability. They not only offer excellent accommodations for their students, but they provide a variety of programs to train students to be leaders in disability services and support. Some of these topics include innovative Special Education– also a concentration in adaptive physical education, speech and hearing science, and therapeutic recreation. Their Disability Resources Office offers students the accommodations they need to meet their academic goals. They are also a hotbed of social justice regarding inclusion and anti-discrimination against students with disabilities. 

Additional Costs: None

20

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

cornell
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.8
College Consensus
81.7
Publisher Consensus
79.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Cornell University offers Student Disability Services that works in partnership with faculty, staff and the student body to provide appropriate accommodations for students who need them. They have a welcoming staff that are there to meet with students and discuss options and personal access needs. They store all of the student’s confidential disclosure documentation, offer adaptive technology and other resources to grant students ultimate access and inclusion to all campus endeavors. They also work with students to ensure their housing is accessible. Transportation assistance is an accommodation that they offer as well as counseling and psychological services that can be especially helpful as students with disabilities transition from high school to college. All of the libraries at Cornell have extensive adaptive software, and students can make appointments to work with staff to train them on the programs. Cornell also has a list of clubs and organizations that appeal to students with disabilities. 

Additional Costs: None

21

Schreiner University
Kerrville, TX

nathan dumlao ewGMqs2tmJI unsplash

Schreiner University sees their extensive services for students with disabilities as part of their mission to offer a diverse and inclusive environment to the entire campus community. This is a work in progress in terms of programmatic offerings, however, the majority of campus buildings are ADA compliant and accessible to students in wheelchairs and those requiring accessibility. There are accessible housing options for a limited number of students. There are also many auxiliary services for students with medical and physical disabilities. The requirement to put such services into place includes proper documentation from a medical provider that discloses the disability and the accommodations necessary to support their academic and campus experience. Students have access to a disability coordinator who will support them in communicating about their disability to faculty, and finding the appropriate accommodations. 

Additional Costs: None

22

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
Chattanooga, TN

University Tennessee Chattanooga
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
60.2
College Consensus
44.8
Publisher Consensus
75.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga has extensive offerings for students with disabilities through their Disability Resource Center. The tagline of their services is Building a Culture of Access at UTC, and that is exactly what you can expect. Their mission is very much in service of creating awareness and inclusion on campus about access and diversity. They offer a disABILITY ambassador training for the campus community to create a culture of advocacy. As a university they are aware that they have come a long way and are still not exactly where they want to be. The last five years have been effective, however, as more buildings have been made accessible and more faculty members have joined the effort to make the campus safe and open for everyone. Some of the many resources that are available for students with disabilities include counseling services and a myriad of accommodations. 

Additional Costs: None

23

McDaniel College
Westminster, MD

McDaniel College
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
61.1
College Consensus
53.2
Publisher Consensus
69.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

McDaniel College offers students with disabilities the comprehensive resource of the Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS). At SASS they make every effort to work with each student who has a documented disability to come up with a personal plan of support. The implementation of appropriate accommodations is done on a case by case basis per student. Students will have access to a variety of assistive technologies and the ability to use their testing center at SASS. SASS has many opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in their free programming, including groups and access to facilities. They also have a summer transitional program called Step Ahead, which is designed for students with disabilities to have an easy transition to postsecondary. This program highlights interventions for the most encountered problems that students with disabilities face during their first year of college. 

Additional Costs: Most programs- free of charge/ Step Ahead Summer Program- $250

24

Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus
Teaneck, NJ

Fairleigh Dickinson University Metropolitan Campus
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
59
College Consensus
52.2
Publisher Consensus
65.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Metropolitan has a Regional Center for Learning Disabilities that has won a number of awards. They are specifically known internationally for being one of the best schools that support learning disability interventions. They do, however, also support accommodations for students with other disabilities including physical. Their campus has fostered a culture of inclusion, and they have a number of events annually that make that apparent. Accommodations for all disabilities are constantly being updated, and have been a major conversation since the 1990s. Their counseling center is well versed in working with disabled students and are an excellent place to start if students are feeling like they need a little extra support. They also offer a two semester long Metacognitive Strategies Course that is geared towards the disabled community on campus. This can support students to better utilize the offered accommodations, while also working on time management skills, and assistive technologies. 

Additional Costs: None

25

Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY

Hofstra University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
60.2
College Consensus
50.3
Publisher Consensus
70.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

At Hofstra there are many places to find inclusive spaces for students with disabilities. It is first helpful to note that they have a Disabilities Studies Program at Hofstra that draws advocates, activists, and disabled students from all over the country. They offer an undergraduate degree as well as a minor. Hofstra also has a Student Access Services (SAS) Department that is designed to support students with disabilities to receive appropriate accommodations. All students must have a documented disability to access the supports they have in place. They also have two specific programs that are fee- based and geared towards learning disability support. One is called the Academic Coaching Center and the other is the Program for Academic Learning Skills.  There is also a SAS testing lab for quiet testing with modified time constraints. 

Additional Costs: Fee Based programming for students with learning disabilities

26

Adelphi University
Garden City, NY

Adelphi University

Adelphi University offers students the Student Access Office which is there to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Their office has a statement that lays out their role as a support to make the entire campus open and accessible to all students. One of their jobs is to provide reasonable accommodations for any student with a documented disability. Each student has different needs in this regard, and they do their best to meet each participant where they are. From accessible classroom seating advocacy to sign language interpretation this is the point office to find and ask questions and fix problems. They also have support around the transition from high school to college and access to assistive technologies. There is even an assistive technology lab for students to utilize the latest developments in adaptive software and supportive devices. 

Additional Costs: None

27

University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

UF

The Disability Resource Center at the University of Florida is the tie that connects students with the necessary on campus collaborations to make the institution accessible to participants of all abilities. Their goal is to tear down any barriers to access that are presented to students throughout the course of their academic career. After students show up with the documentation of their diagnosed disability they can set up an initial appointment with a learning specialist. In this session they will do an in depth assessment of the students previous learning experiences and the accommodations that may have been successful in the past. This is where the student and the specialist will begin to collaborate on possible accommodations and interventions that will make student life easier. A variety of accommodations will be suggested and the student can begin trying them out. This can include adaptive technologies and software, access to counseling services and in some cases making alterations to physical spaces to make them more comfortable to fit the student’s needs. 

Additional Costs: None

28

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.2
College Consensus
72.2
Publisher Consensus
74.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The Georgian Institute of Technology has a well resourced Office of Disability Services, that is a Division of Student Life. They are the first step in gaining access to appropriate accommodations for students who are disabled. It is important that each student show up with proper documentation from their medical provider. This includes a diagnosis letter. They can then meet with a specialist at the center who will help them get the resources they need. This may include accessible furniture for the classroom, assistive technology, paratransit services, note taking software, audio recordings of lectures or class sessions, interpretation, and appropriate housing. Students that are connected to the Office of Disability Services can access their specialized testing center that has its own guidelines regarding test taking. The center is also a great place to find additional resources including in relation to employment and scholarships. 

Additional Costs: None

29

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

Illinois Urbana
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.8
College Consensus
68.5
Publisher Consensus
77.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has a Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) division that is part of the College of Applied Sciences. DRES is actually considered one of the best in the country to support students with disabilities on college campuses. They have thought through every barrier a students might encounter and they have done what they can to find a remediation. They have a Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team, among many other sports activities that celebrate students with disabilities. They also pride themselves on having the best transportation options for students with disabilities on any college campus. A unique offering is career counseling for students that receive their services, supporting them to learn how to disclose their disability in the workplace and access accommodations with as much ease as possible. They also offer a myriad of accommodations akin to other campuses, many of which are top-notch and beyond the basics. 

Additional Costs: None

30

Ohio State University-Main Campus
Columbus, OH

Ohio State U
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.5
College Consensus
65.2
Publisher Consensus
77.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Ohio State University has an on campus Disability Services offering that is one component of Student Life. They are committed to finding the balance between empowering students to be effective self-advocates and collaborating with them to seek and receive the accommodations that are appropriate for their needs. Some  of the things that they offer students with disabilities include adaptive transportation, specialized dining and housing accommodations, accessible media, adaptive recreation, and even specific accommodations for students who want to study abroad. Their adaptive recreation is actually an aspect that draws some students with physical disabilities to Ohio State. It is not every campus that ensures inclusion when it comes to sports, fitness, and recreation. They also offer students adaptive devices that can include Assistive Listening and specific software like voice-to-text. Graduate and professional students are also eligible to apply for support accommodations. Lab Assistants are on deck to support students with disabilities. 

Additional Costs: None

31

University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Seattle, WA

U Washington
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.2
College Consensus
66.9
Publisher Consensus
75.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The University of Washington-Seattle is a giant school with a giant campus, which means they have a huge population of students with disabilities to serve. In fact, their Disability Resources for Students serve over 3,600 participants at any given time. This is the go-to for students who need to request accommodations to make their education easier or in some cases possible. They take a stance on disability that is empowering and part of the ideology that disabled students contribute to a rich diverse environment that the campus always hopes to grow and foster. In terms of equitable access, students have the opportunity to collaborate with staff to access more accessible classroom spaces and in some cases furniture, adaptive technologies, and resources regarding test taking, They also have a video tutorial series called myDRS Video Tutorials that are designed to show students how to understand and participate adequately in the services offered. 

Additional Costs: None

32

Texas A&M University-San Antonio
San Antonio, TX

bookcase books bookshelves 1850021

Texas A&M University has a comprehensive center for Disability Resources, which is a Division of Student Affairs. Equity, Collaboration, and Excellence are the principles that guide this offering to the student body. They are committed to meeting each student where they are and collaborating on the resources that will best support their inclusion and access needs. Once a student submits their disability documentation paperwork, they are able to begin the process of finding provisions for their education. They will be assigned an access coordinator that will help support them on their unique journey. They also have Communication Access Services and Assistive Technology Services. Physical Accessibility is an issue that they take seriously, and they have a menu on their website that will help students navigate their accessibility needs on campus. Awareness and access are additional components to the work they do on campus to make it a more friendly place. 

Additional Costs: None

33

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
University Park, PA

Penn
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.3
College Consensus
62.2
Publisher Consensus
78.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Pennsylvania State University has a myriad of Student Disability Resources that are in service to making the campus an empowering and inclusive place for all. They have a designated office with disability support coordinators at every Penn State campus, each with their own accommodations and support services. The offices hold the confidential paperwork related to students with disabilities and they also certify eligibility for students to receive services. They have a website dedicated to helping students with disabilities make the transition to postsecondary, with a checklist of all of the things to consider and put in place. They believe in fostering the self-advocacy skills of each student and in turn support them to request the accommodations that are right for their situation. They encourage prospective students to begin this process prior to the start of classes. There are also some applicable scholarships geared towards students with disabilities. 

Additional Costs: None

34

Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

fsu
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.6
College Consensus
59.1
Publisher Consensus
78.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The Department of Student Support and Transitions at Florida State University offers an Office of Accessibility Services. They have so many resources that it is exciting to peruse their website. Inclusion and access for the entire campus community drives their mission. They offer a training for students to participate in that will qualify them as OAS ambassadors, which means they play a role in advocating for disability rights on campus. Students can submit their disability diagnosis paperwork through a portal on their website and also request accommodations. Every student in the system will have their own log in to manage their support resources and update their paperwork. Each student will be granted support services that can include the use of software and assistive devices, accessible housing and accommodations, and additional test taking provisions. This center services over 5,000 students and is an important part of the fabric of the institution. 

Additional Costs: None

35

Indiana University-Bloomington
Bloomington, IN

Indiana University Bloomington
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
68.4
College Consensus
58.5
Publisher Consensus
78.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Indiana University Bloomington has a Division of Student Affairs that is specifically designed to serve students with disabilities. They believe that all students deserve dignity and respect, which includes empowering access to all campus resources, as well as self-determination. Documenting your disability can begin with taking your placement exam before starting classes. They encourage high school juniors or seniors to visit the office for students with disabilities prior to enrolling in school, in order to understand all that is available. Requesting a van service is an easy accommodation to utilize, and then there are academic accommodations that vary. Some of them include assistive technology, accessible furniture, access to coordinators who provide consultation and advocacy, and even collegiate life coaching. There are adaptive devices that students can utilize as well including FM hearing devices and the use of a smartpen. Note taking assistance can be beneficial for many students as well. 

Additional Costs: None

36

University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

University Iowa
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67.1
College Consensus
58.1
Publisher Consensus
76.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The University of Iowa offers students access to Student Disability Services (SDS), which believes in creating a fair learning environment for all students who participate in the campus community. They believe in providing students with the accommodations necessary to give them equal access to their education. Their website highlights the myriad of accommodations students have access to, including adaptive classroom furniture, in class presentation alternatives, deaf and hearing modifications, e-texts for required textbooks, preferential seating, scribes for essay tests or scantron tests, and a comprehensive media lab. Media services has a variety of technologies that can enhance students experiences in class and beyond. Utilizing the services offered is confidential. Students can disclose their disability to the faculty members that they work with, but if they choose not to, the center will not either. An accommodations coordinator works with each student to choose appropriate accommodations each semester. 

Additional Costs: None

37

University of Delaware
Newark, DE

UDel
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
66.7
College Consensus
59.3
Publisher Consensus
74.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The University of Delaware has an Office of Disability Support Services (DSS). Their website highlights Universal Design for Students, which is a methodology that places value on designing curricula and technology to be already accessible to all, so accommodations are not needed. Though they work with the principles of creating universal design, they are not 100% there. In this case, they have many options for students with disabilities to access appropriate accommodations so their campus experience is inclusive and accessible. Their website goes through the process of how to effectively disclose your documented disability and request accommodations accordingly. Their website offers a section for faculty members, advising them on how to support students with disabilities. They have offerings of a variety of adaptive technologies including alternative texts, alternative print media, various software, and access to a testing accommodation center.

Additional Costs: None

38

Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY

Rochester Institute of Technology
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.9
College Consensus
58.9
Publisher Consensus
72.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Rochester Institute of Technology has a comprehensive Disability Services Office that is part of the Division of Student Affairs. They work hard to ensure the campus is inclusive and always striving to provide an equitable learning and student life environment for all students. Students can submit documentation of their disability through their website and place a request for a variety of accommodations. They rely on self-advocacy from students to get their needs met, but are always happy to have meetings with participants to support them to find the accessibility tools that are appropriate for them. Students can easily set up such meetings on the website for the Disability Services Office. Students must also reserve testing centers if they need test taking modifications, which can also be done on their website. This is also the go-to to request permission to have a service animal on campus. 

Additional Costs: None

39

University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO

University of Missouri Columbia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.5
College Consensus
50.6
Publisher Consensus
76.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The University of Missouri has a Disability Center on campus that provides students with disabilities with the support and resources to have an inclusive experience throughout their academic career. Because they believe that all students have the right to an equal education, they offer a high level of accommodations for physical and academic support. These can be as simple as more accessible classroom furniture or they can include the latest technology in adaptive devices. They have a variety of software offerings for students that include voice-to-text programs and alternative classroom texts. They have a streamlined process for students to request additional accommodations or modify the lists they are already working with. Each student will have their own login where they can manage their services, support meetings, and accommodations. Their website is also an advocacy resource that offers tips on digital accessibility and ways to join the conversation. 

Additional Costs: None

40

Temple University
Philadelphia, PA

Temple University 1
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.1
College Consensus
55.7
Publisher Consensus
68.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Temple University has a Disability Resources and Service Center. One notable thing about their website is the myriad of online offerings they provide that relate to the cultural landscape of disability inclusion practices. This includes a link to the Disability History Museum. There are many opportunities for students to receive accommodations for academic support, including with the offering of assistive technologies. If a student is interested in utilizing such services they can contact an assistive technology coordinator and set up an appointment. The website makes the process of submitting disability documentation and seeking support services streamlined and easy. Students can access several software offerings, many of which can be downloaded onto their personal devices through the website, and also access trails of braille displays and cutting edge digital recorders. There are hundreds of programs that are either free or low cost that can enhance students access to coursework. 

Additional Costs: some assistive technologies are low cost, but otherwise free

41

Ball State University
Muncie, IN

Ball State
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
59.3
College Consensus
46
Publisher Consensus
72.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The Office of Disability Services at Ball State University is a hotbed of resources for students with disabilities. Their website says it all with an image of many college students playing basketball from their wheelchairs. There are many offerings geared specifically towards students with mobility issues including adaptive computer technology, adaptive physical education, tables with adjustable heights, note taking services, parking, shuttles, push sticks, housing accommodations, loaner wheelchairs, wheelchair repair, and even snow removal. Obtaining the appropriate documentation to confirm a disability is an important part of the process to receiving the appropriate accommodations. The campus even has a disability awareness month that charges the entire student body to create a more inclusive environment. They also have a faculty mentorship program that pairs faculty members with students with disabilities who are in their first semester to have built in guidance and accommodation support.  

Additional Costs: None

42

Guilford College
Greensboro, NC

guilford college campus 1
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
57.1
College Consensus
44.7
Publisher Consensus
69.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Guilford College gives students access to an Accessibility Resource Center. They have  a complex mission of creating a more inclusive world and applying that to the micro vision of a campus that provides equal access to all students. Their center has three staff members who will work with students individually on this small campus to ensure that they receive the appropriate accommodations. Because Guilford is such an intimate school, the process for accessing tools and support is very personal. They are committed to working with students to be excellent self advocates and seek the resources that will be beneficial for their academic and career goals. You can find the paperwork on the website to register with a disability diagnosis. This is necessary to receive support services. Disclosure of a disability is always confidential and it is the student’s choice to share personal information with faculty members and campus staff. 

Additional Costs: None

43

Humboldt State University
Arcata, CA

Humboldt State University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
58.9
College Consensus
44.3
Publisher Consensus
73.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Humboldt State University has a well supported Student Disability Resource Center that works hard to incorporate their services into the larger agenda of the campus vision. Their building is currently in a temporary location, as they are under construction. They are doing their best to offer a space that students are proud to call their own. Their primary mission is to collaborate with students, administration, staff and faculty to ensure that Humboldt State is an institution that is committed to inclusion and equity for all individuals. They offer an annual award program to recognize faculty and staff that have gone out of their way to fulfill this vision. Some of the accommodations students with disabilities can access include: adaptive classroom furniture, a variety of assistive technologies, exclusive services for deaf and hard of hearing students, transportation (on campus), exam accommodations, and also a host of support groups and counseling services. 

Additional Costs: None

44

Arkansas State University-Main Campus
Jonesboro, AR

Arkansas State University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
58.5
College Consensus
41.7
Publisher Consensus
75.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Arkansas State University offers students Access and Accommodations Services that are in service of creating a barrier free environment. They pride themselves on the variety of assistive learning technologies that they give students access to. They have numerous accessible technologies that can be utilized at every computer lab on campus. Some of their offerings include: CCTV (closed circuit television) video magnifier, books in alternative formats, reading pens, live scribe smartpens, scientific talking calculators, scan and read software, just to name a few. They also have a number of alternative books. Students can participate in Assistive Technology Workshops, that train them on all of the software and adaptive devices they have access to as students. New students, or students who have not yet utilized Access and Accommodation Services can begin the application process on their website. Once the student is in the system, they can select their accommodations for each course. 

Additional Costs: None

45

Manhattanville College
Purchase, NY

manhattanville college 5 1
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
56.7
College Consensus
46.8
Publisher Consensus
66.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Manhattanville College has a Disability Services Center that works hard to collaborate with every department and the student body to ensure the institution is an inclusive and equitable environment. Students with a documented disability must first self-identify with the office in order to begin receiving services. In most cases, the student will be asked to provide relevant paperwork. Reasonable accommodations are collaborated upon between the director of the Disability Services Center and the student. Every semester brings about new opportunities to request updated accommodations, so students will continue to work with the director to get their personal and academic needs met. Some accommodations can include: the use of adaptive devices, furniture that meets accessibility needs, sign language interpretation, and a variety of academic adjustments. There are also many academic support services that fall under the umbrella of this department, including The Higher Education Learning Program (HELP), which is a fee based tutoring center. 

Additional Costs: The only fee-based program is the Higher Education Learning Program (HELP)

46

Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY

Northern Kentucky University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
55.6
College Consensus
42.1
Publisher Consensus
69
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Northern Kentucky University offers a range of programming and support for students with disabilities through their Disability Programs and Services. They believe in creating a student centered environment that is collaborative in offering reasonable accommodations. They are the place for students to go for all of their accessibility needs and any advocacy support that may come up. The first step to accessing support services and accommodations is the students self-reporting. Someone from the office will sit down with the student and discuss ways they can support their academic needs through observation and interaction. In terms of specific housing needs, a student must have documentation from a healthcare provider for that element of their accommodation request. There is a basic online accommodation letter request form that students can access on the Disability Programs and Services website. There are a variety of adaptive technologies that students can access as well as services that cater to emotional support on campus. 

Additional Costs: None

47

Wright State University-Main Campus
Dayton, OH

Wright State University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
53.8
College Consensus
44.2
Publisher Consensus
63.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Through Diversity and Inclusion services at Wright State University there is the comprehensive office of Disability Services (ODS) that offers disabled students a variety of supports. They have some unique offerings that are tailored to each student with the intention of allowing every participant to have as much independence as possible, while being able to access all that the campus environment offers. This includes giving students who need it on-campus personal care assistance, accessible housing options, an underground tunnel system that easily gets students to almost all main campus buildings, a comprehensive training on independent living skills, mobility orientation that is geared towards students who have visual impairments, and a personal assistance station at the student union. They also have several adaptive technologies that can make the learning environment easier, and adaptive furniture options. You name it, they have thought of it. 

Additional Costs: Personal Assistance services are fee based 

48

Franklin Pierce University
Rindge, NH

franklin pierce university
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
53.5
College Consensus
44.2
Publisher Consensus
62.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Franklin Pierce University offers students accessibility resources through their Disability Service office. They have a comprehensive process that is outlined on their website for students to identify their disability and submit the appropriate paperwork. All of the student’s information and their narrative is then taken into account by the office who then determines the eligibility for the student to receive a variety of support services. They are generally referred to the Center for Academic Success where they discuss academic specific interventions, which may include adaptive technologies and devices.  The Disability Service office will remain in touch with students to ensure that they are getting their physical and academic needs met in a way that is akin to their unique situation. They believe, however, in fostering independence and self-determination, which puts the ball in the student’s court in terms of accessing the appropriate accommodations. 

Additional Costs: None

49

Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Wayne State University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
53.5
College Consensus
41
Publisher Consensus
65.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

Wayne State University offers Student Disability Services through their School of Information Sciences. They believe in creating universal design throughout the campus, so inclusion is a given, though they also offer a variety of academic accommodations. This includes access to a myriad of adaptive devices. Students are able to participate in trainings that teach them not only how to use the software and tailored devices, but they also can get support to determine what specific devices are right for them. Their disability services have extensive office hours Monday through Friday that offer students the support they need. In fact, one day a week they are open from 8:30 in the morning until 7 in the evening. This is a space where students can drop in and seek support or make appointments to talk through accommodation options. On hand are student disability specialists that can be beneficial for prospective students to begin a dialogue with prior to even enrolling. 

Additional Costs: None

50

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Edinboro, PA

edinboro
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
52.1
College Consensus
38
Publisher Consensus
66.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: February, 2020

The Office for Accessibility Services at Edinboro University has been in existence for 45 year! They are proud to have such an extensive history of finding best practices to support students with disabilities. They believe in fostering an environment of confidence and independence, so all students on campus can have what they need to thrive. Some of their offerings include extensive peer advising, van transportation services, academic aides, assistive technologies, and writing specialists. They also have what is called the Boro Autism Support Initiative for Success. Students must submit their paperwork of their documented disability to the Office of Accessibility Services prior to begin the process of receiving accommodations. They will then collaborate with staff to make a plan that is tailored to their unique experience. They also have some scholarship offerings for students with disabilities that can be found on their website. 

Additional Costs: None

This list of academic institutions was gratifying to write. It was meditation that the world is a much more inclusive place for people with disabilities then it once was. It is easy to forget that sometimes as we are immersed in media that can often tell us something different. We have come a long way though, and yes, we are still going. Academic environments in particular are evolving to not only be more inclusive to students with disabilities, but offer majors that support people to understand the history and commit their lives to making the world even more aware. Schools for disabled students are becoming a thing of the past, as the future looks like inclusion and immersion. 

How Can We Help More Disabled Students Go to College?

As you can see, many of the schools on the list are employing universal design strategies that go beyond the concept of “reasonable accommodations.” They do this in service of creating a world that is already usable people of all abilities and bodies. The principles of universal design are some of the most radical in terms of inclusion and adaptability. They are applied to architecture and approaches to learning, which includes curriculum curation. While this is the future, some schools have already begun using these concepts, and others have ways to go. You will see from this list that some schools are much more hands off in their approach to supporting students with disabilities. They believe in a certain level of self-determination that requires the students to do the majority of the work to get their needs met. Other schools have a model of support that is much more immersive and collaborative. Some of them bring together teams that surround the student, which can include coaches, advisers, and faculty members that are there to ensure the participant is finding what they need in terms of adaptability and emotional support. 

What are the Main Barriers Keeping Disabled Students from Going to College?

Access has historically, and in some cases continues to be, a real issue. You will see that every school on this list has an inventory of adaptive technologies. Some have their own labs that act as the home to their arsenal of technical resources. Other schools have a check-out system that is done on a case-by-case basis. Many of them provide adaptive furniture, service animals and housing accommodations. Some schools specialize in serving students with learning disabilities and other schools place their focus on ensuring that there are adaptive sports teams and recreational activities that accommodate students in wheelchairs. The primary thing that all of the schools on the list have in common is a commitment to meet the needs of their entire student body, which includes students with disabilities. Hopefully in the next decade lists like this will no longer be an issue. Let’s all keep working towards the world where accessibility in education and the workplace is a given and not something special. Attending a school on this list and getting educated as a disabled person is a good step towards making that world. As is majoring or minoring in one of the programs that we touched upon in the field of Disability Studies.