50 Best Disability Friendly Colleges and Universities
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Find the Best Colleges and Universities for Students with Disabilities
The Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was a landmark achievement for everyone from those suffering from discrimination in the workplace due to mental or physical disabilities to those struggling with equal access within the realm of higher education at the time. As a result of the law, many college campuses began to rethink their facilities, programs and curriculums in an effort to begin the slow process of better accommodating students with learning disabilities and special needs. Today, most mainstream students may notice indicators of these accommodations being prevalent on their college campus with the addition of powered accessible doors, wheelchair ramps and elevators in all multi-floor buildings, however a recent survey concluded that even though 86% of universities enroll and educate students with disabilities, only 24% of the schools polled say they offer those students assistance “to a major extent”.
While they may still be in the minority nationwide, the schools listed below have shown a consistent value and priority for meeting the physical, social and academic needs of students with learning disabilities and special needs. The majority of these campuses offer special needs-focused centers that are professionally staffed and open every weekday. The services usually consist of programs that encourage accessibility, advocacy and opportunity for the academic success of all students needing assistance. Many services provided by these schools are done so free of charge and are offered through the generous work of volunteers.
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Our Methodology For This Ranking
The following ranking highlights universities that have strong programming and solid support services for students with needs including, but not limited to, learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), visual and hearing impairment and those with physical needs that require special access, accommodations, service animals and/or alternative transportation. These exceptional schools are some of the best in the country at committing resources and funding to equipping their students with tools they need to not only become a successful student in the classroom but also a valuable member of the student body as a whole on the campus and in the community. The schools that made our list far exceeded the minimum legal requirements for accessibility and were also evaluated and ranked based on characteristics like academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, and average financial aid awarded.
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