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20 Best Disability Friendly Colleges and Universities in the USA

20 Best Disability Friendly Colleges and Universities in the USA

Published by on 2021-07-12 18:19:34

America seems to be one of the most loyal countries when it comes to people with special needs. This is indeed the truth, and citizens can count on equal rights and a comfortable educational process. However, such options were not always available to people with disabilities. 

Back in the 80s, you couldn’t get to a train station or airport without outside help. Moreover, any cafe, massage parlor, or barbershop could refuse to serve you simply because someone does not want to help you get inside.

Fortunately, that all changed in 1990, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This initiative was aimed at eliminating all possible acts of inequality and discrimination. It is because of this that the modern education system in America has become so progressive. Imagine a student in a wheelchair. Could he or she have made it into the lecture hall 30 years ago? Most likely, it would be impossible. Today, many universities and colleges have developed infrastructure, grants, and support for students with special needs.

How to Pick the Right College or University?

Many educational institutions have become more friendly towards people with special needs. Nevertheless, every student wants to get the maximum opportunities and the most comfortable conditions for acquiring knowledge. Here are a few things you should look at first.

Additional Time Matters

This option is important because students with ADHD can take much longer to complete normal tasks. Pay attention to whether the educational institution provides support. Here are the most important aspects.

  1. Do students have alternative assignments?
  2. Can you use the help of assistants?
  3. Does a college or university provide tutoring services?


All these points are important since many educational institutions can offer adaptive programs for acquiring knowledge. Pay attention to this when you start making your list of options.

Modified Courses

Here's another important option. The fact is that there are people who find it difficult to perceive lectures or practical tasks surrounded by a large number of people. That is why some educational institutions offer mini classrooms, personal lessons, and tutoring. In addition, the academic program can be changed for the sake of the rapid assimilation of knowledge. Pay attention to the relevant options when choosing a university or college.

Resource Center

Some students need sign language interpreters, assistants, or professional help during the educational process. Take a look at those educational institutions that can provide access to such options. This will make it easier for you or your family members to learn and interact with others.

Disability Counselors

If you are in high school and are thinking about a new stage in your education, you need to pick the contact person, a college or university representative. The fact is that an assistant will help you with the details of enrolling, admission essay writing, and all the adaptive features. There are many ways that a personal consultant can make your education process and interaction with professors easier.

Living Accommodations

Getting around the city can be very challenging, especially if students have special needs. That is why you should look for educational institutions that offer dorm rooms and developed infrastructure. Typically, most dorms are located near educational facilities. Moreover, some colleges and universities offer distance learning or transfer options.

College for special needs

Support Centers

These centers provide huge support to newcomers. For example, here you can find new friends, mentors and get advice on any issue. In addition, such centers offer a variety of educational courses and distance programs that can help improve the knowledge of any student.

20 Best Educational Institutions in the USA

Of course, finding a college or university depends on many factors. For example, you may be comfortable living only in a certain state because of the favorable climate or proximity to leading clinics and rehabilitation centers. But what if your choice is based only on subjective factors? Then it will be useful for you to know about excellent colleges and universities that can meet your special needs.

1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Let's say you live in Michigan and want to find the best universities or colleges for people with disabilities. This is a smart decision. How about the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor? This educational institution has been offering excellent facilities for students with special needs since 1973. The university has an advanced laboratory with adaptive technologies to study computer science and IT, biology, chemistry, and other disciplines regardless of people’s physical abilities.

Moreover, the university has a digital library called HathiTrust, which allows people to access books, lectures, and research regardless of location. One of the main features of this educational institution is a comfortable dorm where there is everything so that no one experiences restrictions, regardless of health status.

2. University of Southern California

This university has a long history and is included in the list of the top 100 American educational institutions. Today it is one of the largest DSP centers that help people develop their academic potential, regardless of health status. The university aims to motivate students and create a digital foothold for education.

The first plus is the digital library and testing system. You can receive lecture materials, tests, and access to audio and video files. In addition to comfortable lecture rooms, the University of Southern California offers distance education if you cannot leave your home. Thanks to this, many Americans can pursue higher education.

3. Northeastern University

This university was founded back in 1898 and is the largest educational institution in Massachusetts. More than 20,000 students study at this university. One of the more interesting features is Northeastern's Disability Resource Center. The fact is that the university has relied on inclusiveness and helping people with disabilities.

Students can look forward to transitional tutoring, unlimited digital library access, and DRC sessions. The main focus is on ensuring that all students have equal access to knowledge. The Northeastern campus offers a hybrid learning experience with professors and digital technologies. Students can take tests and exams while at home or in the dorm. This is especially convenient for those people who have difficulty getting around the city.

4. Xavier University

If you live in Cincinnati or are looking to relocate, Xavier University is a great opportunity to pursue higher education. It is one of the most renowned educational institutions globally, with renowned professors and the largest online library. In addition, people with special needs can count on a car-friendly campus. This means that you will not have any difficulties with transportation. The main advantage of the university is the Disability Services program, which allows you to adapt the education schedule and the format of interaction with professors.

This means that students can get comfortable classroom spaces, adaptive tests, and textbooks to gain equal rights to education and satisfaction of needs. In addition, you can use assistance animal accommodations on campus. The ClockWork program is another option available to the students of this university. You can live in a dorm that suits your needs. Also, all students can choose classrooms and one of the available locations for passing tests using assistive technologies.

5. The University of Texas at Austin

If you live in Texas, then you should pay attention to The University of Texas at Austin. This educational institution is known for its alumni like Matthew McConaughey and Robert Rodriguez. In addition, more than 50,000 thousand students make up a single friendly community with an internal social network. Another plus is the SSD program. First, students with disabilities can count on an adaptive learning process, comfortable classroom seating, and the ability to take tests remotely.

In addition, the university offers sign language interpreters, adaptive digital technologies, and city transfers. A special anonymous service is ready to accept student complaints or requests to reduce workload at any time. That is why this university is a friendly place where any student can gain knowledge, regardless of the state of his or her body.

6. College of Charleston

If you live in Charleston, this college can be a great place to study. It has a comfortable campus and a dorm for three thousand people. Many rooms are equipped to suit the needs of any person. If you're looking for a college for special needs, then this might be a good option. Plus, you can count on the Center for Disability Services. This means that any physical or psychological limitations will not become a barrier to education.

In addition, the SNAP program allows students to receive an adaptive education and a special approach from professors. In addition, the college offers scholarships. Students can count on an adaptive curriculum, the ability to pass exams in comfortable classrooms, and timely medical support. At the moment, more than a thousand students are participating in the SNAP program.

7. University of Connecticut

This university became one of the first in Connecticut to promote adaptive educational technologies. Since 1967, students can count on the program for the Physically Handicapped. This means that the university's territory and the campus are completely accessible for movement, and students with physical disabilities can use elevators and special platforms to get to any location. Modified ramps and sidewalks help overcome physical and psychological barriers.

Moreover, students can live in 11 accessible residence halls created specifically to help people with physical problems. All students with special needs can receive advisory support, the benefits of a digital CSDTech program, and access to convenient areas on campus for taking tests and exams.

8. Marist College

This is one of the best colleges for students with disabilities. People can take advantage of the LDSP program, which guarantees free and comfortable movement around the territory of the educational institution. In addition to ramps and elevators, the college provides personal assistants assigned to one or more people. As a rule, these are student volunteers who help people with disabilities to integrate into the community.

In addition, the college offers a digital workspace with a library, lectures, and hands-on exercises. Now students can use modern gadgets to pass tests and exams without being present in the classroom if necessary. In addition, many lecture halls are equipped with seating for people with special needs. This means that you will not experience discomfort even with an hour-long lecture.

9. Messiah College

If you live in Mechanicsburg, PA, Messiah College is the place to be. This educational institution can support up to 200 students with disabilities. According to the recently updated ADA standards, such students can count on comprehensive support and protection from moral pressure. Local psychologists are also ready to help everyone in need.

The college offers a comfortable dorm tailored for special needs. Also, students can count on a special infrastructure, note-taking assistance, and other services that help keep up with the educational process. A dedicated digital library and access to simplified tests will help make the education process accessible to everyone.

10. University of the Ozarks

It is one of the most prominent universities in Arkansas. Students can look forward to the Jones Learning program in addition to renowned professors and an excellent educational program. Here people with psychological and mental dysfunctions can get higher education. Students can count on the help of mentors, volunteers, and access to educational materials at any time. In addition, the university provides free peer tutors and notetakers.

All buildings of the university are equipped with ramps and elevators to ensure free movement for each student. JLP also offers a 24/7 hotline for anyone to ask for help. The university's primary goal is "to provide equal rights for every American to study."

Colleges for people with disabilities

11. Loras College

This is one of the best colleges for students with learning disabilities. Students can count on a three-tiered support system. This means that the educational institution offers access to the Lynch Learning Center, convenient dorm rooms, and assistants. Students can receive medical and psychological support. The campus is equipped with everything necessary to provide students with free movement.

In addition, volunteers help students with special needs take notes, search for data, and provide on-demand support. At the moment, more than 400 people can study in a friendly, adaptive environment and receive the same knowledge as the bulk of students.

12. California State University-Fullerton

This university is interesting due to the unique DSS service, which provides comprehensive assistance to people with disabilities. The first plus is access to digital data, free lawyers, a support center, and volunteer assistants. The second plus is an adaptive learning process to reduce the educational burden on students.

The university also has a CSUF league for athletes with disabilities. This means you can compete and practice your skills in baseball, basketball, rugby, and other sports. Every month the university organizes special meetings to improve conditions for people with disabilities. In addition, you can use the hotline for suggestions and requests if something goes wrong and you need outside help.

13. Augsburg College

One of the most important advantages of Augsburg College is the CLASS center. People with special needs can look forward to a comfortable place to live, grants and scholarships. In addition, many students receive mentors and volunteer assistants for better integration into the educational process. This means that everyone can count on equal rights and opportunities and compensation for transfer costs.

The college hosts annual concerts and entertainment shows for students and helps develop student talent. If you want to become a part of this educational institution, you can join one of the creative teams to create music, paintings, mechanisms, or blueprints. The college offers a variety of social activities.

14. West Virginia Wesleyan College

Here is another educational institution that can rightfully be considered one of the best colleges with learning disabled programs. It is worth noting that The Mentor Advantage Program aims to help students master the educational material. For example, some people may rely on private lessons, video lectures, and adaptive tests to develop professional skills.

In addition, the student support center includes a whole staff of psychologists, trainers, and rehabilitation therapists who can help people who are experiencing discomfort or stress from their injuries. A special laboratory and a specialized training center are designed for people in wheelchairs. The system of mutual learning implies integrating people with disabilities into the general educational framework if this is acceptable for their psyche.

15. Abilene Christian University

The university offers 200 scholarship programs annually that allow students with special needs to qualify for tutoring, private tutoring, support, and a comfortable place to live. In addition, a team of educators and psychologists helps to select an individual learning style that does not negatively affect the student's psyche.

All buildings and auditoriums are equipped with ramps, elevators, and comfortable platforms so that no one experiences restrictions or discomfort. SSS student support service helps with any legal or domestic problem. In addition, the university offers coaching services and adaptive classes to provide psychological support to students.

16. Alfred University

If you are looking to live in Alfred, a local university may be a good place to continue your education. One of the main advantages of this educational institution is the Center for Academic Success. This center helps students determine the academic workload and find the most convenient lecture and seminar audiences.

In addition, the university can provide you with a personal consultant, adaptive educational process, and dorm that will suit your needs. University representatives actively interact with the student community, helping to create a flexible education process that meets the needs of each newcomer. This is a good university for those who want to get a friendly atmosphere, support, and free access to knowledge.

17. Baylor University

It is one of the few universities offering tuition insurance and full access to the OALA program. People with special needs can count on a comfortable place to live, flexible education, and food. In addition, students can get help from a personal mentor. The University promotes equality of people regardless of physical ability.

In addition, the OALA center provides services of psychologists, trainers, and moral support. Students can also count on a comfortable infrastructure and affordable education prices. Adaptive exams and a progressive educational process are ensured by the availability of an online data warehouse for passing tests and interacting with professors.

18. Marshall University

You should know that this is one of the first universities in West Virginia to create the so-called HELP program. The main objective is to help students with ADHD and psychological dysfunctions integrate into the community and acquire the necessary level of knowledge. The university has a staff to make students feel comfortable.

In addition, there is a dorm and a dining room, which allows students not to worry about transfers and additional difficulties. The university offers a digital library, access to adaptive courses, and personalized student assistance. You can get a personal mentor and choose your daily workload to memorize important information.

19. University of Indianapolis

If you are planning to continue your studies in Indianapolis, then this university is for you. One of the main advantages of this educational institution is the BUILD program. The university offers equal rights for all students and the opportunity to choose individual support and an adaptive learning format.

All buildings are equipped with ramps and elevators to make it easier for students to move between classrooms. In addition, a dedicated team of teachers and a psychologist is ready to help students adapt to the educational process. The hotline is designed to respond to complaints and possible problems promptly.

20. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

This university has been offering a comfortable learning environment to all people with disabilities since 1972. Students can look forward to accessing digital libraries and an adaptive education curriculum. In addition, the university offers comfortable dorm and transfer options throughout the city. Another plus is the Project Assist program. This paid option offers additional access to a dedicated computer lab and training area with personal tutors. The university strives to expand options and opportunities for students with special needs every year.

Useful Tips for Future Students

Surely you would like to know what is the best to pay attention to first. Let's take a look at some tips that might be helpful to you. This is important, so be careful.

Look for Assistive Technologies

Earlier, you could already familiarize yourself with the basic criteria for choosing a college or university. However, these were basic recommendations. What if you have special needs? Then you should learn more about assistive technologies. Here are the most important aspects.

  1. Computer Mouse Alternatives. If you cannot hold your mouse for some reason, alternative gadgets will help you search for data to interact with your computer.
  2. Voice Recognition Software. Some people have problems with pronunciation or speech recognition. Special software helps to adapt and synchronize speech so that the professor and the student can understand each other.
  3. Eye Tracking Software. Some students cannot move, but this is not a reason to give up education. Choose educational institutions that support this technology. Then you can interact with professors even without words.
  4. Ability Switches. Some colleges and universities provide special rooms with buttons, gadgets, and switches that allow you to control computers and interact with professors under certain physical limitations of the body.


This is just a partial list of technologies that can make your life so much easier. However, you should pay attention to these four points, as not all colleges (and even universities) are ready to provide such technology. As a rule, you can see all the features of the educational process on the official websites.

Find Remote Education Programs

Remote education is becoming more and more popular, given the format of acquiring knowledge. Students do not need to attend an educational institution, lectures, and seminars. Instead, you can attend, for example, free online college math courses, watch videos, read lectures, and gain knowledge through live streaming. 

Not all colleges and universities are ready to provide this format of interaction with students. However, there are several options that you can find online. Some educational programs can be combined, so you still have to attend lectures or seminars. You should consider this aspect.

Check the Dorm and Transfer Options

Not all students can move freely without outside help. This is a big problem, especially considering the need to live in a new city. That is why you should check if the college or university has the necessary accommodation and food facilities. In addition, some dorms may be located far from campus, so you should think about transfers in advance. 

Usually, educational institutions offer bus transfers, which is a perfectly acceptable solution. Find out these nuances before choosing a place for education. Your comfort and well-being depend on this option. You can usually find up-to-date information on the official websites.

Tutor Is a Must

Pay attention to this aspect. Typically, tutors can help you with legal or household requests. Also, these people can help solve any issue related to the educational process. Look for universities and colleges that can provide you with this option. In some cases, it can be free, especially if you get a grant. However, even paid services can be quite relevant. However, most tutors are volunteers, so you don't have to worry about additional spendings.