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Our Research

To narrow down our list of disability-friendly colleges, we took several factors into account, including cost, delivery format, and credits required to graduate. We also considered whether they have specific initiatives or programs to support students with physical or learning disabilities.

Another factor to consider when comparing colleges is accreditation status. We’ve made sure to only list schools that are accredited by a reputable institution, such as the Higher Learning Commission, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Their role is to confirm that a school offers high-quality academic programs and that credits can be transferred between learning institutions.

  • 25 hours to write this article
  • 76 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 151 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Best Disability-Friendly Colleges

Best Disability-Friendly Colleges Badge
Intelligent Pick
Augsburg University
Best Regional Public University, Midwest
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Best Regional University, South
Nicholls State University
Best Christian Institution
Messiah University
Best Liberal Arts Institution
McDaniel College
Best Private University, Northeast
Lesley University
Best Large Public Institution, Midwest
University of Michigan
Best Private Research Institution, Northeast
Northeastern University
Best Public Institution, Northeast
University of Connecticut
Most Innovative Small University
College of Charleston
Best Large Public Institution, Southwest
University of Arizona
Best Small Public University for Art
Edinboro University
Best Catholic Institution
DePaul University
Best for Hospitality
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Best Large Public Institution, West
University of Southern California
Best for Service Learning
Xavier University
Best Public Graduate School
The University of Texas at Austin
Best Value
Marshall University
Best for Vets
Marist College
Best for Community Engagement
Ball State University
Best Online University
University of Florida
Best Small Catholic Liberal Arts College
Loras College
Best for Biblical Studies
Abilene Christian University
Best for Criminal Justice
University of the Ozarks
Best for Networking
Pennsylvania State University
Best for Physics
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Best for Studying Abroad
University of Denver
Best Presbyterian Option
Schreiner University
Best for Criminology
Southern Illinois University
Best for Return on Investment
Hofstra University
Best for Journalism
University of Missouri
Best Career Services
Adelphi University
Most Customizable
Colorado State University
Most Innovative Large University
Arizona State University
Best Small Regional College, South
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Best for Law
University of California, Berkeley
Best for Fine Arts
Alfred University
Best for Aviation
Baylor University
Best Tech School
Georgia Institute of Technology
Best for Transfer
Missouri State University
Best No-SAT University
Texas Tech University
Best Small Regional College, North
SUNY Cortland
Best for Public Health
Indiana University Bloomington
Best for an Affordable MBA
Arkansas State University
Best Large Public Institution, South
Texas State University
Best Medical School
Florida State University
Best Faculty
Stanford University
Best for Natural Sciences
Humboldt State University
Best for Internships
Rochester Institute of Technology
Best Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of Indianapolis

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What You Should Know About Disability-Friendly Colleges

Colleges can’t turn you down for having a disability, and you don’t have to disclose your disability status if you don’t want to. According to the U.S. Department of Education, postsecondary schools must make appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities, including providing accessible housing at the same price they charge other students. Of course, if you don’t disclose your disability, you won’t be able to request accommodations or academic adjustments.

Not all schools offer the same level of support. As many as 20% of undergraduates in the U.S. report having a disability, but the support they receive can vary widely from one institution to another. Common adjustments include assistive listening devices, sign language interpreters, and testing accommodations.

Some colleges encourage professors to follow Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) guidelines, which can help make learning materials as accessible as possible. For example, a lecture could be delivered in multiple formats, with both a written transcript and an audio recording. This saves students with disabilities from having to request accessible materials from every instructor. Other schools offer online learning portals that make it easy to view course materials.

What’s Next?

Applying to college can be a stressful experience for anyone, but choosing a disability-friendly college can add more steps to the process. Here are a few things to consider as you compare your options:

  • Get an evaluation. Each school can set its own documentation standards, but you’ll typically need some form of evaluation if you want to request accommodations for your disability. This could include reports from a medical doctor or psychologist. Students usually have to pay for this out of pocket, but you may qualify for services through a vocational rehabilitation agency. You can look up your state’s agency on the Rehabilitation Services Administration website.
  • Visit the campus. It’s always a good idea to visit a college in person, but this is especially important if you have a physical disability that requires mobility aids. Ensure that there are sufficient elevators and pathways, that the campus isn’t too large to get around, and that the dorms, cafeteria, and other facilities are ADA accessible.
  • Direct any questions to the Office of Disability Services. Every disability-friendly college should have an Office of Disability Services whose job is to facilitate accommodations and help students with disabilities advocate for themselves in the classroom and on campus. They will be able to give you specific insights into what services are available and help you determine if this is the right college for you. If possible, ask another student with a similar disability how well they are treated by their peers and professors.
  • Request an accommodation on college entrance exams. Before you begin applying to colleges, make sure that you’ve received appropriate accommodations on your standardized tests. Most admissions exams, including the SAT, offer accommodations to eligible students, but you may need to submit a request up to two months in advance. Visit the College Board website to learn more.