What are the best colleges with support and accommodations for students with learning disabilities? Here are some of the top schools for supporting learning differences in the US, and some other pointers on the best colleges for students with learning disabilities!
In recent years, more is being discovered and understood when it comes to learning disabilities in our students. And it’s a good thing too since over 4 million students live with one or more learning disabilities in the United States alone.
With the number of children with learning disabilities such as ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, and more, it’s become even more vital to support these unique needs. There have been considerable strides in access and support for kids with learning disabilities, particularly in primary and secondary school. But is the same true for post-secondary?
We’re happy to say that there are some truly phenomenal learning disability-friendly colleges across the United States! These schools are not only improving access to higher education, but they’re also pioneering new learning and teaching styles to help students from all backgrounds.
So, what makes a school a top college for students with learning disabilities? If you deal with dyslexia, ADHD, or one of the many other learning disabilities faced by so many students, it only makes sense to choose a college with accommodations in mind. So how can you tell if a college is good at supporting students who learn differently?
The first thing that might come to mind is academic support. While this is an important part of ensuring you succeed at school, it shouldn’t be the only thing you look for! Here are some other things to consider when applying for colleges with a learning disability:
Like the SALT Center in Arizona or the Learning Resource Program at Adelphi, many schools offer specialized support for those with learning disabilities. The extent of these services can vary quite a bit, so do your research to see which ones have the support you need.
Hand-in-hand with academic support is ensuring the schools you’re considering have programs that are a good fit! We learn best when we’re interested in the material, so this is a great way to get set up for success from the outset.
When you’ve found an interesting program, look at the graduation requirements. What level of English class will you need to complete? How about math or science? Look into this to ensure you’re not surprised by unexpected requirements!
Do some research on colleges to see if their social atmospheres are right for you! Whether you’re looking for a more active social scene to help make new friends or something more reserved to allow for better focus, the social environment can make a big difference in your success at school.
For many students with learning disabilities, location is crucial. Proximity to off-campus resources like tutoring and counseling can be essential. Many students also prefer to be close enough to home for semi-regular visits. And for some, the environment is important too – whether they prefer a busy urban atmosphere or a quiet rural one.
College rankings play a significant role in the higher education landscape, offering valuable information to students and parents seeking guidance in their college selection process.
These rankings assess and compare institutions based on various criteria, such as academic reputation, faculty qualifications, and graduation rates. For students and parents, rankings serve as a starting point to identify prestigious or academically strong colleges, aiding in informed decision-making.
Institutions, on the other hand, benefit from higher rankings by attracting more applicants, faculty, and donors, enhancing their reputation and resources. However, it's crucial to acknowledge the limitations of rankings, including their subjectivity and potential to distort institutional priorities.
As such, rankings should be used as one of many factors when evaluating colleges, with personal fit and individual goals remaining paramount in the decision-making process.
As any student applying for colleges can tell you, there’s a lot to factor in when making your choice. Not only do you want to ensure they offer programs you’re interested in, you’ll also want to ensure the school culture, social atmosphere, and professional reputation line up with your priorities.
When going to college with a learning disability, it becomes even more vital to be confident in your choice of school. After all, you want to ensure your needs are supported throughout your years of education. So what are the top colleges that help with learning disabilities?
The amazing Beacon College, located in Florida, is at the top of this list. Unlike other schools, which may offer programs and other accommodations in addition to their regular programs, Beacon College is solely intended for students with learning disabilities.
Every part of the learning process at Beacon College is based on supporting the needs of students who need it most! Beacon offers several benefits to help people with learning disabilities, including:
Another great advantage of Beacon College is the flexibility of its programs. They offer bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, and the accommodating environment helps students thrive and succeed as they pursue their education.
Beacon College is a fantastic option for students who want to ensure they’re well-supported throughout their studies. With that said, the tuition is higher than some other schools – averaging $44,850 per year. Beacon Hill does offer a fair amount of financial aid options, which can be a big help with access for many students.
Though not solely for students with learning disabilities, Adelphi University is a fantastic choice thanks to its many support programs. Two in particular, the Bridges to Adelphi Program and the Learning Resources Program, are fantastic offerings for students with learning disabilities.
Bridges to Adelphi is designed to help neurodiverse college students from all backgrounds and situations adjust to the transition to post-secondary. They support people on the autism spectrum, people with non-verbal disorders, auditory processing issues, and other challenges. Benefits of the Bridges to Adelphi Program include:
The Adelphi Learning Resource Program is an older offering. It was created for students with ADHD, language processing disorders, or other learning challenges such as dyslexia in 1979, at a time when learning disabilities were barely understood, let alone accommodated for. The Learning Resource Program offers:
There’s a lot on offer between these programs at Adelphi University for students with learning disabilities. Tuition is comparable to other specialized institutions, coming in at $42,090 for an average year. Adelphi also offers both need and merit-based financial aid, with 72% of first-year students receiving need-based aid in 2019.
Similar to Beacon College, Landmark College is designed exclusively for neurodiverse students and people with learning disabilities. Whereas other schools offer support services as an optional add-on for students who need them, Landmark prides itself on integrating these principles into the entire college experience.
Every part of Landmark College’s education process centres around those who learn differently, and the results have been amazing for countless people! Students learn to balance their academics, social life, and career, build relationships with friends, create learning strategies, and build the skills they need to thrive.
Not only are Landmark students treated as individuals with their own unique needs by academic support services, Landmark’s faculty considers them in classroom instruction, course curriculum, and more. Landmark College also offers:
Landmark College is one of the best possible options for the utmost support and some of the country’s foremost learning disability research. Tuition is on the higher side (about $76,680), but this is understandable considering the sheer amount of resources on offer.
As a high-ranking school in the United States and beyond, the University of Arizona has been well-recognized since its founding in 1885. But did you know that it’s also a great college for students with learning disabilities and other challenges?
The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center is a program that supports students with a wide range of learning disabilities. The transition to college can feel scary at the best of times, which is even more true for students with learning differences.
The SALT Center supports students as they make this crucial transition, working closely with students to help them develop the hard and soft skills they need to thrive in college and beyond. The SALT Center offers several outstanding services, such as:
Although the University of Arizona doesn’t offer entire programs designed for students with learning disabilities, the SALT Center significantly lowers the barrier to access. Having support such as this available can make all the difference for students pursuing higher education despite learning disabilities or other obstacles.
Tuition for Arizona residents is relatively low, at $12,716. Costs are higher for non-residents, with an average tuition of $36,743. Depending on your specific needs for accommodation, this could be well worth it! It is also important to note that financial help is within reach, with almost 90% of students receiving some in their first year.
Hofstra University offers the Program for Academic Learning Skills (PALS) to support students with a range of learning disabilities. The PALS program was founded thirty years ago with the goal of providing students with ADD, ADHD, and other impairments with a specialist tutor for the entire duration of their degree at Hofstra.
The program requires a one-time fee, and allows students to meet with an experienced specialist who is capable of teaching students with all types of unique learning styles and academic goals.
UNC Chapel Hill offers an excellent, well-known learning center at their school. The center offers coaching groups, workshops, STEM support, and ADHD/LD support through one-on-one coaching and peer tutoring. Their coaches help with the following areas:
If you’re considering UNC-Chapel Hill and are living with a learning impairment, consider setting up a session with one of their coaches to ask about what services they can offer you.
Marshall University offers the Higher Education for Learning Problems (HELP) center for students with ADHD, ADD, and a range of learning disabilities. The HELP center was founded by Dr. Barbara Guyer in 1981, who is a widely recognized learning disability and education specialist.
The HELP Center at Marshall requires a fee for use across its eight divisions and programs. Each of the programs at HELP is developed and administered by specialist coordinators and experts in learning disabilities, education, psychology, and counseling in order to offer unique, comprehensive services to each student.
The University of Iowa’s REACH Program is tailored for students with intellectual, cognitive, and learning disabilities, providing a unique path to a "big 10" university experience.
Lasting two, three, or four years, it offers specialized academic skill building, small group instruction, hands-on learning, dedicated support staff, and opportunities to take UI courses with assistance.
Importantly, there are no extra costs beyond standard tuition and fees, making quality education and independent living skills accessible to all. This program exemplifies the university's commitment to inclusive higher education.
The University of Denver’s Learning Effectiveness Program offers crucial support for students with learning disabilities. This includes one-on-one academic counseling, subject-specific tutoring, time management help, and social skill-building resources.
They also provide peer mentoring to accommodate different learning needs. While the program has a per-quarter fee, it ensures students receive essential support to excel academically and develop life skills.
The University of Connecticut offers robust support for students with learning disabilities through the Beyond Access Program (BAP). BAP provides one-on-one training with Strategy Instructors (SIs) to enhance skills like time management, study techniques, stress management, self-advocacy, and more.
Students can choose from four program levels based on their needs, with the program fee determined by the hours spent with their SI. This flexibility ensures tailored support for academic and personal growth.
LDP participants meet twice a week with dedicated specialists to enhance their academic and life skills. These specialists also guide students toward other available on-campus resources, including subject-specific tutoring, to ensure comprehensive support.
It's important to note that there are additional fees associated with enrollment in the LDP. These fees contribute to the program's sustainability and the provision of essential resources, making it possible for students with learning disabilities to access tailored support at Northeastern University.
East Carolina University's STEPP (Supporting Transition and Education Through Planning and Partnerships) Program in Greenville, NC, provides comprehensive support to students with learning disabilities.
It begins with pre-college preparation, including:
The program accepts ten students annually and does not charge additional fees, ensuring accessible support for academic and personal success.
DePaul University houses the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), a specialized department dedicated to meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.
The CSD at DePaul offers various accommodations for students and provides access to a Learning Specialist Clinician for academic support. While CSD accommodations are free, there's a fee for using the Learning Specialist Clinician, ensuring tailored support for DePaul University students.
Fairleigh Dickinson University's Regional Center for Learning Disabilities offers valuable support for students. This includes weekly meetings with learning specialists, counseling sessions, technological assistance, and priority registration. Freshmen in the program take a two-semester, credited metacognitive strategies course to enhance their skills.
Importantly, many of these services come at no additional cost to students, with the exception of the extra course, which is covered by regular tuition fees. This ensures that students receive comprehensive support to excel academically while managing their costs effectively.
Bellevue College offers the Occupational and Life Skills (OLS) program, designed for adult students with learning disabilities. This unique program includes classroom instruction in topics like workplace problem-solving and personal finance, along with a 200-hour internship at a local business.
Remarkably, 85% of OLS graduates secure employment. Importantly, there are no extra fees beyond regular tuition, making this program accessible for those seeking to acquire valuable skills and launch their careers.
The Learning Services Program (LSP) at American University provides valuable support for eligible students. Participants benefit from weekly individual meetings with a program coordinator or counselor, including summer consultations for course registration and selection.
Based in the Academic Support and Access Center, the LSP provides valuable benefits, including:
Importantly, the LSP is a one-year program with a single fee, ensuring dedicated support for a successful college transition.
Curry College's Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) is designed for students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. PAL offers specialized learning strategies, referrals to advisers, and technical support alongside regular coursework. To apply, students submit a separate application.
The program cost depends on the number of PAL classes chosen during the four-year degree program, ensuring tailored support for academic success.
The Center of Learning and Accessible Student Services (CLASS) at Augsburg College is a valuable resource for students needing assistance.
Staffed with disability specialists, CLASS offers a range of services, including:
Most notably, the majority of these services come at no extra cost to students, ensuring accessibility and support. However, it's worth noting that there might be additional fees for access to specific Assistive Technology software programs, providing tailored assistance to meet the diverse needs of Augsburg College students.
The Learning Differences Program (LDP) goes beyond standard accommodations to offer two additional options for students. The Summer PASS Program helps students transition into college, while the Academic Advantage Program (AAP) provides ongoing academic support.
It's important to note that both the AAP and Summer PASS Programs have associated fees for counseling services and coursework. These programs provide tailored support to enhance students' academic experiences beyond the usual accommodations available at the school.
The Bentsen Learning Center (BLC) specializes in academic support for students with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.
With three levels of support, it offers tailored services such as:
Fees vary depending on the level of support needed each semester, ensuring personalized assistance for students with diverse needs.
More questions about applying for colleges with a learning disability? Here’s everything you need to know!
Absolutely! Between increased understanding of learning disabilities and commitments from many schools to accommodate the needs of students, success is well within reach.
Succeeding in college with a learning disability can be challenging, but with the proper accommodations, you’ll have a higher likelihood of success! The more research you do to find a school that can provide the support you need, the more likely you are to thrive.
Disclosing a learning disability can help you get into the college of your dreams! We recommend putting information about your learning challenges on your application, including your diagnosis and its impacts on your academic career.
When paired with an application that stands out, listing your academic challenges can help. Not only does mentioning learning disabilities help you find a school with the right support systems, but it also shows that you’re a determined, ambitious person who can overcome obstacles!
No two students have the same college experience. And for those with learning disabilities, it can look even more different. Many of these students thrive, largely due to school support services, coaching on learning strategies, and a strong social network of loved ones.
Yes! Beacon College was the first-ever American college to be certified to offer degrees for students with learning disabilities.
Beacon College’s dedication to supporting all kinds of learners, combined with its world-class student resources, makes it one of the top schools for students with learning differences in North America .
Sadly, post-secondary institutions are not mandated to accommodate student learning challenges. That’s why doing your research ahead of time and inquiring about support, among other important factors is so important!
Unfortunately, getting support for a learning disability in college can sometimes mean higher fees. As mentioned, schools that are renowned for great learning support tend to have above-average tuition.
And while many schools incorporate accommodations in their regular tuition fees, additional costs may be required for this, such as fees for doctor appointments and documentation.
Costs associated with learning accommodations can be a barrier for many students, so it’s a good idea to factor in grants, scholarships, and other financial aid options when choosing your college.
If you struggle with ADHD like so many people across the globe today, you may want to consider colleges that have learning center resources specifically for people who learn differently.
In the US, an increasing number of schools are becoming aware of this widespread issue and have adjusted accordingly, such as Beacon College (FL), Adelphi University (NY), and Landmark College (AZ) to name a few.
Because ADHD is such an increasingly common condition, many schools across the US offer help for students who struggle with ADD, ADHD, and other learning impairments. Some examples are Landmark College, the University of Arizona, and Adelphi University.
To secure grants for learning disabilities at US public colleges, explore federal and state aid, college resources, private organizations, local foundations, and employer assistance. Utilize online scholarship search engines and check specific criteria and deadlines. Contact your prospective college's financial aid office for tailored resources.
It’s clear that a lot of work goes into choosing a college for students with learning disabilities. And while it can sometimes feel like a challenging decision, remember that it’s all for a good reason.
Today, there’s no reason that students with learning disabilities can’t pursue education, build essential skills, thrive, and succeed in their life. Often, all it takes is a little support as students find their footing and become the people they’re meant to be!
From researching different programs, considering the social environment of a school, to finding great accommodations that will meet your needs, many aspects factor into choosing a college as a student with a learning disability. It’s important to set yourself up for success wherever possible, and choosing the right college is a great way to start!