disability-friendly colleges

The Best Disability-Friendly Colleges Ranked – We Need More Accessibility

College Choices Disability-Friendly Colleges Ranked

College Choice has released its annual ranking of the most disability-friendly colleges and universities in the United States.

Schools on this list have gone beyond the minimum legal standard described in the ADA and Vocational Rehabilitation Act. These schools consider the needs of students with cognitive, physical, and psychiatric disabilities. They also account for the need of mobility accommodations, alternative transportation, the use of service animals, counseling, and more. The rankings are based on exceeding minimum legal accessibility requirements, student satisfaction, academic reputation, return on investment, affordability, and average financial aid awarded.

Above all, the list contains schools of all sizes including the top-ranked University of Michigan and eighth-ranked Marist College.

We need more disability-friendly colleges

People with disabilities make up about a fifth of the U.S. population. However, the education system has let people with disabilities down. Over four-fifths of people with disabilities do not have a college education. This is concerning, neglectful, and damaging.

According to the Unites States Department of Labor’s 2014 statistics, only 16.4 percent of people with disabilities aged 25 and older received a bachelor’s Degree or higher. Moreover, approximately 25 percent of people with disabilities aged 25 and older attended some college or associate degree, classes. More concerning, 36.8 percent of people with disabilities aged 25 and older graduated high school but did not attend college and 21.3 percent did not graduate high school at all.

In 2014, the Huffington Post published an article discussing how students with disabilities get stuck trying to get a degree. Few colleges provide the accessibility that students with disabilities need. As a result, lack of accessibility is a major reason why many students with disabilities don’t graduate or even attend university.

The article claims that 80 percent of high school students with disabilities name graduating from college as a personal goal. However, only 60 percent actually enroll.

Some universities might view accessibility and accommodation for students with disabilities as a hassle or an extra cost. But the reality is students with disabilities require and deserve the same quality education as students without disabilities. We need more disability-friendly colleges.

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Josh Appel
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