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Disability-Friendly Scores were determined using several data points that are indicative of inclusivity and awareness of students who have disabilities. Schools were assessed across several categories and assigned scores based on performance. Each category’s scores were then weighted based on relative importance and combined with the other category scores to determine an overall Disability-Friendly score. These categories include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Types of Services Provided: Schools receive high marks in this category for providing services for the hearing-, visually-, and speech-impaired, as well as offering comprehensive services for those with learning disabilities.
  • Thoroughness of Online Resources: Schools receive high marks in this category for clearly and thoroughly explaining processes and available services, for providing multiple resources including ones specific to distance-learning students, addressing common concerns and questions, and providing the contact information faculty advisors.
  • Universal Design for Learning Training: UDL is the gold standard for ensuring accessible learning experiences. While faculty training does not ensure that these principles are implemented, it is an indicator that the school is aware of issues regarding accessibility and is working to improve learning environments. Schools receive high marks in this category if faculty training is required.

Annual tuition numbers for these schools were manually researched and represent the bachelor's degree level if the school offers at least one online bachelor's degree or the master's degree level if the school offers at least one master's degree and no online bachelor's degrees. Out-of-state tuitions were used unless in-state tuition is offered to all online students. Tuition was calculated assuming full-time status. Unless otherwise stated, bachelor’s programs were assumed to require four years to complete and master’s programs were assumed to require two years.

To be considered for this list, schools must offer 4 or more online degrees or 10 or more online programs including certificates.

Fully Online Status

Schools with programs that require some on-campus coursework were still considered for our rankings if the amount of in-person work was limited to less than two weeks worth of in-person requirements. This allows students to retain their current employment or other personal responsibilities.

Data Sources

The data used to determine the Disability-Friendly score was collected from schools' official websites, the College Board school database, and the National Center for Education Statistics. The NCES is the primary governmental entity for gathering and presenting data related to education. The NCES data is updated annually as soon as it becomes available. The NCES does not release data into downloadable formats until it has been approved, so the most currently available data will not be for the most recent academic year.

Program data including available degrees, tuition rates, and details about program coursework were collected from schools' official websites, reflecting data for the 2017-2018 school year. Programmatic accreditation and profit status of schools were collected from official websites of the accreditation agencies or from the National Center for Education Statistics.


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