2019 Best Online Schools for Students with Disabilities

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/9/2020
2019 Best Online Colleges for Students with Disabilities Badge

These schools are the most disability-friendly online colleges of 2019. These schools earned this designation because of their commitment to making online programs accessible through Universal Design for Learning (UDL) training and compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These schools also have at least five percent of the student body made up of students with documented disabilities. Because disabilities can take many forms and impact individuals differently, we've separated our disability-friendly schools into three different lists:

Learning Disabilities | Auditory Disabilities | Visual Disabilities

In addition to these lists, we feature the most affordable online schools for students with learning disabilities. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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Best Online Colleges for Students With Learning Disabilities (36)

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Level

Florida Atlantic University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,224
  • Locations: Boca Raton (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Students With Disabilities: 5%

A public university in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has five additional satellite campuses around the state. The university’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS) has offices at the main location and in Davie and Jupiter, and these services are also available to students attending online or at any of the campus locations. SAS ensures that all students have equal access to classroom instruction as well as the university community in general. Assistive technology (along with training), priority registration, material in accessible formats and other accommodations are provided to those with physical, visual and hearing impairments. FAU offers a variety of online undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Online coursework is delivered via the Canvas learning management system, which provides a disability-friendly environment for students who are learning online.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

  • Annual Tuition: $52,788
  • Locations: Ann Arbor (MI)
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Students With Disabilities: 6%

Established in 1817, the University of Michigan is Michigan’s oldest institution of higher learning. Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) works to ensure academic success for students with disabilities by providing appropriate disability-friendly accommodations. Such provisions include an adaptive technology computing site, academic coaching, text-to-speech services, special testing accommodations, transit services, videophones, sign language interpreters and equipment and material loans (such as amplifiers, portable transmitters, recorders, talking calculators, Braille material, assistive learning devices and laptop computers). The university offers multiple programs and more than 100 courses online as well as “Teach-Outs,” free and open online learning events where participants all over the world can listen to experts and interact with one another. Every effort is made to ensure equal opportunity and accessibility to students with disabilities who are learning online.

The University of Montana

  • Annual Tuition: $20,378
  • Locations: Missoula (MT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Students With Disabilities: 13%

The University of Montana’s (UM) Disability Services for Students ensures a disability-friendly environment and equal access to university programs for all students. Accessible technology services are available, and the university provides training and consulting for electronic documents, software, media, websites and other materials. Captioning and transcription services are available as well. UM offers several degree programs online, including an Associate of Applied Science in Energy Technology, a Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts, and a Master of Public Health. The institution strives to provide a positive, practical and comfortable learning environment for online students with disabilities.

Wayne State University

  • Annual Tuition: $17,143
  • Locations: Detroit (MI)
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Students With Disabilities: 5%

A public university headquartered in Detroit, Wayne State University (WSU) offers more than 350 programs to a student enrollment of more than 2,700. Student Disability Services (SDS) provides academic accommodations as well as resources and training in assistive technology. Disability-friendly accommodations include alternate testing environments, interpretive/CART reporting, materials in alternate formats, assistive technology and use of SDS study rooms. WSU offers several degree programs — bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral — fully online, as well as a number of certificate programs and many online courses. The institution recently switched to the Canvas learning management system to deliver online coursework. This system has many built-in features and capabilities that both instructors and students with disabilities can utilize to make online learning accessible and productive.

Best Online Colleges for Students With Auditory Disabilities (30)

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Level

Auburn University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,445
  • Locations: Auburn (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Students With Disabilities: 6%

Auburn University’s Office of Accessibility works with students with disabilities to eliminate barriers to education and implement reasonable accommodations. Academic accommodations, access to assistive technology training, and support services are provided. For online students, coursework is delivered via the Canvas learning management system. Canvas is screen-reader compatible and includes keyboard shortcuts for students with limited mobility. It also allows instructors to grant extra time for quizzes and tests and has many other features that are designed for students with disabilities. The Office of Accessibility sees to it that assistive technologies, accessible instructional materials, captioning, Braille, and web accessibility are available to all students with disabilities. Technology assistance includes various screen readers, Dragon Naturally Speaking speech-to-text software, ZoomText screen enlargement software, and Livescribe Pens for note taking.

Stanford University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,280
  • Locations: Stanford (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC
  • Students With Disabilities: 14%

Stanford University’s Diversity and Access Office ensures the school's facilities and programs meet all federal, state and local laws regarding equal access for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, Stanford has developed the Stanford Online Accessibility Program (SOAP), which ensures web content is available and accessible to all students. Disability-friendly measures are available to both online and on-campus students, including assistive technology (such as a laptop or recording device), instructional strategies, extended time to complete the degree, altered attendance requirements, specific training, and adaptive equipment at the fitness and aquatic centers. Text Telephone (TTY) and California Relay Service (CRS) resources are available for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Washington State University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,329
  • Locations: Pullman (WA)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Students With Disabilities: 7%

The Access Center at Washington State University provides accommodations and services to students with disabilities, as well as students with psychological and medical conditions. Every effort is made to provide the same accommodations to online students. Learning accommodations include reduced-distraction testing environments, extended time for tests and exams, access to lecture material, and assistive technology. For blind or low-vision students, Braille and audio format materials can be provided. Accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing include interpreting, real-time transcription services, and notetaking services. Testing accommodations include readers, scribes, screen readers, screen magnifiers and other assistive technology. Additionally, printed materials can be provided in other formats and priority registration is offered. WSU offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as non-degree options and teaching endorsements.

Best Online Colleges for Students With Visual Disabilities (38)

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Level
School Annual Tuition Students with Disabilities
$14,445 6%
$8,984 8%
$18,216 5%
$7,032 10%
$14,280 8%
$6,876 5%
$10,224 5%
$20,097 9%
$11,250 18%
$16,512 14%
$7,622 8%
$13,131 7%
$11,550 6%
$15,446 5%
$20,250 10%
$5,125 7%
$15,105 9%
$19,290 5%
$36,080 7%
$44,794 9%
$5,041 7%
$20,250 10%
$14,549 8%
$20,280 14%
$27,854 9%
$10,290 11%
$18,445 7%
$28,935 12%
$14,460 10%
$8,100 6%
$20,378 13%
$17,694 8%
$9,262 6%
$24,930 10%
$10,395 6%
$11,329 7%
$31,497 5%
$9,450 15%

Colorado State University-Fort Collins

  • Annual Tuition: $14,280
  • Locations: Fort Collins (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Students With Disabilities: 8%

At Colorado State University, the Student Disability Center works with students who have physical or learning disabilities, as well as students who have chronic physical or mental illnesses. Every effort is made to provide the same accommodations for online students. Additionally, the university uses the Canvas learning management system to deliver coursework to online students. The Canvas system is compatible with screen readers and includes keyboard shortcuts, extra time for quizzes and tests, and has many other features that are designed for students with disabilities. Some flexibility may be negotiated with individual instructors regarding attendance because of a disability. Substitution for courses may be allowed in order to meet specific requirements.

Florida State University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,097
  • Locations: Tallahassee (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Students With Disabilities: 9%

At Florida State University, the Student Disability Resource Center serves as an advocate for FSU students with disabilities and ensures that reasonable accommodations are provided. These include extended time on tests, use of peer note takers, reduced distraction testing environments, and use of adaptive technologies. For online courses, FSU delivers course material via the Canvas learning management system, which is compatible with screen readers and includes keyboard shortcuts. Canvas also lets instructors grant extra time for quizzes and tests, and has many other features that are designed for students with disabilities. Also included are provisions for American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation; reduced course load; assistive technology tools, including CCTV, digital recorders, laptops, smartpens, talking book devices and talking calculators; transportation; and special housing accommodations.

Shoreline Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,041
  • Locations: Shoreline (WA)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Students With Disabilities: 7%

Located just 10 miles from Seattle in Shoreline, Shoreline Community College provides many programs and accommodations for students with disabilities through its Student Accessibility Services. Some of these disability-friendly provisions are priority registration, special testing accommodations, adaptive equipment, note-taking assistance, referrals for tutoring, materials in alternate formats, referrals for counseling services and referrals for learning disability assessment. Shoreline Virtual Campus offers more than 25 online degree and certificate programs, and the Canvas learning management system provides both students with disabilities accommodations such as extended time for tests, interpreting and transcribing, alternate text formats, captions for videos and accessible web content. Some computer operating systems allow screen readers to be used with Canvas.

References

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