2017 Top Online Schools for Students with Disabilities

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Of the 1,265 schools researched by SR Education Group, these 46 colleges represent the most disability-friendly online schools for providing the highest level of support, the widest breadth of accommodations, and the most comprehensive resources for students with disabilities. All schools on this list received a Disability-Friendly score greater than 50, receiving high marks in most, if not all, of the following categories: thoroughness of resources, Universal Design for Learning training, availability of distance learning accommodations, and variety of services provided. In addition to this list, we feature the top 14 online schools and the 24 most affordable online schools for students with disabilities.

View our methodology or learn more about SR Education Group.

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Comprehensive List of Disability-Friendly Accredited Online Schools (46)

School Annual Tuition Disability-Friendly Score
American University Annual Tuition $23,685 Disability-Friendly Score 59.89
Bristol Community College Annual Tuition $7,130 Disability-Friendly Score 87.89
Carnegie Mellon University Annual Tuition $19,200 Disability-Friendly Score 83.89
Cedarville University Annual Tuition $7,581 Disability-Friendly Score 61.33
Central Washington University Annual Tuition $19,710 Disability-Friendly Score 71.33
Chatham University Annual Tuition $24,870 Disability-Friendly Score 61.89
Cleveland State University Annual Tuition $4,374 Disability-Friendly Score 69.33
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Annual Tuition $7,962 Disability-Friendly Score 63.89
Endicott College Annual Tuition $11,168 Disability-Friendly Score 53.78
Florida State University Annual Tuition $21,633 Disability-Friendly Score 56.78
Hamline University Annual Tuition $7,684 Disability-Friendly Score 60.78
Humboldt State University Annual Tuition $8,970 Disability-Friendly Score 80.78
Lesley University Annual Tuition $13,800 Disability-Friendly Score 72.00
Madison Area Technical College Annual Tuition $4,351 Disability-Friendly Score 66.44
Normandale Community College Annual Tuition $4,952 Disability-Friendly Score 80.78
Northeast Community College Annual Tuition $4,284 Disability-Friendly Score 55.56
Northwestern University Annual Tuition $21,561 Disability-Friendly Score 64.78
Rochester Community and Technical College Annual Tuition $5,760 Disability-Friendly Score 80.44
Rochester Institute of Technology Annual Tuition $27,030 Disability-Friendly Score 87.22
Saint Joseph's University Annual Tuition $12,795 Disability-Friendly Score 59.00
Santa Barbara City College Annual Tuition $7,830 Disability-Friendly Score 78.11
Seton Hall University Annual Tuition $38,400 Disability-Friendly Score 64.78
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Annual Tuition $14,476 Disability-Friendly Score 55.33
Stanford University Annual Tuition $32,200 Disability-Friendly Score 96.67
Suffolk University Annual Tuition $24,608 Disability-Friendly Score 65.33
SUNY College of Technology at Canton Annual Tuition $16,320 Disability-Friendly Score 83.89
Syracuse University Annual Tuition $22,500 Disability-Friendly Score 63.89
Texas State University Annual Tuition $19,989 Disability-Friendly Score 82.78
Texas Tech University Annual Tuition $8,250 Disability-Friendly Score 86.78
University of Arizona Annual Tuition $15,190 Disability-Friendly Score 68.78
University of Arkansas Annual Tuition $7,203 Disability-Friendly Score 59.33
University of Colorado Boulder Annual Tuition $8,805 Disability-Friendly Score 58.78
University of Connecticut Annual Tuition $9,900 Disability-Friendly Score 89.89
University of Louisiana-Lafayette Annual Tuition $23,754 Disability-Friendly Score 88.78
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Annual Tuition $35,406 Disability-Friendly Score 50.78
The University of Montana Annual Tuition $9,840 Disability-Friendly Score 85.56
University of Nevada - Reno Annual Tuition $18,134 Disability-Friendly Score 64.78
University of North Carolina at Greensboro Annual Tuition $9,433 Disability-Friendly Score 72.78
University of North Carolina at Wilmington Annual Tuition $18,465 Disability-Friendly Score 67.00
University of North Georgia Annual Tuition $6,993 Disability-Friendly Score 64.78
University of Vermont Annual Tuition $39,120 Disability-Friendly Score 69.89
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Annual Tuition $16,576 Disability-Friendly Score 64.78
Utica College Annual Tuition $12,700 Disability-Friendly Score 88.78
Wayne State University Annual Tuition $29,503 Disability-Friendly Score 68.78
West Virginia University Annual Tuition $29,070 Disability-Friendly Score 73.33
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Annual Tuition $25,344 Disability-Friendly Score 59.33

Top 14 Online Schools for Students with Disabilities

These 14 online schools received the highest Disability-Friendly scores from the list above and are ranked by strength of score. The scores are 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.
  • Throughness 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.

You can read our full methodology here.

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  • Online Degrees: 46
  • Annual Tuition: $32,200
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 96.67
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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Stanford University's Diversity and Access Office provides a wealth of resources for students with varying types of disabilities. To accommodate distance learners, the university also implements a Web Accessibility Policy which states that all web applications must be accessible to all students with disabilities. Stanford University is dedicated to providing resources to foster the creation of accessible websites. To reach this goal, the university created the Stanford Online Accessibility Program (SOAP), which gives staff members access to tools to assist them in creating accessible online content. Staff resources include presentations on web accessibility and website reviews to determine accessibility issues. Online courses are delivered using the learning management system Canvas, which has many features that make it accessible to students. For instance, recorded videos have closed captioning, and students can ask to have recorded chat sessions captioned as well. Additionally, Canvas works with various types of screen readers. The university offers several fully online graduate degrees in engineering, including a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. The university also has several fully online graduate certificates, primarily in the fields of engineering and technology, such as the Advanced Software Systems Graduate Certificate and the Communication Systems Graduate Certificate.

Online Master's Degrees (15)

Online Certificate Programs (31)

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  • Online Degrees: 26
  • Annual Tuition: $9,900
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 89.89
  • Accreditation: NEASC CIHE
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To make online courses accessible, the University of Connecticut is part of the UDI Online project which gives teachers access to Universal Design instruction tools. Faculty members are provided with various tools and training methods to assist them in creating accessible online courses for students of all backgrounds. The university also offers accommodations to students with disabilities through its Center for Students with Disabilities. Services available include access to alternative textbook formats, such as audio books or Braille, test-taking accommodations, and early registration for classes. Those interested in pursuing online degree programs at the University of Connecticut can choose from a variety of graduate-level options. The university offers fully online degree programs as well as graduate certificates.

Online Master's Degrees (6)

Online Certificate Programs (20)

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  • Online Degrees: 25
  • Annual Tuition: $23,754
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 88.78
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The University of Louisiana-Lafayette delivers its online courses through the learning management system Moodle, which meets international standards for accessibility and has accessibility features such as compatibility with screen readers. Additionally, Moodle developers have expressed a commitment to improving the system's accessibility on a continual basis. The university's Office of Disability Services is also dedicated to making sure all university-related websites are accessible to all students, regardless of disabilities. In the past, the university has participated in conferences designed to teach faculty how to create accessible online learning experiences. Training at these conferences includes seminars on Universal Design, quality standards, and implementation. The university offers fully online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students can choose from graduate-level certificates, a doctoral degree, master's programs, and bachelor's degrees. Fields of study include kinesiology, nursing, and systems technology.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (5)

Online Master's Degrees (15)

Online Doctoral Degrees (2)

Online Certificate Programs (3)

  • Online Degrees: 35
  • Annual Tuition: $12,700
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 88.78
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Utica College offers resources for students with a variety of disabilities through its Office of Learning Services. Online students with disabilities are granted additional time to study and prepare for all tests within their program. Students can also request alternative textbook formats to better suit their learning needs. At Utica College, Foreign Language I & II is a core requirement in all programs. However, if students are unable to fulfill this requirement due to a disability, they can choose from an alternate list of courses that will make up six credit hours of study. Due to the nature of online programs, video lectures are a prevalent form of content delivery. Students who are deaf or experience hearing impairment can request captions on all of their video lectures. Utica College also offers a wide variety of support services that are available to all online students. These support services include the Office of Career Services, Office of Learning Services, Office of Student Success, and Tutorial Services. Students with disabilities can use these services at any time during their study if they feel like they need extra support. Online degree programs offered at Utica College range from undergraduate to graduate and include subjects such as nursing, cybersecurity, business administration, data science, financial crime, physical therapy, criminal justice, and liberal studies.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (9)

Online Master's Degrees (28)

Online Doctoral Degrees (1)

Online Certificate Programs (11)

  • Online Degrees: 8
  • Annual Tuition: $7,130
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 87.89
  • Accreditation: NEASC CIHE
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Bristol Community College’s Office of Disability Services provides learning and advocacy services to approximately 900 students with disabilities. The office offers a broad range of services to students regardless of disability including specialized support to students with psychological and learning disabilities, and to blind, deaf, or hard-of-hearing students. Some of the services available to students include extra testing time, recorded lectures, closed captioning, textbooks in alternative formats, and assistive technologies such as readers. In an effort to make education accessible to all students, the college also makes reasonable accommodations to its attendance policy for disability-related absences. Bristol community college offers nine fully online associate degree programs and two fully online certificate programs. Associate degree offerings include communications, general management, computer information systems with several specialty areas, general studies, and liberal arts and sciences. Certificate programs in law enforcement and computer programming round out the college's e-learning offerings.

  • Online Degrees: 38
  • Annual Tuition: $27,030
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 87.22
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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The Disability Services Office at Rochester Institute of Technology works to ensure that disabled students have full access to academic programs and support services. Online students should register with the office to receive accommodations such as textbooks in alternate formats. RIT Online instructors develop courses for inclusive delivery with guidance from Teaching and Learning Services (TLS), a division of the Innovative Learning Institute (ILI). TLS partners with Rochester faculty to improve course delivery using technology and emerging modes of instruction. TLS works with faculty to incorporate Universal Design for Learning principles into digital course materials. TLS guidance also includes ensuring that web-based course materials are accessible to students with disabilities. Online undergraduate students at Rochester can earn a bachelor’s degree in applied arts and science or applied technical leadership. Graduate level students can earn master’s degrees in fields such as business administration, health systems administration, and human resource development.

Online Associate Degrees (1)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (2)

Online Master's Degrees (16)

Online Certificate Programs (19)

  • Online Degrees: 80
  • Annual Tuition: $8,250
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 86.78
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Through its Student Disability Services department, Texas Tech University provides services to more than 2,000 students with various learning needs. The department monitors issues relevant to students with disabilities to ensure academic success. At its TECHniques Center, the university offers dedicated services to students with learning disabilities such as ADD, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders. Texas Tech also provides specialized services for veterans with disabilities. With respect to online learning, Texas Tech University makes every effort to ensure all e-learning and information technology is accessible to students with disabilities. Among the university’s six online bachelor’s degree programs, students can earn degrees in areas such as general studies, human sciences, and plant and soil sciences. Students ready for graduate school can earn a master’s degree in communications, education, horticulture, engineering, and English. Doctoral degree programs are available in higher education, systems and engineering management, and technical communication and rhetoric.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (9)

Online Master's Degrees (41)

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Online Doctoral Degrees (5)

Online Certificate Programs (25)

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  • Online Degrees: 23
  • Annual Tuition: $9,840
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 85.56
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
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The University of Montana's Disability Services for Students center provides a web-based platform so that online students can easily access important documents and information. Faculty members are provided with resources to help them create online classes and materials that are accessible to online students with disabilities. These benefits make it possible for students to participate in online courses. The university delivers its online classes through the learning management system Moodle, and the communication system Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Both systems have features that make them accessible to students with various disabilities. The university also takes part in the Montana Accessibility Interest Group, a group which meets in an online web conference once a month to discuss issues related to accessibility for University of Montana students with disabilities. Students who are interested in earning an online degree from the University of Montana can choose from undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as minors, and several certificate options. Undergraduate-level students can earn degrees such as an Associate Degree in Energy Technology or a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Graduate programs are available in subjects such as music education, public administration, public health, and curriculum studies.

  • Online Degrees: 21
  • Annual Tuition: $19,200
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 83.89
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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The Office of Disability Resources at Carnegie Mellon ensures that students have equal access to learning resources. Online students with long- and short-term disabilities who need accommodations for coursework should begin the process by contacting the office and providing the required documentation. The office also encourages students to share their Summary of Accommodations Memorandum with faculty early in the semester so that arrangements can be made as quickly as possible. The university uses Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure that students with disabilities can access web-based digital content required for their courses. Some WCAG standards implemented by Carnegie Mellon include captions for all multimedia as well as alternative text for digital content. The university’s Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation assists faculty and graduate assistants in designing course materials that meet WCAG standards.

Online Master's Degrees (19)

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Online Certificate Programs (2)

  • Online Degrees: 17
  • Annual Tuition: $16,320
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 83.89
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Online students at SUNY at Canton who have learning disabilities are able to take their exams outside the normal time provided for other students. Through SUNY's Accommodative Services hub, there are also a variety of tools available to online students with disabilities including the Kurzweil 3000. This equipment transforms textbook content into an audio format for students who experience visual disabilities. Another tool, the Franklin Med Spell and the Franklin Spelling Ace, helps students who struggle with vocabulary and writing. At SUNY Canton, online students also have access to tutoring. SUNY College of Technology at Canton offers a variety of online programs such as criminal justice, finance, business administration, and homeland security.

  • Online Degrees: 12
  • Annual Tuition: $19,989
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 82.78
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Through its Office of Disability Services, Texas State University offers a variety of services for distance education students with disabilities. Services include access to assistive and adaptive technologies as well as the chance to register for classes before general registration opens. Other accommodations include testing assistance and alternative delivery formats. Distance education programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. At the undergraduate level, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management. Those interested in earning an online graduate degree can choose from programs such as a Master of Social work, Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner, and a graduate certificate in Long-Term Care Administration.

  • Online Degrees: 15
  • Annual Tuition: $8,970
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 80.78
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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Humboldt State University participates in the Accessible Technology Initiative which mandates that all degree programs in the California State University system be accessible to all students. The initiative also provides resources to instructors through the Professional Development for Accessible Technology website. Beyond that, Humboldt also utilizes Universal Design and a quality assurance program which evaluates fully online courses to ensure that best practices are followed. Lastly, the Student Disability Resource Center provides support services to students with disabilities including access to assistive technologies, early registration, and alternative text forms such as Braille or audio books. Individuals interested in earning online degrees at Humboldt can choose from a few undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Fields of study include anthropology, social work, and leadership studies.

  • Online Degrees: 14
  • Annual Tuition: $5,760
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 80.44
  • Accreditation: NCA HLC
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The Disability Support Services office at Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) provides students with the support and accommodations needed to meet their educational goals. Online students can establish their eligibility for disability accommodations by completing an application and providing the office with documentation of their disability. The office also requires students to complete an intake interview and placement testing to determine appropriate support. To fulfill its mission, the Disability Support Services office complies with the provisions of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) to ensure that programs and services offered by RCTC are accessible to all students. Accommodations available to online students include early registration, extended time limits for tests, textbooks in alternative formats, and access to advising services.

  • Online Degrees: 33
  • Annual Tuition: $7,830
  • Disability-Friendly Score: 78.11
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
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Santa Barbara City College provides faculty with the support necessary to help students with disabilities achieve their education goals. Through its Disabled Student Programs and Services department, the college aims to empower students to achieve independence through education. To prepare students for academic success, the college provides counseling and assessments designed to give students an opportunity to discuss their disabilities and online education needs with a qualified professional. The broad range of services and technology available to students with disabilities include audio lectures, testing accommodations, and learning materials in various formats such as Braille, large print, and audio books. Voice recognition, speech output, and screen enlargers are also available for students with specific needs. Online students with disabilities can benefit from a range of resources such as tutoring, access to the college’s online library and resource center, and specialized exam proctoring.

Online Associate Degrees (13)

Online Certificate Programs (20)

References

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