Finding the right college or university is a challenging task for every student, but for those students with learning disabilities, the additional considerations that go into choosing the right school can make it even more overwhelming for them and their families. For those students who have had a 504 or IEP plan during high school, there are colleges and universities that have programs that can be helpful - and in many cases, essential - to the their success in school.
For students who need extra support during college, there are schools that offer a variety of programs that include everything from one-on-one counseling to study groups. Finding the program that fits your student's needs, along with a college environment that will keep him happy and motivated, can take a lot of thought and investigation. Parents must be a part of the decision making process.
Having a 504 or IEP plan in place is, for the most part, essential for admission to these programs. If your child does not have one, it's important to get that done when he begins high school to facilitate the accommodations he will need in college.
Especially important for students with disabilities is becoming their own best advocate. Speaking up, informing professors and teaching assistants of their accommodations, utilizing the services available to them, and communicating with those who are in a position to assist and guide them will help them to successfully navigate the sometimes complicated college experience.
When visiting prospective schools, be sure to spend some time at the center where those with learning disabilities can get support. If possible, set up a meeting with both a staff member and a student to get an idea about how the center operates, what the benefits are and whether the environment will be a good fit for your child.
Some programs are very hands-on and require accountability from the student, while others are more of a drop-in kind of program.
For learning disabled students, the support system offered at a school should be the top priority when choosing where to apply and attend college. While a good football team or nice dorms may seem like top considerations to your student, it's essential that he understand that the emotional and academic support available to him are what will make or break his college career.
Schools with learning disabilities support programs
Large schools offer the traditional "big campus" experience, which can be overwhelming for students with learning disabilities. Utilizing support programs can greatly increase the likelihood that a student will manage his academics while enjoying campus life.
American University - Washington DC
Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC)
Fee: $4500 per year
Rochester Institute of Technology - Rochester, NY
Academic Support Center
Open enrollment for any RIT student
University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ
Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center
Fee: $2800 per semester - lower division students (tutoring included)
$1200 per semester - upper division students (tutoring $21 per hour)
$1350 per 3 months - life coaching for ADD/ADHD students (optional)
Small schools give students the sense of intimacy and belonging that can be a challenge to find at a larger school.
Fairleigh Dickinson University - Teaneck, NJ
Regional Center for Learning Disabilities
No fee - free to any student at Fairleigh Dickinson
Marist College - Poughkeepsie, NY
Learning Disabilities Support Program
Primarily for freshman students
Fee for learning specialists only
SCHOOLS EXCLUSIVELY FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
Scholarships for students with learning disabilities
BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship for Students with Disabilities
$10,000 for U.S. students
$5,000 for Canadian students
Google Lime Scholarship: for learning disabled students studying computer science
$10,000 for U.S students
$5,000 for Canadian students
Rise Scholarship for students with learning disabilities
For a comprehensive list of scholarships and financial assistance programs targeting students with a variety of physical and learning disabilities, visit this website.
For more information about additional scholarship opportunities and financial aid for learning disabled students, visit this website.
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