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Going to college is a source of stress for many students dealing with autism. This is because while these students may excel in academics, they may face problems with social skills, executive function, and have other difficulties.
College is a young person’s first authentic experience with living independently, and that comes with a host of challenges for students on and off the spectrum alike. A worry for students and their parents is that issues with Autism can be exacerbated because, by the time they reach college, the students who need these services have usually aged out of support programs. Colleges have taken notice of these problems for students with ASD, and many of them have started programs to help their students with Autism achieve more, and have the most fulfilling experience possible despite any limitation that they may have.
The services that colleges provide for students with Autism range from things like ABA and other psychiatric care, to peer mentoring, organizing opportunities for these students to socialize, even assigning a mentor for daily check-ins if the student should require it. Even for students who aren’t living on campus, these services are available but will vary slightly. Academic support, career readiness assessments, and mentoring in the areas of time management, organization, and so on are still available.
The Students with Autism Scholarship is a $5,800 grant awarded by Churchill Foundation. Applying for scholarships can help lessen financial burdens that come with attending college, which in turn can reduce stress for students.
The top 20 online colleges we have ranked below have shown outstanding commitment to their students on the autistic spectrum by cultivating programs that strive to ensure student success regardless of their level of functionality.
You may also enjoy our ranking of the top 100 best online colleges.
Each school on this list was scored out of a possible 200 points. We have scored all of the online colleges that have programs for students with Autism based on the following ranking criteria:
- 50%: Freshmen Retention Rates and;
- 50%: Graduation Rates
To gather the information that was required to rank each of these online colleges, we used the school’s websites whenever possible. In cases where a school did not provide the information on their own site that was required by us, we used the databases of both U.S. News and World Report and of National Center for Education Statistics. These two percentages were added together to get the score for each institution, and then they were ranked out of 20 based on this score.
In any instance where two or more schools would have tied for a spot in this Top 20, we utilized the alphabetical ordering of their names as our designated tie-breaking criteria. We chose these two ranking criteria because when both rates are taken into account, they help to paint an accurate picture of a school’s overall performance.
We also consulted our own ranking of the top 100 best online colleges during the research for this ranking.
20: University of Montana
The University of Montana, or affectionately just UM, is a public research university that is based in Missoula, Montana at the foot of Mount Sentinel. This is the flagship campus of the university system and is the second largest in the state of Montana, bested only by Montana State University. The university was founded in 1893, and there was no formal campus at the time, so classes were held in the nearby Willard School. It has grown considerably since then and is now divided into eleven different schools. These are the College of Humanities & Sciences; Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences; College of Forestry and Conservation; College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences; College of Visual and Performing Arts; UM School of Law; UM School of Business; UM School of Journalism; UM School of Extended and Lifelong Learning; Missoula College and the Bitterroot College.
The university has a lot of interesting trivia. It is the alma mater of 24 NFL players and one coach. Rolling Stone calls it the Most Scenic Campus, and it has nearly 30 Rhodes Scholars to its name. Another incredible thing about the school is the MOSSAIC program for autistic students. This program has five components that contribute to their success which are Direct Speech Language Therapy, Peer Mentoring, Social Evenings, Ed Ready Support, and Academic Support. In this variety of ways, MOSSAIC (which stands for Mentoring, Organization, and Social Support for Autism Inclusion on Campus) uses evidence-based approaches to do all that they can to support their UM family in the best way possible.
19: Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University is a comprehensive co-educational public university that is situated between Detroit and Ann Arbor in a town called Ypsilanti, in Michigan. It does operate many satellite campuses throughout the state in Brighton, Detroit, Jackson, Monroe, Livonia, Traverse City, and the Kresge Environmental Center in Lapear. The school was founded as the Michigan State Normal School in 1849. It underwent several name changes along the way, as well. It was the Michigan State Normal College in 1899, then Eastern Michigan College in 1956, before settling on EMU in 1959.
Although Michigan is often regarded as a smaller state, this school enrolls over 20,000 students annually. Those students can choose from a vast array of undergraduate and graduate programs, including some at the specialist and doctorate levels. These degrees are conferred through seven different academic divisions.
These schools are the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the Graduate School, the College of Business, the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Technology, and the Honors College.
Eastern Michigan University’s vision is to “be a premier public university recognized for student-centered learning, high-quality academic programs, and community impact.” In congruence with that dedication to their students, the school started the College Supports Program in 2011. This program puts the focus on students with ASD and seeks to provide them with academic support, helping them to master different life skills, and even extends support to the parents. Program director Callie Boik says “Eastern Michigan University’s College Supports Program (CSP) is aimed at increasing admissions, retention, and full matriculation for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”
18: Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University is located in Bowling Green, KY and was established over a hundred years ago in 1906. This public university has a history going all the way back to 1876, though. The foundation began when privately owned Glasgow Normal School and Business College was established, and over time the school grew, acquired other properties, and merged with other institutions. WKU, as it is usually abbreviated, is a result of four different mergers and underwent four name changes before it became what it is today. What it is today, though, is an impressive institution that enrolls an excess of 20,000 students, is comprised of six different schools, and offers a combined 41 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels.
Western Kentucky University’s alumni have been incredibly successful, with 27 of them winning Pulitzer Prizes. Students still in attendance are racking up accolades as well, with the forensics program having won the AFA, NFA, IFA, and NFA debate championships on a variety of occasions. It is the only school to win all four in a single year and has accomplished this feat multiple times.The student body represents 48 states and 61 countries around the world, and the school shows excellent support for all of them. This is demonstrated not only in their success but also in the school’s concentrated efforts. One of these endeavors is specifically tailored to autistic students. This program is called the Kelly Autism Program, and has been recognized in the New York Times, previously. It has many approaches to assisting these students in the areas of their social lives, academics, and mental health.
School’s Website: https://www.wku.edu/
Program’s Website: Kelly Autism Program
Freshman Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 45%
Final Score: 118/200
17: Marshall University
Based in Huntington, West Virginia, Marshall University is a comprehensive, coeducational public research university. It was originally founded as what’s called a subscription school in 1837 and was at the time called Marshall Academy. Mount Hebron Church is where the classes began, and now it is a campus landmark called Old Main which is located on the main campus in Huntington. The school also operates at other locations throughout the state. They also run a cancer research center that has been nationally recognized on many occasions for their advancements in rural healthcare. While Marshall is in an area generally regarded as rural, the school is relatively large with a student body of around 14,000.
Marshall, as the university is nicknamed, runs The College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This program was developed in 2002 by the West Virginia Autism Training Center. Executive director Marc Ellison says, “The WVATC exists to support individuals with ASD as they pursue a life of quality.” That’s exactly what they do, by providing students with a variety of services that all center around the student’s goals. There is a separate application process for the program so students can be accurately placed. The program implements a team-based approach that seeks to impart the fundamentals of academic success while assisting the student to socially flourish, and establish the skills to live independently in the future after they’ve joined the professional world.
School’s Website: https://www.marshall.edu/
Program’s Website: The College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Freshman Retention Rate: 75%
Graduation Rate: 45%
Final Score: 120/200
16: University of West Florida
The University of West Florida, or often just UWF, is a comprehensive space-grant public research university that is based in Pensacola, Florida. Since its foundation in 1963, the school has conferred almost 100,000 degrees at the associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate levels. The campus is a nature reserve, and also features the largest library in Northwest Florida. In 2001, UWF also acquired the Pensacola Historic Village which it has incorporated as part of its curriculum where applicable. The university is one of twelve member institutions of the State University System of Florida and has been since its inception. UWF is comprised of just five different colleges through which it provides students the opportunity to pursue one of nearly a hundred degrees. These schools are the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities; the College of Business; the College of Education and Professional Studies; the Usha Kundu, MD College of Health; the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering; and the University College.
The Chambered Nautilus was adopted as part of the logo by the first ever president of the university, Dr. Harold Crosby. He made this selection because the chambered nautilus is “a symbol of growth, change, and accomplishment.” In keeping with that original vision, the University of West Florida has established several programs to help their students to grow and achieve their goals. The Argos for Autism Program is a service provided by the Student Disability Resource Center with the goal of enhancing the college experience for students with ASD by assisting with navigating the college experience. They do this through one on one academic and social support, teaching transitional life skills, and aiding students with career preparation.
School’s Website: https://uwf.edu/
Program’s Website: Argos for Autism
Freshman Retention Rate: 74%
Graduation Rate: 49%
Final Score: 123/200
15: Nova Southeastern University
The Nova University of Advanced Technology was founded in a warm Florida winter in 1964 and had an inaugural class of just 17 students. It’s hard to believe that a school with such humble beginnings would go on to become Nova Southeastern University, a private non-profit university that offers its students 175 degree programs with 250 different available majors from 18 different schools and colleges. Nova, or NSU, is currently located in Davie, Florida. The Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center is the largest library building in the entire state, and it is located on the Davie Campus. There are additional locations that operate in Dania Beach and North Miami. There are also a number of satellite campuses and Student Education Centers; these house computer labs, video conference necessities, and other resources for distance learners who wouldn’t otherwise have access. These are currently dotted across the state, operating in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Kendall, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, and Tampa. In 2014, one was even established in Puerto Rico.
Nova Southeastern University is home to the Access Plus Program. Psychoeducational and medical reports are reviewed to determine what support the student qualifies for and is in need of; support services include academic, social, residential, psychoeducational, and even career training is available from APP. Individualized plans are created for each student to make sure they’re getting the most out of their college experience. If you should have any questions, you can contact Executive Director Susan Kabot via email or phone at 954-262-6908/
14: Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University is a state, or public, university that is located in Charleston Illinois. It was established in 1865 as the Eastern Illinois State Normal School by the Illinois State Legislature. The school was originally founded to offer two-year teaching degrees. This goal caused the name to become Eastern Illinois State Teachers College, and further expansions saw it become Eastern Illinois State College, until settling on its current name in 1957. The university now offers programs that confer degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It does so through its four academic divisions, which are the College of Arts and Humanities; the College of Business and Applied Sciences; the College of Education and Professional Studies; and the College of Sciences. The College of Sciences is home to two very notable programs in Communication Disorders and Sciences and Biological Sciences.
Eastern has a very intimately styled program for their ASD students, allowing less than twenty students at a time. The program is called STEP, standing for Students with Autism Transitional Education Program. By their own words, they go above and beyond providing reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities as required by the ADA. It is part of the Autism Center, which falls under their esteemed Communication Disorders and Sciences program. STEP prioritized three main categories of skill to build upon, and those are academic, social, and daily-living. They combine these three areas to equip a student dealing with ASD with everything they need to succeed in pursuit of their education and career goals.
School’s Website: https://www.eiu.edu/
Program’s Website: Students with Autism Transitional Education Program (STEP)
Freshman Retention Rate: 71%
Graduation Rate: 57%
Final Score: 128/200
13: Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University is a nonsectarian, coeducational private university that has its main campus in Madison, New Jersey. The main campus is the Florham campus, and it encompasses the former estate of Florence Vanderbilt and Hamilton Twombly, which the university acquired in 1958. The famed and extravagant mansion on the estate sits proudly as the centerpiece of this campus. There are four locations in total, two of which in New Jersey, and then one in Canada and also the United Kingdom. When FDU purchased the Wroxton Abbey in 1965, it became the first American-owned university to have an international campus. In keeping with their extravagant reputation, Fairleigh Dickinson University is also the largest private university in the state of New Jersey by enrollment, with more than 12,000 students.
The Metropolitan Campus is located near New York City, so it is considerably more modern but no less ornate than the others. At the Metro campus, you’ll find the COMPASS Program is headquartered. COMPASS is a division of the Center for Psychological Services, and it recognizes that the college integration for a student with ASD or AS can be considerably more challenging than that of a neurotypical student. With this in mind, they’ve created a comprehensive support program that strives to strengthen existing skills, and also to teach improved coping strategies, and increase overall independence. The program is for students in their first two years of school and is also a more intimate program that allows less than ten students at a time so that mentors can focus on the individual needs of each student.
12: Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University is a public research university that is in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was founded as the Western State Normal School in 1903, and construction began a year later in 1904. At that time, the school offered two-year training programs. As the university expanded, some interesting things took place, such as a railroad being installed in 1907. The track existed to transport staff and students to what is now the East campus as it was on a steep grade; it was done away with in 1949. The name also cycled through a few variations over time; Western State Teachers College in 1927, Michigan College of Education in 1941, and Western Michigan College in 1955. It didn’t become Western Michigan University until 1957 when it was signed into law that it was a university.
WMU is home to one of the top 3 aviation programs in the country, and also has a medical school and a law school as part of its system. Western Michigan University is also home to the Autism Services Center that operates in conjunction with the Kalamazoo Autism Center. The program provides their services in addition to what is already provided by the Disability Services for Students. The Autism Services Center makes sure that there is increased communication between the student, staff, professors, and parents to ensure complete transparency. Additionally, the student will have a personal advisor, and access to several workshops that are geared towards cultivating success in students with ASD. WMU also extends this support to high school seniors as they prepare for post-secondary education.
11: University of Idaho
The University of Idaho is a land- and space-grant public research university that is located in Moscow, Idaho. It was the flagship university in the state of Idaho, established in 1889, and it spent 71 years as being the only institution of higher education in the state. The doors formally opened in 1892 and the inaugural class was of just 40 students. The school is known as U of I to the surrounding community, but UI is the official nickname. UI currently offers 142 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and specialist levels. It also has certificate programs in over 30 areas of study. Its expansive campus is home to a golf course, an arboretum and botanical garden, and the largest library in the state. The library was built in 1957 and houses more than 1.4 million books, periodicals, government documents, maps, videos, and other special collections.
UI is divided into ten different colleges. Those include the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; the College of Art and Architecture; the College of Business and Economics; the College of Education; the College of Engineering; the College of Graduate Studies; the College of Law; the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences; the College of Natural Resources; and the College of Science. Since its inception, the University of Idaho has conferred over 80,000 degrees through these colleges; they currently serve almost 12,000 students. In commitment to helping their students, The Raven Scholars Program was launched in 2011. This program exists to support students on the autism spectrum; it won the May Dunn Ward Innovative Program Award for programmatic innovation to creatively address student learning just a year after it was created. The program provides services weekly planning sessions, individualized support, and even service-learning opportunities to allow ASD students to get the hands on experience they need to succeed professionally.
10: Kent State University
Kent State University is public research university with its main campus located in Kent, Ohio. Like many others on this list, it was initially established a teacher training school in the year 1910.
There are several campuses spread out over the state, one in the middle of New York City, and one international campus in Florence, Italy. KSU, or Kent, are two ways that people commonly refer to the school. Across all campuses, Kent State University is the largest institution of higher learning in the state of Ohio by enrollment volume. They currently serve over 40,000 students that have the choice of hundreds of programs. Despite being highly residential, KSU offers online courses in a fully online and asynchronous format; however, students can also choose to participate in a hybrid program.
Kent State University encompasses the College of Engineering, Sustainability & Technology; the College of Architecture and Environmental Design; the College of the Arts; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Business Administration; the College of Communication and Information; the College of Education, Health, and Human Services; the College of Nursing; the College of Podiatric Medicine; the College of Public Health; the Honors College; the Regional College; and the University College. They also feature additional programs that don’t fall under these divisions. A number of these schools have been consistently recognized by U.S. News and World Report. For students with ASD, Kent State University has the Autism Advocates Program, and the AIREO Program (Autism Initiative Research and Education Outreach). Both of these programs strive to increase understanding of those without ASD, and the quality of the college experience for those with it.
9: Texas Tech University
Originally founded as Texas Technical College, Texas Tech University is the flagship university in the Texas Tech University System. It is a public research university situated in Lubbock, Texas. It is often called only Texas Tech, or TTU. Texas Tech has awarded over 200,000 degrees in the past 90 years; the university currently offers degree programs in more than 150 areas of study through 13 different schools and colleges. These are the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources; the College of Architecture; the College of Arts & Sciences; the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration; the College of Education; the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering; the Honors College; the College of Human Sciences; the College of Media & Communication; the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts Graduate School; the School of Law; and their Worldwide eLearning division. They offer a myriad of programs entirely online and self-paced for their students. These programs are available at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels.
The Carnegie Foundation classifies Texas Tech as having a very high research activity, a rating that only 115 other schools can boast alongside it. The university has 71 research centers and institutes, and through one of them, a groundbreaking discovery in the fight against HIV was made in 2008. They’ve also made many contributions to NASA throughout their history. Their program for ASD students is called the Burkhart Transition Academy. Students strengths are assessed to ensure they’re getting the most out of what the academy offers, which includes ABA centered behavioral, and social support. There are also resources for families. The Burkhart Center is also the host of the Annual Autism Conference.
8: Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State University is a comprehensive, coeducational public liberal arts university in Allendale, Michigan that was founded in 1960. GVSU, as the school is sometimes called, has been recognized over the years for sustainability (having ranked 16th in the world by GreenMetric World University Ranking), producing the highest number of Fulbright Scholars in 2011, and for its sheer size. GVSU is among the top 100 largest universities in America and is the fifth largest in the state by enrollment. The student body is currently more than 25,000 strong, and the school has alumni in all 50 states and 25 foreign countries. There’s no doubt that this is a prolific school, and it isn’t shockingly so because they offer more than 200 areas of study, with 82 undergraduate majors, and 36 graduate majors. Many of these programs are available in a fully online and asynchronous format.
GVSU is made up of 9 colleges and schools, but only 8 of which are degree-granting. Those are the F.E. Seidman College of Business; the College of Community and Public Services; the College of Education; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing; the College of Health Professions; the Kirkhof College of Nursing; and the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. The university also operates the Frederik Meijer Honors College, a residential honors college that seeks to provide a more rigorous education to eligible students but doesn’t grant degrees. Campus Links is the program GVSU hosts for their ASD students. There are two tiers, Red (which is purely residential), and Blue (which doesn’t require students to live in specific dorms or even on campus). Campus Links is a peer mentoring program that holds their mentors to a consistently high standard including a minimum GPA, a year long commitment, and two letters of recommendation. These mentors stay in contact with the student who has ASD, helping them acclimate to college and prepare to integrate into their professional lives.
7: Adelphi University
Adelphi University is a nonsectarian private university located in Garden City, New York. Nonsectarian means that since its establishment in 1896, the school hasn’t subscribed to a particular political or religious doctrine, nor has it expressed affiliation with any such group. Fiske Guide to Colleges has named Adelphi University a “Best Buy” for the past ten consecutive years, the university has also garnered acclaim from the The Princeton Review, the Carnegie Foundation, and even has been recognized because of its professors’ salaries. Adelphi University currently enrolls just shy of 8,000 students, and they have a selection of a number of degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels. These degrees are conferred through any one of 8 colleges.
The program for ASD students at Adelphi is the award winning Bridges Program. The Bridges to Adelphi Program is a nationally awarded support program for Adelphi University students who have self-disclosed with diagnoses of ASD or other non-verbal learning disorder. There is no separate application to the Bridges Program at this time. Once students are accepted into the university, they can choose to opt into the Bridges Program. The Bridges Program offers comprehensive, individualized academic, social and vocational support services to over 100 students. Retention rates for the past five years are approximately 96%, and average GPA’s over the same period is approximately 3.30. However, these outstanding outcomes are not the ultimate goals for the Bridges Program. This year, they are addressing the next challenge for the students as they prepare to graduate from college, which is to help them transition into the work world, by developing a job placement program for graduating seniors.
6: University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is the largest, and also the oldest, university in the state of Alabama. UA, or just Alabama, is a sea- and space-grant public research university and is the flagship university in the University of Alabama System. The main campus is in Tuscaloosa Alabama. UA has 13 different academic divisions through which it offers programs at the bachelors, masters, specialist, and doctorate levels. It is the only school in Alabama to provide doctoral programs in the fields of anthropology, communication and information sciences, metallurgical engineering, music, Romance languages, and social work.
The 13 different schools and colleges that make up the University of Alabama are the College of Arts and Sciences; the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration; the College of Communication and Information Sciences; the College of Community Health Sciences; the College of Education; the College of Engineering; the Graduate School; College of Human Environmental Sciences; the School of Law; the Capstone College of Nursing; the School of Social Work; as well as the Honors College and the College of Continuing Studies which do not grant degrees. UA operates the ASD College Transition and Support (or ACTS) Program. The ACTS program focuses on providing students with individualized support in the areas of self-advocacy, daily living, and social interactions to lay the foundation for them to flourish in their independent lives.
5: University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a space-grant public research university located in Tampa, Florida. It was founded in 1956, making it the first state university that was planned and subsequently built in the 20th century. Although USF was established that year, it wouldn’t be officially named until 1957, nor hold its inaugural class until 1960. The university offers degree at the undergraduate and graduate levels, available traditionally, in a hybrid format, and also entirely online and self-paced. An outstanding 11 of their graduate programs have ranked in the Top 100 Graduate Schools published by U.S. News and World Report. The library at the Tampa campus in the largest and most comprehensive in the university system. It is seven stories; there you can find reservable study rooms, tutoring, a career resource center, and more.
USF is divided into 14 different schools and colleges. These are the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences; the Muma College of Business; the College of Education; the College of Engineering; the Patel College of Global Sustainability; the College of Graduate Studies; the Honors College; the College of Marine Science; the Morsani College of Medicine; the College of Nursing; the College of Pharmacy; the College of Public Health; and the College of The Arts. The College of Behavioral & Community Sciences operates a program for students with ASD called the Learning Academy. The Learning Academy provides students with a sort of bridge program to allow them to transition into adulthood and prepare for a career successfully.
4: Drexel University
Drexel University is a private research university that operates its main campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Drexel, as the school is nicknamed, was initially founded as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry in 1891. The mission of the Drexel at that time was to provide equal educational opportunities in the areas of practical arts and the sciences to people of any gender and socioeconomic background. The name changed few times throughout the school’s history to the Drexel Institute of Technology in 1936. University status was granted in 1970; thus the name was changed to the current Drexel University. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Drexel University as the 96th spot among all national universities in the United States, the 14th-best university in their Most Innovative Schools ranking and also proclaimed that Drexel University’s Library and Information Studies program was 10th in the country among program of its kind.
The school offers a variety of more than 140 online programs that grant undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and professional certifications. These programs are available entirely online and in an asynchronous format, making them much more accessible to their staggering 27,000 students. Drexel University runs the Drexel Autism Support Program out of their main campus; the program is run with the goal of helping all students with ASD reach their academic goals, and increase social competency. “Our program values neurodiversity and all the benefits that diversity contributes to the greater societal good,” their brochure boasts. They offer a personalized and student-centered approach to create a personalized plan for each student’s success, and mentorship is available to help students stay on track with this plan.
3: St. Joseph’s University
Saint Joseph’s University is a private Roman Catholic-affiliate coeducational research university that is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a Jesuit university and is among the top ten oldest in the country. It was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851. St. Joe and SJU are both informal names for the school, which has a student body of 9,000. SJU offers an excess of 100 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels; these are conferred through any one of four academic divisions. These are the Erivan K. Haub School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Program of Professional & Liberal Studies, and the Haub Degree Completion Program. Undergraduate, graduate, and MBA programs are currently offered to distance-learning students in an asynchronous format. U.S. News and World Report has ranked several of these online offerings in their publications.
Being a research university, SJU maintains 17 centers and institutes. The list of them is the Faith-Justice Institute, Institute for Catholic Bioethics, Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support, Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics, and the Richard Johnson Center for Anti-Violence. The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support is extremely prestigious and currently orchestrates the ASPIRE Program. The center officially opened in 2009, but SJU started implementing autism education into their curriculum as far back as 2004. Presently, the ASPIRE program accepts students via a separate application process on a first come, first serve basis. The program covers crisis intervention and prevention, time management and social skills, independent living, and even provides a supported work environment.
School’s Website: https://www.sju.edu/
Program’s Website: ASPIRE Program
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Graduation Rate: 80%
Final Score: 171/200
2: Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is usually shortened to just Rutgers University but is colloquially known as Rutgers or even RU. It is a land- sea- and space-grant public research university. It is one of the nine colonial colleges that was founded before the American Revolution, Rutgers, in particular, was established in 1766. It was the first of the colonial colleges to become public, and only one other university in the group has done so. Rutgers now enrolls roughly 70,000 students and remains the largest institution of higher education in the state of New Jersey. This massive student body can select one of more than 100 distinct bachelors, 100 masters, and 80 doctoral, and professional degree program. These are taught through one of 175 academic departments, and 29 degree-granting schools and colleges, 16 of which offer graduate programs of study.
Rutgers has four campuses, 26 libraries, three museums, and a botanical garden. The school is incredibly expansive; it even offers 11 fully online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.that are taught by the same faculty as the traditional counterparts. Rutgers has the College Support Program for Students on the Autism Spectrum. Through a separate application process, students are selected by the staff. The CSP works alongside various components of the university and the staff members, including Rutgers University’s Offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Disability Services, Academic Deans, Learning Centers, Counseling Center (CAPS), Career Services, Student Employment, Residence Life, Student Life, Deans of Students and as necessary, program advisors and faculty. The CSP provides peer mentorship, academic, social, and independent living support, and helps to prepare ASD students for their careers. Uniquely, this program isn’t limited to a student’s first two years and sees them through to graduation.
School’s Website: https://www.rutgers.edu/
Program’s Website: The College Support Program (CSP) for Students on the Autism Spectrum
Freshman Retention Rate: 92%
Graduation Rate: 80%
Final Score: 172/200
1: University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut is a land- sea- and space-grant public research university in Storrs, Connecticut. It was founded in 1881. Often shortened to the nickname of Uconn, the school is a flagship university that is currently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the best public national university in New England. The University of Connecticut was the second school in America to be invited into Universitas 21, which is an international network of 24 research-intensive universities, which work together towards a common goal of global citizenship. UConn was founded in 1881 as the Storrs Agricultural School, and even though it now offers students over 100 different majors, it hasn’t strayed too far from its agricultural roots. UConn ranked as one of the Greenest Colleges because of their continued effort to support the environment and has been nationally recognized for the effort.
The University of Connecticut came in at number one because of its incredible freshman retention rate of 92%, meaning that only 8% of students didn’t return for their sophomore year! Along with that, 82% of their students went on to complete a degree program promptly. This is especially incredible if you consider that UConn has a total enrollment of 33,000 students across 14 different schools and colleges. This public Ivy University has ranked among the Top 50 Disability Friendly Universities by College Choice. Not only do they have the Beyond Access Program, open to any student disabled or otherwise, that helps create a strategic plan for academic and career success, they also work closely with the AHEADD Program. AHEADD stands for Achieving in Higher Education with Autism/Developmental Disabilities, and it is a private community organization that partners with institutions of higher learning to provide support from every angle; they help students with ASD with communication, and work to increase staff awareness and ensure excellent accommodation for these students to foster their success as efficiently as possible.
School’s Website: https://uconn.edu/
Program’s Website: AHEADD Program
Freshman Retention Rate: 92%
Graduation Rate: 82%
Final Score: 174/200
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