College is an emotional experience for students with Autism. While they may be able to excel academically, they might struggle with difficulties with social skills, executive functioning, and other issues.
College is a student’s first experience of independence, and it is not without issues for students who are on and off of the spectrum. One of the biggest concerns for parents of students is that issues related to Autism can become more severe since at the point they are in college, the students who require support are usually out of support programs. Colleges have gotten aware of the challenges faced by students with ASD, and a lot of them have begun programs that help students who have Autism to achieve tremendous success. They enjoy the most satisfying experience possible, despite the limitations they might be facing.
Colleges offer various services for students who have Autism, including ABA and other forms of psychiatric treatment, peer mentoring, which provides occasions for students with Autism to interact, or even assigning mentors for daily check-ins in case the student needs. Support for academics, career readiness tests, and time management training is available. Even for students not on campus, these services are still available but may differ slightly.
The Student with Autism Scholarship is a grant of $5,800 granted by the Churchill Foundation. The application process for scholarships can help reduce the financial burden of college and reduce anxiety for students.
The top 15 online universities we have listed below have demonstrated exceptional dedication to their students on the autism spectrum by establishing programs designed to guarantee students’ success, regardless of their degree of functioning.
Every school listed on this list was rated out of 200 possible points. We have scored all the colleges online that offer programs specifically for students with Autism using the following criteria for ranking:
- 50 percent: Rates of Retention for Freshmen and
- 50%: Graduation Rates
In order to gather the necessary information for a ranking of these colleges on the internet, We accessed the schools’ websites. If the school could not provide the information on their Website that we required, we used the U.S. News and World Report databases and the National Center for Education Statistics. The two percentages were added together to calculate each institution’s score, which was then placed in order of 20 on the score.
We selected this ranking criterion because it gives a clear view of the college’s overall performance.
Best 15 Online Colleges for Students with Autism
1. University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut is a land-sea and space-grant public research institution located in Storrs, Connecticut. It was established in 1881. The name is frequently shortened to the nickname of Uconn. The school is a prestigious institution currently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the top public university located in New England. The University of Connecticut was the second University within America to be accepted to Universitas 21, which is an international consortium comprising 24 universities with a strong research culture that collaborates towards the common goal of global citizenship. UConn was established in 1881 as an institution known as the Storrs Agricultural School. Although it offers students more than 100 different programs, It has not moved far from its roots in agriculture. UConn was ranked as one of the Greenest Colleges due to its ongoing efforts to protect the environment. They have also been recognized across the country for these efforts.
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It is said that the University of Connecticut came in the first place due to its remarkable retention rate for first-year students of 92%. That means that just 8 percent of students did not return to the university for their sophomore year! In addition, 82% of the students graduated from an education program within the timeframe they started. This is particularly impressive when you think that UConn is home to a student body of 33,000 students in 14 different colleges and universities. The public Ivy University has ranked among the Top 50 Disability Friendly Universities by College Choice. In addition, they offer their Beyond Access Program, open to any student who is disabled or not, which helps develop a strategy to ensure academic and career achievement. They collaborate in conjunction with the AHEAD Program. AHEAD is an acronym that stands for Achieving in Higher Education with Autism/Developmental Disabilities. It is a private, community-based organization that works with higher education institutions to offer support in all areas and assist students who have ASD with communication issues, and help increase the awareness of staff and provide excellent accommodations for these students in order to ensure their success in the most efficient way possible.
School’s Website: https://uconn.edu/
2. Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is often abbreviated to Rutgers University; however, it is also called Rutgers or R.U. This is an ocean-based and space-grant university for public research. One of nine colonial colleges established prior to the American Revolution, Rutgers, specifically, was founded in 1766. It was one of the first colonial universities to become a public institution, and the only institution within the group has done the same. Rutgers currently has 70k students and is the largest college that offers higher education in New Jersey. Students from this massive group can choose between more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s, and 80 doctoral degree and professional degree programs. They are taught by any of the 175 departments for academics and 29 degree-granting institutions and colleges, including 16 that offer graduate degree programs.
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Rutgers is home to four campuses with 26 libraries, three museums, and an extensive botanical garden. The campus is huge, with 11 degree programs entirely online at both the university and undergraduate levels. That will be taught by faculty members who are the same that teach the traditional counterparts. Rutgers offers The College Special Programs for students on the Autism Spectrum. The college’s staff chooses the students through a separate application process. The CSP is a part of various departments of the university as well as staff, which includes Rutgers’ Offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Disability Services, Academic Deans and Education Centers, Counseling Center (CAPS), Career Services, Student Employment and Residence Life Students Life and Deans of Students and, if necessary faculty members, program advisors, and program directors. The CSP offers peer mentoring and academic, social, and support for independent living and assists in preparing ASD students for their future careers. It is unique that this program is not only available for the initial two years but continues to see students through graduation.
School’s Website: https://www.rutgers.edu/
3. St. Joseph’s University
Saint Joseph’s University is a private Roman Catholic-affiliated co-educational research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a Jesuit university and ranks among the top ten most prestigious universities. It was established through members of the Society of Jesus in 1851. St. Joe and SJU are the two informal names of the institution, which is home to an enrollment of 9,000 students. SJU offers more than 100 graduate degree courses at both the undergraduate and doctoral levels. Any of the four academic departments can award these. These include the Erivan K. Haub School of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Program of Professional & Liberal Studies, and the Haub Degree Certificate Program. Undergraduate, graduate in addition to MBA programs is offered to students who are studying distance with asynchronous formats. U.S. News and World Report have listed these websites in their magazines.
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As a research institution, SJU has 17 institutes and centers. They include that of 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 well-known and runs its ASPIRE Program. The center officially launched in 2009. However, SJU has been integrating autism education into its courses as early as. The ASPIRE program is open to students through an application process on a first-come-first-serve basis. The program focuses on the prevention and intervention in crisis and time management, social skills, and independent living and offers a supportive work environment.
School’s Website: https://www.sju.edu/
4. Drexel University
Drexel University is a private research institution with its main campus located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As the institution is known by its name, Drexel was first established in 1891 as an institute called the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry in 1891. The purpose of Drexel at the time was to offer equal opportunities for education in the field of the practical arts and sciences to all gender or economic background. The name was changed a few times throughout its history before becoming the Drexel Institute of Technology in 1936. The status of a university was conferred in the year 1970, and the title was changed in 1970 to Drexel University. U.S. News and World Report have placed Drexel University as the 96th place among all universities of national standing within the United States, the 14th-best University in their Most Innovative Schools ranking. It also announced that Drexel’s Library and Information Studies program was ranked 10th in its class of programs.
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The school has a selection of more than 140 online courses which award undergraduate degrees, graduate diplomas, and professional certificates. These programs are accessible entirely online and in Asynchronous format, making them accessible to the school’s staggering 27,000 students. Drexel University runs the Drexel Autism Support Program on its main campus. The program aims to help all students who have ASD achieve their academic goals and improve their social competence. “Our program recognizes neurodiversity and the many benefits that diversity brings to the greater positive,” their brochure boasts. They provide a personalized and student-centered approach that creates an individualized plan for every student’s success. Additionally, mentoring ensures that students stay on the right track.
School’s Website: https://drexel.edu/
5. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is an open-access public research university situated within Tampa, Florida. It was established in 1956, making it the first state university designed and later constructed within the twenty-first century. While USF was established in the year 1956 however, it was not officially named until 1957, and it would not even hold its first classes until the year 1960. The university awards degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They are offered in a traditional, hybrid format and entirely in-person and online. A remarkable 11 of their graduate programs have been included within the Top 100 Graduate Schools published by U.S. News and World Report. The library on the Tampa campus is the most extensive within the system of universities. It has seven floors where you will find classrooms that can be reserved for tutoring and a career resource center, and much more.
USF is broken down into 14 distinct colleges and schools. These include colleges like
- 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
- The College of The Arts.
The College of Behavioral & Community Sciences has a program for students who have ASD named The Learning Academy. It is a Learning Academy that provides students with the possibility of a transition program that allows them to move into adulthood and get ready for a successful career.
School’s Website: https://www.usf.edu/
6. University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is the largest and oldest institution in Alabama. U.A. or just Alabama is a marine and space-grant research university. It is also the main University of the University of Alabama System. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is the main campus. U.A. is home to 13 academic divisions that provide bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral programs. The school is the only one in Alabama that offers doctoral degrees in communication and information science, metallurgical engineering music studies, Romance languages, and social work.
The 13 colleges and schools which 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
- The Honors College
- The College of Continuing Studies: which does not award degrees.
U.A. manages U.A. runs the ASD College Transition and Support (or ACTS) Program. The ACTS program focuses on providing college students individual help in self-advocacy, daily life, and social interactions to build the foundation to allow students to thrive in their own lives.
School’s Website: https://www.ua.edu/
7. Adelphi University
Adelphi University is a nonsectarian private university located within Garden City, New York. Nonsectarian implies that, since its inception in 1896, the college has not adhered to a specific religious or political belief and has not declared an affiliation with any groups. Fiske Guide to Colleges has declared Adelphi University a “Best Buy” for the past ten years. Adelphi University has also received praise in the form of The Princeton Review, the Carnegie Foundation, and even was recognized for its professors’ salaries. Adelphi University currently enrolls shy of 8,000 students. Additionally, they offer several degrees for undergraduate and graduate and certificate levels. The degrees can be awarded through any of the eight colleges.
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The program offered to ASD students at Adelphi is the Award-winning Bridges Program. Bridges to Adelphi is a nationally recognized program. Bridges to Adelphi Program is an award-winning program of support specifically designed to support Adelphi University students who have self-identified with diagnoses of ASD or related non-verbal learning disorders. It is not possible to apply separately for this Bridges Program. After students have been accepted into university, they can decide to join the Bridges Program. It is a Bridges Program that offers comprehensive, individualized academic and vocational, and social support for more than 100 students. Over the last five years, the retention rates have been 96%, and the average GPA during the same time frame is 3.30. These impressive outcomes are not the primary goals of this program. Bridges Program. This year, they are addressing the next hurdle for students as they get ready to leave college. This is helping students transition into the working world by establishing an employment program for seniors who are graduating.
School’s Website: https://www.adelphi.edu/
8. Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State University is a co-educational, comprehensive liberal arts public university located in Allendale, Michigan, founded in 1960. GVSU is the name that the school is often referred to is a name that has been praised over time for its sustainability (having been ranked 16th in the world according to the GreenMetric World University Ranking) and has the largest quantity of Fulbright Scholars in 2011, and also for its size. GVSU is among the top 100 of the most prominent institutions within America and is the fifth-largest in the state by the number of students. The student body currently is more significant than 25,000, and alumni are spread across all 50 states and 25 nations. It is clear that it is a highly thriving school, and not surprising since they have more than 200 different areas of study, including an undergraduate curriculum with 82 majors and 36 graduate programs. Many courses are accessible online in a completely online and synchronous format.
More on Grand Valley State University
GVSU has nine schools and colleges. However, only eight of them offer degree-granting. They include the F.E. Seidman College of Business; the College of Community and Public Services and The College of Education; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as 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 runs its Frederik Meijer Honors College, a college for honors students that aims to offer a higher-quality education for qualified students, but it does not award degrees. Students can also enroll in Campus Links are, the programs GVSU offers to their ASD students. Campus Links is a peer mentoring program that requires their mentors to a consistently excellent standard, with a minimum GPA and a commitment of a year and two recommendation letters. The mentors remain in contact with students who have ASD to help them adjust to college and become successful in their careers. There are two levels: red (purely residence-based) and blue (which do not require students to stay in specific dorms or on the same campus).
School’s Website: https://www.gvsu.edu/
9. Texas Tech University
The university was initially founded in 1898 as Texas Technical College. Texas Tech University is the most prestigious institution of the Texas Tech University System. It is a private research university located within Lubbock, Texas. It is usually referred to as Texas Tech or TTU. Texas Tech has awarded over 200 000 degrees over the last 90 years. The school currently offers degrees in over 150 fields of study in 13 different colleges and universities. They include those of the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources as well as the College of Architecture; the College of Arts & Sciences as well as The Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration and The College of Education; the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering; the Honors College; the College of Human Sciences as well as The College of Media & Communication as well as the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts Graduate School and The School of Law; and their Worldwide eLearning division. They offer a wide range of online programs that are student-led for students. The programs are offered at the master’s, bachelor or doctoral degrees.
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The Carnegie Foundation classifies Texas Tech as having an active research program, a distinction that only 115 other universities can boast. The school has 70 research centers and institutes, which, through the one, a significant research breakthrough to fight HIV came out in the year 2008. They also have made numerous achievements for NASA throughout their experience. Their program designed explicitly for ASD students is known as”the Burkhart Transition Academy. The students’ strengths are evaluated to make sure they get the most benefit from what the academy has to offer, including ABA-centered behavior and social and emotional support. Additionally, there are resources available for parents. They can also contact the Burkhart Centre is host to the Annual Autism Conference.
School’s Website: https://www.ttu.edu/
10. Kent State University
Kent State University is a public research institution with its main campus within Kent, Ohio. As with many other universities listed below, Kent State University was first founded as a teacher-training school in 1910.
KSU or Kent KSU, or Kent people typically refer to their school. Many campuses are spread across the state, including one located in central New York City and one international campus located in Florence, Italy. All campuses are part of the same institution. Kent State University is the most prestigious institution of higher learning across Ohio in terms of enrollment. The institution currently has over 40000 students that choose hundreds of courses. Although it is a residential institution, KSU offers online courses that are entirely online and synchronous format; However, students may also select to participate in a hybrid curriculum.
More about Kent State University
Kent State University encompasses the College of Engineering, Sustainability & Technology and The College of Architecture and Environmental Design as well as The College of the Arts; the College of Arts and Sciences and The College of Business Administration; the College of Communication and Information as well as 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. Other programs are not within these divisions. U.S. News and World Report have consistently identified a few of the schools. For students who have ASD, Kent State University is home to programs like the Autism Advocates Program and the AIREO Program (Autism Initiative Research and Education Outreach). These programs aim to improve the awareness of students who do not have ASD and enhance the college experience for students who have ASD.
School’s Website: https://www.kent.edu/
11: University of Idaho
The University of Idaho is a land- and space-grant research university situated within Moscow, Idaho. It was the leading University in Idaho founded in 1889. It continued for 71 years to be the only institution of higher education within the state. The doors officially opened in 1892. The initial class comprised only 40 students. The school is referred to by U of I for the community surrounding it. However, U.I. is the official name. U.I. currently offers 142 degree programs for undergraduate and graduate or specialist degrees. The university also offers certificate programs that span more than 30 fields of study. The sprawling campus houses golf courses and an arboretum, botanical gardens, and the largest libraries in Texas. The library was established in 1957 and contains greater than 1.4 million books and periodicals, government documents, videos, maps, and other collections.
U.I. is broken down into ten different colleges. They comprise colleges like the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and The College of Art and Architecture as well as The College of Business and Economics and 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 founding in the year 2000, the University of Idaho has conferred more than 80,000 degrees through these colleges. They have over 12,000 students. As a way of helping their students, the Raven Scholars Program was launched in the year 2011. The program is designed to help students on the autism spectrum and was awarded the May Dunn Ward Innovative Program Award for its programmatic innovation that helped create a new approach to student learning one year after it was established. The program provides daily planning sessions, personalized support, and even service learning opportunities for ASD students to gain the hands-on training they need to succeed professionally.
School’s Website: https://www.uidaho.edu/
Program name: Raven Scholars
12. Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University is a public research institution located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was first established by The Western State Normal School in 1903, and construction started one year later in 1904. At the time, the school offered two-year programs for training. When the school grew, there were some exciting developments, including the construction of a railroad in 1907. The railroad was used to transport students and staff across the present East campus, situated on a steep hill and removed by 1949. The name was also changed to several variations throughout the years; Western State Teachers College in 1927, Michigan College of Education in 1941, and Western Michigan College in 1955. The name was not changed to Western Michigan University until 1957, when it was incorporated into law as an institution of higher learning.
More about Western Michigan University
WMU houses one of the most prestigious three aerospace programs within the nation, the medical school, and a law school in the system. Western Michigan University is also home to the Autism Services Center, which works with its own Kalamazoo Autism Centre. The center provides services and the ones already being offered by Disability Services for Students. Its Autism Services Center will ensure greater communication between students, faculty, staff, and parents to ensure total transparency. In addition, the student has a dedicated advisor and will have access to a variety of workshops designed to foster achievement in students who have ASD. WMU provides this assistance for high school students preparing for post-secondary studies.
School’s Website: https://wmich.edu/
13. Fairleigh Dickinson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University is a private, nonsectarian university, with its main campus located in Madison, New Jersey. Its main campus can be described as called the Florham campus. It comprises part of the estate once owned by Florence Vanderbilt and Hamilton Twombly that the university purchased in 1958. The famous and lavish mansion on the estate stands in the center of the campus. There are four campus campuses, including two located in New Jersey and one in Canada and the United Kingdom. When FDU acquired Wroxton Abbey in 1965, it became the first university-owned by an American company. Wroxton Abbey, in the year 1965, was the first American-owned college with an internationally-oriented campus. In line with their striking image, Fairleigh Dickinson University is also the most prominent private institution within New Jersey by enrollment, with over 12,000 students.
More about Fairleigh Dickinson University
Metropolitan Campus Metropolitan Campus is located near New York City, so it is more modern but no less lavish than other campuses. On this Metro campus, you will discover that there is a place where the COMPASS Program is headquartered. COMPASS is an affiliate of the Center for Psychological Services. It is aware that the college integration process for students who have ASD or AS can be significantly more challenging than neurotypical students. In this regard, they have designed an extensive support program to improve existing skills and teach better-coping strategies and boost the level of independence. This program is designed for students in their initial two years of high school. It is also a minor program that accommodates just ten students one time so that the mentors can focus on each child’s specific needs.
School’s Website: https://www.fdu.edu/
14: Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University is a state university located within Charleston, Illinois. It was founded in 1865 and was named the Eastern Illinois State Normal School by the Illinois State Legislature. The school was first established to offer teaching degrees of two years duration. The goal led the name to change to Eastern Illinois State Teachers College. The expansions continued, and it became Eastern Illinois State College until it was able to settle on the name it has today. The college now has programs that award degrees at graduate and undergraduate levels. It accomplishes this via its academic divisions, including The College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Business and Applied Sciences, as well as the College of Education and Professional Studies and the College of Sciences. The College of Sciences is home to two renowned programs in the fields of Communication Disorders and Sciences and Biological Sciences.
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Eastern offers a very personal-designed program for ASD students, which allows only a few students to attend at one time. The program is referred to as STEP, which stands for Students with Autism Transitional Education Program. They say that they go beyond the requirement of providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, as mandated under the ADA. The center is part of the Autism Center, which is within its highly regarded Communication Disorders and Sciences program. STEP has identified three significant areas of expertise to enhance academic and social skills and daily living. They integrate these three areas to provide students with ASD with the necessary tools to be successful in their educational and career objectives.
School’s Website: https://www.eiu.edu/
15. Nova Southeastern University
It is believed that the Nova University of Advanced Technology was established during a warm Florida winter of 1964. It was founded with only 17 students. It is not easy to imagine that a school that was so humble would grow to become Nova Southeastern University. This private university is non-profit and offers students 175 degree programs with 250 distinct specializations offered by 18 different universities and colleges. Nova the University, also known as NSU, is found within Davie, Florida. Its Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center is the largest library structure across the state and is situated within Davie Campus. Davie Campus. Some libraries are located within Dania Beach and North Miami. There are numerous satellite campuses and Student Education Centers; these provide videoconferencing, computer labs, requirements, and other services for distant learners who might not usually have access to. They are currently scattered across the state and operate within Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Kendall, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, and Tampa. One of them was even set up in Puerto Rico.
More on Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University is home to the Access Plus Program, for which Susan Kabot is the executive director. Medical and psychoeducational records can be reviewed for the support the student is eligible for and requires. Support services include social, academic, residential, psychoeducational, and even career guidance accessible via their APP. Individualized plans are designed for each student to make sure they benefit the most from the college education. If you need assistance, you may get in touch with Executive Director Susan Kabot via email or telephone at 954-262 6908or
School’s Website: https://www.nova.edu/