Wednesday, November 30, 2016
As home to the pioneering Learning Differences Program and the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM), Mercyhurst University is ranked among the 50 Best Disability-Friendly Colleges and Universities in the nation by Collegechoice.
Mercyhurst’s Learning Differences initiative preceded the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 when only eight colleges in the nation offered programs for students with learning disabilities. None were in Pennsylvania. This year, the Learning Differences Program celebrated its 30th anniversary.
AIM was founded in 2008 and has emerged as a model for other colleges and universities in meeting the unique higher education needs of the growing population of students on the autism spectrum.
Even though 86 percent of universities educate students with disabilities, only 24 percent say they offer those students assistance “to a major extent,” according to Collegechoice.
“The following ranking highlights universities that have strong programming and solid support services for students with needs including, but not limited to, learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), visual and hearing impairment and those with physical needs that require special access, accommodations, service animals and/or alternative transportation. These exceptional schools are some of the best in the country at committing resources and funding to equipping their students with tools they need to not only become a successful student in the classroom but also a valuable member of the student body as a whole on the campus and in the community,” Collegechoice reported.
Collegechoice also noted that the schools achieving recognition far exceeded the minimum legal requirements for accessibility and were also evaluated on characteristics like academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability and average financial aid awarded.