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Best Disability Friendly Colleges

Best Disability Friendly Colleges

Created At:24 October, 2021
Created By:Hadeel Hossam
Updated At:19 March, 2023
University Life

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If you are searching for accessible universities, look no further, we have just the right guide for you. For students with a disability, the options are unlimited, but you have to focus on the best to enjoy your experience studying abroad. That’s why we put together the best disability-friendly colleges in the most popular student destinations; the UK, USA, and Canada. It’s something that should be considered while preparing to study abroad as a student with a disability. So let’s get to know these universities and the services they offer.

United Kingdom

1. The University of Worcester

The University of Worcester has an impressive set of services for students with a disability to make their learning experience more comfortable and enjoyable. It provides private tutors, note-takers, transcribers, interpreters, and library support when it comes to academic support. The best thing about the university’s disability services is that it also provides awareness workshops to eliminate disability stigma on campus and teach about assistive technology. There are also special arrangements when there are field trips or any other special occasion.

University of leeds

2. University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is another top disability-friendly college. Partnering with AccessAble to make their campus as inclusive as possible, they have a set of guidelines for students with disabilities explaining all their services and facilities. Furthermore, the university offers student accommodation with specially adapted rooms and facilities that meet the National Accessible Scheme (NAS) standard requirements for students with mobility, visual and hearing impairments. The University of Leeds Student Union also complies with The Equality Act (2010) and provides specialized disabled viewing areas and a FOC ticket system for all of their events. This all led to the university having huge numbers of students with disabilities enrolling in the past few years.

3. Brunel University London

This is a university any student with a disability can go to with an eased mind with its award-winning disability and dyslexia services. The university prides itself in doing everything possible for all students to have the best possible learning experience. It has unique innovations on-campus, such as a sensory room designed for students to either limit or enhance their senses, giving them a better capacity to learn and engage in class. 

The campus accommodation is fully equipped with other disability-friendly facilities, including lifts for wheelchair access, fully adapted bathrooms, and larger floor space and pull cords in place of light switches. Academically, students with disabilities are given coursework extensions and specialised rules in exams like extra time, breaks, use of scribe or reader, access to a separate room, and specialised exam paper formats (enlarged font or coloured paper). During lectures, you can use portable recording devices, note-takers, sign language interpreters, and anything else you might need!

United States of America

1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

For the last 40 years, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor has been providing the best care for its students with disabilities. Its Services for Students with Disabilities department covers all aspects, starting from the visa letter to accommodation. With accessible housing, proctor options for out-of-residence exams, and the latest assistive technology, the university earned its place as one of the best disability-friendly colleges in the USA. Students with disabilities also get to enjoy services like adaptive sports, transportation resources, academic coaching, and employment opportunities. The university was also the first in the USA to build an adaptable technology lab. They are also known for their HathiTrust Digital Library and Modern Language Aptitude Testing.

2. University of Southern California

Another university that provides an extensive Disability Services Program which guides students with disabilities through anything they might need. The Disability Services Office offers its services to both students and faculty members, provided that they have the right paperwork and documentation. When it comes to accommodation, all you have to do is call the office beforehand to let them know your specific needs, and they’ll hook you up with the best options. The university also offers special accommodations for testing, note-taking, and free teaching. 

3. Northeastern University

In the College Choice ranking for the best disability-friendly college, Northeastern University comes in third place for its excellent Disability Resource Center. The unique aspect about this university is that its service and support for students with disabilities starts way before students are even on-campus with 5 online tutorial sessions that offer guidance while making the transition from high school to college. Some of the services offered by the university are accessible classroom spaces or furniture and assistive technology apps and devices that include text-to-speech software, audio recording devices, braille, as well as technology for visual recordings. In addition, the university generally encourages students’ self-determination to find the tools they need to succeed academically.

Toronto University Canada


1. University of Toronto

Being one of the top-ranked universities in Canada, the University of Toronto has over 2000 students with disabilities enrolling each year. This, of course, means that the university took the necessary steps to make its campus fully accessible and provide the best possible learning experience. The university has the option of students registering for Accessibility Services for academic accommodations to get suitable accommodations adaptable to their specific needs; you just need to get the right documentation for your case. 

Also, the university puts together a Transition Day in which students with disabilities learn about starting university and the services provided to make their on-campus experience more pleasant. In addition, there are private tutors available, a Social Association for Students with Autism (SASA), ADHD Peer Connections, accessibility advisor support, Accommodated Testing Services (ATS), outreach programming and workshops, and adaptive technologist support.

2. The University of British Columbia

Another disability-friendly college in Canada is the University of British Columbia (UBC), with a Centre for Accessibility that offers a wide range of services. You can register with their centre to receive services like exam adaptations or alternate-format material. Students also have access to mental health support and mobility training for students with visual impairments. Students with disabilities or chronic medical conditions get priority placement for on-campus housing to ensure they get the rooms most suited to their needs. 

There is a free, shared-ride service, the UBC Accessibility Shuttle, that can transport you to areas on-campus if needed. You can also check the university’s scholarships and bursaries offered to students with disabilities at UBC.

3. Alberta University of the Arts

This university has its own reputation for encouraging students with disabilities to apply to their programs. This is because the university gives priority to students with disabilities to admit to the programs they are most qualified for academically. The university also offers students with an injury, illness, or disability the option of Academic Accommodation, which are divided into basic accommodations and enhanced accommodations.

Basic accommodation include deferred exams, extended time for tests, flexibility with class attendance, extension on projects and assignments deadlines, distraction-free space for exams, and access to specialized computer software. As for enhanced accommodations that are subject to funding include private tutoring, specialized equipment, sign language interpreters, CART Services, learning strategist, and noise-cancelling headphones.

There you have it. These are the best disability-friendly colleges in each major study destination you might have in consideration. Now all that is left to do is pick a destination, choose a college major, and start applying for the best universities  Knowing all the services provided for students with disabilities, you can go in confident and relaxed that you will be able to excel both academically and socially. Of course, don’t forget to research grants for disabled students first!

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