Finding the best colleges for students with autism benefits both their guardians and, more so, the students themselves.
College is a thrilling experience but can easily be very tasking and demanding.
Making the transition into college a challenge to surmount.
For students with autism, college is more than just an academic challenge.
They would have to learn to live independently, stay organized, make new friends, and try to enjoy campus life.
Students with autism benefit greatly from personal, academic, and social support.
However, special education services end by age 21 or 22 for many students, depending on the state.
This deprives them of the previously provided “total support” and “accommodation” for schooling.
More than half of young adults with autism don’t attend college.
Of the 35 percent that later try to, they mostly don’t get admitted.
And if they do, they often drop out and do not finish.
Fortunately, there are several universities in the country with programs to help.
As a result, in this post, we’ve compiled a list of the best colleges for students with autism.
ALSO READ: 10 Best Colleges in Mississippi for Students
Table of Contents
List of Best Colleges for Students with Autism
Although there are many colleges with some aid programs for students with autism.
Below are a few of the best colleges for students with autism, who take it as a duty to ensure these students get all the help they need.
#1. Bellevue College
- Location: Bellevue, WA
- Annual Tuition: $3,230
- Program: Autism Spectrum Navigators
Bellevue College is the largest of colleges that make up the Washington community and technical college system.
Students here have a variety of degrees and learning options.
With the freedom to attend either online or on-campus classes as they choose.
Bellevue offers either a:
- two-year associate degrees
- technical degrees and certificates
- four-year bachelor degrees
The Autism Spectrum Navigators program (ASN) is specifically designed for students with autism at Bellevue.
The courses are so designed that they coincide with the student’s regular classes.
Skill development to career preparation.
In addition, this ASN program is freely accessible to students at no extra cost.
They also receive support from their teachers and peer mentors.
#2. Appalachian State University
- Location: Boone, North Carolina
- Annual tuition: Not Specified
Appalachian State University is a large public school that has a chapter of Autism Speaks Inc.
One of the largest autism advocacy organizations in the country.
This alone signifies that the school, its students, and the staff community understand the autism spectrum and are very supportive.
Through Autism Speaks Inc., Appalachian State University students with autism have access to the following:
- various social networking efforts
- special events
- academic and career services
- counseling, and much more
Moreso, Appalachian State University supports research efforts regarding autism.
It also offers courses on Autism Spectrum Disorders and even provides eligible students with Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificates.
#3. University of West Florida
- Location: Pensacola, Florida
- Annual Tuition: $7,798
- Program: Autism Training Center
The University of West Florida is also among the best colleges for students with autism.
It is a midsize public state university located on a natural preserve in Pensacola.
It provides a special program-Argos for Autism, where students receive one-on-one social, academic, and career support.
Students with autism may also move into campus early.
By doing so, they can benefit from two days of assistance to learn how to adjust and live independently.
This, however, attracts a $100 price, which is quite considerable for the services offered.
#4. Boston University
- Location: Boston, Massachusetts
- Annual Tuition: Not Specified
At Boston University, the Strategic Education Services (SES) are free to all students. Also, as a leading institution for autism research, it gears its services toward motivating students.
Helping them to pursue social interactions and build skills.
The Strategic Education Services at Boston University provides individual and personal assistance for students with psychiatric, developmental, and attentional disabilities.
Weekly one-on-one sessions are organized to aid students in developing skills in time management, organizing and planning, self-advocacy, and interpersonal skills.
#5. Edinboro University
- Location: Edinboro, PA
- Annual Tuition: $10,281
- Program: Boro Autism Support Initiative for Success (BASIS) Program
Edinboro university is doubtless one of the best colleges for students with autism.
Through its Boro Autism Support Initiative for Success (BASIS) which is an individualized support program that provides various services to the students concerned.
Such as social and academic regular sessions with a transition coach and peer advising.
They also have access to writing specialist services and social activities.
Additionally, Edinboro University has a modest cost for enrollment.
Edinboro University is interested in the student’s all-around development and can sometimes cater to extra costs that may arise.
#6. University of Connecticut
- Location: Storrs, Connecticut
- Annual Tuition: $11,998
- Program: SEAD (Strategic Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder)
At the University of Connecticut, the support for students with autism spectrum disorder begins on day one.
The Strategic Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (SEAD) program makes this possible.
Students are paired with staff and mentors to guide them in adjusting to college life while they attend the freshman seminar.
Through this program, the students get support and guidance in developing their skills.
Also, they prepare for their career and can continue to work with the Beyond Access Program throughout their stay in school.
However, joining the program costs about $1,800 to $3,600 per semester.
This pricing generally varies depending on the number of hours the student works with the instructor.
The skills learned on campus can be useful in social interactions and the job market.
#7. Western Michigan University
- Location: Kalamazoo, MI
- Annual Tuition: $12,174
- Program: Autism Services Center
The autism service center at Western Michigan University offers a unique opportunity for students to start life at a good pace.
Students who participate have the option of arriving on campus during the summer.
This happens weeks before classes begin.
This helps them settle in, enroll in classes, and even complete some part-time jobs assigned to them.
By doing so, they can learn about the campus better.
Once school begins, available services expand to peer mentoring through:
- the “Best Buddies” program
- organized social events
- Informational services like “Test Taking Skills” and “Dating 101” are also available for those who need them
Read More: 10 Best Shoes for College Guys in the World
#8. Rutgers University
- Location: New Brunswick, NJ
- Annual Tuition: $11,619
- Program: DDDC (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center)
The Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University is an ABA program.
It provides specialized education services and behavior intervention throughout a full day.
Thus serving the needs of students with autism and their families.
Also, it is the largest university in New Jersey and one of the country’s most autism-friendly universities!
Rutgers University is one of the best colleges for students with autism syndrome disorder.
Through the DDDC, Rutgers can facilitate various accommodations for those in need. Examples might include:
- arranging a single dorm
pairing students with neurotypical mentors who can help expand their social network
- arranging a peer mentor to attend club meetings with them for support.
#9. University of Alabama
- Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
- Annual Tuition: $11,580
- Program: UA-ACTS Program (University of Alabama, ASD College Transition and Support)
The University of Alabama ASD College Transition and Support (UA-ACTS) program equips students with Autism Spectrum Disorders to safely and successfully attend such a large university.
The program greatly helps students acclimate to college life on campus.
The program offers personal training from faculty members, students, and clinical psychologists to autistic students.
The program’s founders hope that through it, college students with autism at the University of Alabama gain the necessary skills.
Skills to thrive in their college lives and become independent adults who succeed in their careers.
It provides such services as:
- routine check-ins
- one-on-one academic advising
- guidance in communicating with peers and professors
- mental health care, and more.
#10. Fairleigh Dickinson University
- Location: Madison, NJ
- Program: COMPASS Program
- Annual Tuition: $44,145
The COMPASS program at Fairleigh Dickinson University aims to identify the strengths and develop new skills.
All in a bid to progress to a higher level of independence.
High-functioning students stand to benefit massively from this two-year program.
Since it is so structured for students participating in it to access weekly therapy, counseling, and academic guidance.
These supports are available on a both in-group and individual basis.
However, only six students are accepted into the program each year.
This small group increases their personalized access to the various aids available, and the group setting is generally unintimidating.
Each year, the university offers a scholarship to one of the students in the program to help offset the cost.
ALSO READ: Best Cars for College Students
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Colleges for Students with Autism 2024
What is the best college for autism?
Above, we’ve provided a comprehensive list of some of the best colleges for autism and the services they offer.
What state has the best schools for autism?
Colorado. Colorado was found to be the state with the best schools for autism.
Whereas Virginia offered the least support to students with autism.
Can an autistic child become normal?
Many with autism or autism spectrum disorder can live normal lives.
However, in severe cases, an autistic child may never learn how to speak or make eye contact.
How many autistic kids go to college?
Following the findings of a 2011 study, about 17 percent of young adults with autism enroll in a 4-year college.
This figure is relatively low compared to the 21 percent of young adults with learning disabilities and 40 percent of people with visual or hearing impairments.
Being a student in college can be incredibly challenging, more so, if you have an underlying condition.
We’ve highlighted some of the best colleges for students with autism.
These colleges have evolved in their care, support, and assistance toward students with autism.
They try to make college life as stress-free as possible for them.
Looking up a few of them will go a great lengths to help you secure the best program for any student with autism.