Some people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities choose to pursue higher education. There are many organizations and informational resources that can help people with disabilities navigate the application process, accessibility issues, and financial matters associated with college and continuing education.
Support and Advocacy Organizations for People with Disabilities in Higher Education
Think College is run by the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston. They promote opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to pursue higher education by informing public policy, guiding institutional change, and more. Use their “What’s Happening in Your State” map to learn more about state-specific programs. You can also use their “Find a College” resource to search for educational opportunities by location, program features, and keywords. Many of the programs highlighted on the site emphasize vocational training and career pathways to help people with intellectual disabilities find future employment more easily.
AHEAD offers professional development and networking opportunities for people with disabilities. This includes an annual international conference, during which participants from a wide variety of fields discuss ways to foster equality in higher education. AHEAD also informs its members on legislative issues related to higher education and disability, as well as promotes research and evidence-based practice.
NCCSD is a federally-funded organization with a large resource library on topics related to disability and higher education. They also run a college student support group called DREAM (Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring). Moreover, NCCSD conducts research on disability services at U.S. campuses. Their findings are reported to the U.S. Department of Education, and also shared with the public.
Financial resources relating to higher education for individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities include:
- BestColleges.com Scholarships for Disabled Students Listings
- Scholarships.com Disability Scholarships.
- ThinkCollege! Paying for College
- Affordable Colleges Online College Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities
- Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities [PDF]
Meet Chris Lenart, the Founder of Disability Awareness. This is the first in a series of guest blog posts Chris Lenart has written for the HIE Help Center. Here, he discusses some of his experiences navigating higher education and employment.