The Best Colleges for Autistic Students in 2022 (& Why)

Photo of author


Posted On

The good news is that autism has been cured, and the age of acceptance will soon be upon us. The bad news? It’s not going to make it easy for people like Emily who are still autistic. How they’re prepared to handle their new lives in a society where so many things have changed remains unclear at best

The “best colleges for students with asperger’s” is a question that has been asked many times. There are many factors to consider when looking at the best colleges, but in this article, I have provided some of the most important factors to consider.


Autism presents specific obstacles for students, making the adjustment to college life challenging. Fortunately, there are several organizations around the nation committed to making that transition easier for college students with autism, allowing them to enjoy their time in college.

In 2022, colleges around the nation will provide programs for students with autism who might benefit from extra supports such as academic modifications, peer mentorship, social skills coaching, and assistance learning to live independently. These on-campus initiatives aim to raise autism awareness while also assisting autistic individuals in achieving their full potential in college.

Many organizations also assist autistic kids in making the transition from school to job.

Being an Autistic Student in College

College provides more than academic hurdles to individuals with autism. Students must learn to live independently, make new acquaintances, arrange themselves, and negotiate campus life. Fortunately, colleges and universities around the nation provide academic, psychological, and social assistance to students with autism.

Autism affects young people in a number of ways, making it more difficult for them to transition to college life and function better academically than neurotypical individuals. Many autistic kids are well aware of their abilities and limitations. They are generally aware that further academic and personal help would be very beneficial to them.

The following are some of the difficulties that college students on the spectrum often face:

  • Issues with organization.
  • Executive dysfunction is a problem.
  • Problems of living on one’s own.
  • Growing older and losing access to school-based help.
  • Social and emotional problems
  • Problems in transition planning.
  • Limitations of self-advocacy
  • Needed accommodations are available.
  • Anxiety and a sense of being overburdened.

Special education assistance for many kids stop at the age of 21 or 22, depending on their place of residency. Many others are transitioned out of the military by the age of sixteen. Losing important classroom supports and accommodations may make life much more difficult for children who have relied on such supports and accommodations throughout their schooling.

To help with this transition, there are a variety of programs designed specifically for kids with autism that are accessible throughout the United States. The objective is to help these kids succeed in college and beyond.

Top College Programs for Autistic Students

In 2022, as the number of students with autism continues to rise throughout the nation, as does awareness and knowledge of the illness, a rising number of schools and universities will offer autism programs on their campuses. Many of the programs provide academic and social assistance as well as a focus on job preparedness for life after college.

Here is a list of some of the best college programs for students with autism:

  • Appalachian State University’s Scholars with Diverse Abilities program provides college-aged individuals with intellectual impairments with the skills they need to succeed in their careers. Students attend classes and participate in on-campus events with other university students, and they have full access to all university programs and services.
  • Access Plus at Nova Southeastern University is a collegiate assistance program for students with autism who are enrolled at the university. Academic accomplishment, independent living skills, and participation in campus activities are all supported by the program. Daily study hall sessions, weekly psycho-educational groups, residential support, and help with scheduling and keeping structure are just a few of the services available.
  • Boston University’s Strategic Education Services program offers students with psychiatric, attentional, and developmental problems with targeted, practical help. Students gain abilities in time management, planning and organization, study and test taking, self-advocacy, and interpersonal skills via weekly one-on-one sessions. Furthermore, acceptable adjustments and services are agreed upon, as well as recommendations to other university resources.
  • The Drexel Autism Support Program promotes academic and social competency, self-advocacy, independent living, and social integration skills through one-on-one peer mentoring, supplemental case management with trained staff, workshops, structured and unstructured social events, and collaborations with other campus departments like the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Steinbright Career Development Center, and the Dragon Scholars Program.
  • Eastern Michigan University’s College Supports Program aims to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders, establish a pleasant academic environment, enhance university service coordination, fulfill each student’s specialized requirements, and assist students in becoming self-sufficient individuals.
  • Bellevue College’s Neurodiversity Navigators program provides educational opportunities as well as specialized advocacy and access services, in addition to the Disability Resource Center’s accommodations. The program aims to improve executive functioning, self-advocacy, and job preparation in order to improve academic achievement.
  • Eastern Illinois University’s Students with Autism Transitional Education Program (STEP) offers increased assistance in academic, social, and daily living areas beyond what is needed by the ADA in order to reduce the barriers of transferring to college life.
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University’s COMPASS program provides high-functioning individuals on the autistic spectrum with tailored comprehensive, academic, and social assistance. It is a two-year curriculum that assists individuals in identifying their strengths, learning new skills, and progressing toward greater independence.
  • The Boro Autism Support Initiative for Success (BASIS) at Edinboro University is an individualized support program that offers social and academic peer advising, regular sessions with a transition coach, classroom accommodations, testing modifications, writing specialist services, and social activities, among other things.
  • Beacon Institution: Beacon is the first recognized college to provide four-year degrees designed particularly for students with learning difficulties. It offers bachelor’s and associate degrees in a variety of fields. Transition programs are available, as well as continuous assistance and an emphasis on acquiring practical experience.
  • The Mason Autistic Support Initiative at George Mason University employs a team-based approach to offer extra support services to students on the autism spectrum. Students in the program get access to a learning strategist once or twice a week, peer mentors once or twice a week, monthly social events, and half-credit tailored courses on themes including transitioning to college, social skills, campus resources, job preparedness, and independence.
  • Rutgers University’s Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center is an ABA program that caters to the requirements of autistic students and their families. A full-day, extended school year program for kids up to the age of 21 provides specialized education and behavior intervention services.
  • University of Idaho: Autistic students at the University of Idaho benefit from the Ravens Scholar Program, which provides tailored assistance to aid with the transition to college. Weekly planning meetings, peer mentorship, academic help, individual skills coaching, life and social skills seminars, monthly social events, advocacy, service learning activities, and access to the Raven Scholars Student Lounge are just a few of the resources available.
  • Marshall University: Marshall University’s West Virginia Autism Training Center is a collegiate program that provides tailored support to students with autism so that they may achieve their academic and personal objectives. The center’s mission is to assist students in achieving the kind of life they want.
  • Western Kentucky University’s Kelly Autism Program provides individualized education planning, classroom modifications, tutoring, involvement in community events, social and leisure activities, employment coaching, and parent assistance to students on the autism spectrum.
  • Kent State University has a number of autism-related activities, including a college achievement program for autistic students and Partnering for Achievement and Learning Success (PALS). The programs provide assistance and resources to help students succeed on campus. It also seeks to raise awareness and understanding of autism.

The following is a list of schools and institutions that have programs designed exclusively for students with autism. In 2022, college students with autism will have a plethora of options for receiving the tailored support services they need to be academically and socially successful.

Autistic Students Can Enroll in Online College Programs

An on-campus college program may not be the ideal match for you or your autistic kid for a variety of reasons. Many online college programs that help autistic students are available to students with autism who want to obtain a college degree but would feel more comfortable doing it from home. The entire expense of on-campus programs may sometimes make living on campus unaffordable. Living on campus may not be a viable choice for some persons with severe autism.

When deciding between an online and on-campus education, there are trade-offs to consider. On-campus programs might offer students with services that aren’t necessarily available online. The majority of autism programs on campus provide specialized assistance, such as:

  • Support for your research.
  • Opportunities for peer mentorship.
  • Individual and group therapy are available.
  • Academic tutoring and assistance on a one-on-one basis.
  • Social gatherings that have been planned.
  • Advice on a career path.

Choosing a College

When Choosing a College, the most important things to keep in mind are your personal needs and goals. Take the time to find a college program that interests you while providing opportunities for you to meet your academic and professional goals. The right program will offer reasonable and helpful support and services to help you achieve those goals.

When it comes to specialized college programs, autistic students will have more alternatives than ever before in 2022. Autistic students who enroll in these programs have a better chance of succeeding in college than those who enroll in conventional programs. The added encouragement and support students get may make a significant difference in their academic progress and overall college experience.


With Autism, I’m Going to College. The Child Mind Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the

Scholars with a Wide Range of Skills Appalachian State University is a public university in Appalachia, North Carolina.

Beacon College is a private liberal arts college located in Beacon, New York Beacon College is a liberal arts college in Boston, Massachusetts.

Navigators for Neurodiversity. Bellevue College is a private college in Bellevue, Washington.

Services for Strategic Education (SES). Boston University is a public research university in Boston, Massachusetts.

Autism Support Program at Drexel University. Drexel University is a university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Transitional Education Program for Students with Autism (STEP). Eastern Illinois University is a public university in Eastern Illinois.

College can help you. Eastern Michigan University is a public university in Michigan.

Success for the Boro Autism Support Initiative. Edinboro University is located in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

Nova Southeastern University’s Access Plus program.

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s COMPASS program.

Autism Support Initiative at Mason (MASI). George Mason University is a public research university in Fairfax, Virginia.

The Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center is a facility for people with developmental disabilities. The Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University.

Raven Scholars is a program for students who are interested in learning more about the Idaho State University is a public university in Idaho.

Autism Training Center at VW. Marshall University is a public university in the United States.

Western Kentucky University’s Kelly Autism Program.

Initiatives for Autism. Kent State University is a public university in Kent, Ohio.

Education beyond high school (College or University). Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about

Families: Learn How to Find Autism-Friendly College. (November 2017). U.S. News & World Report.

How Can Colleges Prepare for Autism Students? (April 2018). Spectrum.

Making the Transition to College The Autism Research Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to researching autism

The “asperger friendly colleges” is a term that has been used in the past, but it’s not clear what it means. In this article, I will discuss the best colleges for autistic students in 2022 and why.

Related Tags

  • best college majors for autistic students
  • high functioning autism and college
  • best colleges for neurodiverse students
  • best schools for high functioning autism
  • 10 impressive special college programs for students with autism

Related Content

What is the Evolution of Autism Genes?

A new study looks at how autism genes have changed over time, providing insights into the evolution of the condition. ...

Is ABA Therapy Covered by Medicaid?

ABA therapy is a type of treatment that can help people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is covered by ...

What is Autism Shadow Syndrome?

A new study sheds light on a little-known condition that may be affecting more people with autism than previously thought. ...