Loras College 11th among ‘disability friendly’ schools

DUBUQUE, Iowa – ‎Loras College ranks 11th among the 50 Best Disability Friendly Colleges and Universities, according to College Choice, a publication that reviews and rates the nation’s colleges and universities to help students find the right school.

Schools that made the list exceeded the minimum legal requirements for accessibility and were also evaluated and ranked based on characteristics such as academic reputation, student satisfaction, affordability, average financial aid awarded, and return on investment.

“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,” said Katie Brownell Amondson, associate editor of College Choice.

Loras College features the Lynch Learning Center (LLC) that offers three levels of direction and support for students with diagnosed disabilities. The center has provided a focused, comprehensive program for students with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder for nearly 30 years.

In 2015, the center launched a four-year program specifically designed to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) thrive emotionally, academically and socially as they work toward a bachelor’s degree. Students enrolled in the program participate in regular meetings with a certified autism specialist as they work through processes of self-advocacy, stress management, and organization.

In addition to skill building, students receive specialized career prep including job shadowing, career fairs, internships and one-on-one résumé and cover letter counseling.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in 68 children is diagnosed with some form of autism—a number that has risen 17 percent per year since the mid-1990s—Loras is one of few institutions that offers a dedicated, four-degree, ASD program.

A fee is charged for the ASD program and an additional five-day summer transition program is available to help students acclimate to campus and allow them to move in two days prior to first-year orientation. Loras College also offers accommodation services that include consultation with LLC staff to determine how services like less-distracting testing environments, extended-time testing, and assistive technology can benefit them.

Students interested in the new program should apply simultaneously to the college and through the LLC. For more information or to apply, please contact Lynn  Gallagher, director of disability services at the LLC, at Lynn.Gallagher@loras.edu or (563) 588-7921.

About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. According to the 2016 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, Loras College was named the 13th Best Regional College: Midwest. Visit www.loras.edu for more information.jenn