Deciding what to do after graduating high school is hard for everyone. Do you pursue a four-year or a two-year degree? Do you earn a certificate? Or do you go straight into the workforce? For students with disabilities, another question lingers: what options does someone with a disability have after high school?
According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, there are nearly 7 million students with disabilities in the U.S., accounting for 14% of national public school enrollment. If you live in Wisconsin and are a student with intellectual or developmental disabilities, or you’re the parent of a student with disabilities, you may be wondering which colleges in Wisconsin have a supportive environment for people with disabilities.
Here are ten Wisconsin colleges that are dedicated to ensuring equal opportunities for all students. With these critical programs in place, these post-secondary institutions are paving the way for students with disabilities to fully enjoy the college experience.
10 Colleges in Wisconsin for Students with Disabilities
- Shepherds College – Located in Union Grove, Wisconsin, Shepherds College is the country’s leading three-year post-secondary school for students with intellectual disabilities. By helping students develop vocational, social, and life skills while building awareness of God’s plan in their everyday lives, Shepherds College helps students achieve greater independence and ultimately their dreams.
- Edgewood College – The Cutting Edge Program at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, was the first program at a four-year college in the state to offer a fully inclusive college experience for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since its inception in 2007, the program has grown to offer individualized comprehensive services to support up to 24 students per academic year in the classroom, student housing, social experiences, and practicums/internships. They have also added two additional programs, to include Pre-College and Alumni Programs.
- Bethesda College – Bethesda College of Applied Learning is a unique, two-year post-secondary certificate program offered by a partnership between Bethesda Lutheran Communities and Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) in Mequon, Wisconsin. Through a “blended” model of instruction focused on individuals’ intellectual, vocational, social, personal, and spiritual growth, students are given opportunities to experience college fully and go on to live purposeful lives while being part of a greater community.
- University of Wisconsin – Whitewater – More than 1,000 students enrolled at UW – Whitewater identify as having a disability. In February 2020, the campus launched their LIFE initiative, which stands for “Learning is for Everyone.” The two- and four-year programs within the LIFE program aim to provide all students ages 18-25 with a complete college experience, while preparing them for independent living and competitive employment.
- University of Wisconsin – Platteville – UW – Platteville’s Services for Students with Disabilities is committed to working with students, faculty, and staff to ensure assessment of students’ abilities, not their disabilities. By helping students with disabilities obtain reasonable academic and non-academic accommodations, including auxiliary aids, the campus ensures accessibility and equal learning opportunities for all students.
- University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire – UW – Eau Claire complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by providing accommodations for all students who provide documentation of a disability. Such accommodations include: test accommodations, note takers, materials in alternative format, assistive technologies, tutoring, use of conveyance vehicles, and sign language interpreters. Additionally, their Services for Students with Disabilities center is committed to ensuring equal access to university programs, services and activities to all students.
- University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh – Project Success is a remedial program for UW – Oshkosh students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities. Through remedial instruction and multisensory phonics-based methodology, they help students become educationally independent in mathematics, spelling, reading, writing, comprehension, and study skills.
- University of Wisconsin – Green Bay – Student Accessibility Services at UW – Green Bay is a resource for post-secondary students with disabilities. They provide students the opportunity to reach their full potential by collaborating with faculty to create academic accommodations and support services along with promoting independence and self-advocacy.
- University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point – The Data and Assistive Technology Center (DATC) at UW – Stevens Point aims to create a learning environment that will help maximize opportunities for our students to succeed by providing accessibility, accommodation, and assistive technology services to students with disabilities. Additionally, they work individually with qualified students to identify, design, and implement an accommodation plan that will help them in acquiring equal access to their education.
- Waukesha County Technical College – Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) recognizes the vocational, career and learning needs of each student, and therefore, their student accessibility office provides a range of individualized services to ensure equal access and inclusion for students with disabilities to include: alternative media, low-distraction testing center, note taking assistance, transition services, and more.
Additional Resources for Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities
How can students with disabilities learn more about their options regarding inclusive post-secondary education?
The Think College website houses a wealth of resources for students, families, and professionals including a national database of post-secondary education options for students with disabilities.
Additionally, Think College Wisconsin is an online resource that serves to inform, connect, and support efforts to increase and expand upon postsecondary education options for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the State of Wisconsin.
Get a Head Start with Covey
Covey is a nonprofit organization in Appleton and Oshkosh, Wisconsin that provides an ecosystem geared toward personal growth for individuals with disabilities. People who engage with Covey’s numerous activities from volunteering in the community to developing daily living skills skills and pursuing new hobbies not only increase their social skills, but their social network as well.
Come see what Covey is all about! We are happy to help you find opportunities on your journey to greater independence. Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.