Dyslexia is a specific type of learning disability that affects an individual's language-based processing skills. Symptoms are most often related to reading comprehension and fluency but can also impact a person's ability to write, spell, or even speak articulately. Other signs of dyslexia include difficulty with handwriting and trouble remembering certain words. To learn more, visit the Learning Disabilities Association of America.
College students who suffer from dyslexia may have a particularly difficult time keeping up with the demands of their coursework. While this learning disability doesn't affect general intelligence, it can turn an otherwise reasonable task – like reading a textbook or writing an assignment by hand – into an extreme challenge. Fortunately, some colleges provide support programs and accommodations to help dyslexic undergrads reach their academic potential.
The 15 Best Value Dyslexia College Programs Methodology
To find the best programs, we searched far and wide for all the four-year, public and private (non-profit) colleges in the U.S. that provide special academic support programs for students with disabilities (not counting typical, government-mandated disability services). We then completed a careful review of each program, assigning points to each school based on how closely its services address the needs of students with dyslexia.
We gave programs 1 to 5 points (1 = non-existent and 5 = comprehensive/highest quality) in each of five categories of support:
- Assistive Technology
- Academic tutoring and/or skill development coaching specifically related to reading/writing
- Special courses to help students develop their reading/writing abilities and/or improve their study skills
- Reading and/or writing-related workshops
- On-campus and/or online writing center services
Schools also earned an extra 2-point boost if they offer any scholarships specifically for students with dyslexia.
Finally, we factored in annual expenses by looking at each college's net price, as reported by College Navigator. We subtracted points from each school's overall score based on this approximate annual cost. For example, a school with a net price of $20,500/year would lose 2.5 points from its total.
The final outcome was a ranking of the top 15 colleges for dyslexics. Keep scrolling to find out more!
15. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University's Center for Student Accessibility is the home of Project SUCCESS, a comprehensive initiative designed to accommodate the needs of differently-abled students. In particular, features like academic coaching, individualized tutoring, and focus groups help establish a robust social and intellectual support network for undergrads with divergent learning styles. EKU also offers general disability services that will appeal specifically to those with dyslexia, including note taking services, assistive reading and writing technology, and test accommodations. But what really makes EKU a top college for dyslexic students is its scholarship program, which includes the Agee Scholarship for applicants with dyslexia and/or another reading-based learning disability.
Net Price: $12,492/yr
14. Muskingum University
New Concord, OH
A top dyslexia college program, Muskingum University's PLUS Program provides an array of targeted services that make high achievement a possibility for learning disabled students. Participants can choose from three varying levels of support, of which the most intensive is known as "Full-service." At this level, program members receive between three to five hours of professional contact (e.g., tutoring, counseling, etc.) per week. Most incoming freshmen who join PLUS begin at the full-service level, gradually transitioning to the next stage – known as "Maintenance" – after meeting their preliminary goals. And finally, upperclassmen may graduate to the "Independence" level once they've shown they can be academically successful without tutorial support.
Net Price: $19,005/yr
13. East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN
Learning Support Program
East Tennessee State University's Learning Support Program is a little different than the other options on this ranking of the best colleges for dyslexics. In fact, it is not strictly designed for learning-disabled students at all, but more generally for individuals whose basic academic skills in Math and English (both reading and writing) could use some extra work. At the heart of the program is individualized advising: LSP pairs qualifying undergraduates with professional counselors who help them establish goals and meet regular academic benchmarks. These advisors also perform all the legwork to locate the specific resources each student needs to succeed, whether it be subject tutoring, testing accommodations, or assistive technology.
Net Price: $14,646/yr
12. Beacon College
Beacon College is another unique option on our list of top dyslexia college programs. Why? Because the entire school caters exclusively to students with learning disabilities! Undergrads at Beacon will find themselves surrounded by plenty of like-minded learners, plus they can take advantage of generous academic support. One example of this support is the Center for Student Success, which offers personalized assistance for those with divergent learning styles like dyslexia. Participants work regularly with peer tutors and professional learning specialists to develop the core competencies (in exam preparation, note taking, etc.) they need to make continuous progress throughout their academic careers.
Net Price: $38,054/yr
11. Landmark College
Like Beacon, Landmark College is one of the only schools in the country to exclusively admit learning-disabled students. And while it may not have a specific program for dyslexia, that hardly prevents it from being one of the nation's best colleges for dyslexic students. To begin with, Landmark employs professional academic coaches, all of whom have extensive experience in leadership/life coaching as well as executive function disorders. These certified instructors are available to all students regardless of ability and will work with them one-on-one to develop productive habits and study skills. Landmark also offers a host of educational technologies – like Kurzweil 3000 (text-to-speech) and Dragon NaturallySpeaking (speech-to-text) – that can make a world of difference for undergrads with dyslexia.
Net Price: $36,984/yr
10. Nicholls State University
Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders
Unlike many of the other schools on this list, Nicholls State University actually offers a dedicated dyslexia college program – in addition to all its other general disability support services! Housed within the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders, this program provides personal advising, testing accommodations, assistive technology, and more to undergrads with a variety of learning challenges. But the center's list of dyslexia-specific accommodations is even more considerable, ranging from preferential classroom seating and peer note takers to extended assignment deadlines and supplementary review. Dyslexic students can also request just about any course content on tape, including lectures, textbooks, assignments, and homework solutions.
Net Price: $9,892/yr
9. Marshall University
Thanks to the College H.E.L.P. Program, Marshall University now ranks among the best colleges for dyslexic students. H.E.L.P.'s resources, which span academic, social, and psychological aid, are specifically designed to assist with learning disorders like ADHD and dyslexia. The Skills Development Program, for example, goes beyond academic tutoring to help qualifying undergrads develop confidence in the areas they need it most. For individuals with dyslexia, these sessions often focus on reading (rate and fluency, decoding and encoding, etc.) and writing (mechanics, grammar, structure, etc.) instruction. In addition, H.E.L.P. can provide note taking training, scribes for test taking, and exam preparation/coaching to ensure students are equipped with the strategies they need to succeed in the classroom.
Net Price: $9,240/yr
8. Mount St. Joseph University
Like most colleges, Mount St. Joseph University offers a number of accommodations for learning disabled students completely free of charge. But it is the school's fee-based disability services program, dubbed Project EXCEL, which truly earns MSJU its top spot on this list. Considering it also has one of the lowest net costs of all the schools on our ranking, MSJU – and Project EXCEL by extension – is virtually second to none among high value, affordable dyslexia college programs. From scheduled tutoring in every subject to professional academic coaching on a weekly basis, Project EXCEL works individually with each program member to ensure that those with dyslexia and/or other related disabilities don't fall through the cracks.
Net Price: $18,140/yr
6. Schreiner University (TIED)
Learning Support Services
Schreiner University's affordable dyslexia college program offers some of the most diverse and exhaustive learning support services on this list. The standard offerings – academic advising, individualized tutoring, and note-taking services, to name a few – are just the beginning of the resources available to qualifying students. In fact, those enrolled in the Learning Support Services (LSS) program are also eligible for personalized study skills development, alternative testing options, and even recorded textbooks. As an additional perk, Schreiner holds a formal dinner once a year in recognition of the achievements of top students in the LSS program.
Net Price: $20,369/yr
6. Westminster College
Learning Difference Program (LDP)
Among the best colleges for dyslexic students, Westminster provides a range of support services and accommodations that few can match. To be sure, individualized academic advising – like many other schools – comprises the core of Westminster's Learning Differences Program (LDP). But most of the similarities end there. Students in LDP also participate in regular goal-setting and progress-monitoring meetings with professional advisors, who double as student-faculty liaisons and can provide referrals for a host of supplementary support services. These additional resources are far too numerous to list in their entirety but include an Academic Survival Skills Workshop, courses with alternative delivery methods, audio books, and extended test time.
Net Price: $20,473/yr
5. Southern Methodist University
Academic Coaching for Students with LD/ADHD
Southern Methodist University's Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center is home to extensive academic and professional resources, most of which are available to any students who present need. But for those diagnosed with dyslexia (or another specific learning disability), SMU ups the ante. From academic coaching and educational planning to peer mentoring and subject-specific tutoring, SMU goes above and beyond to galvanize success among dyslexic students. But what truly distinguishes SMU as a top college for dyslexics is its targeted HDEV 1110 course. Titled "Reading and Learning Strategies for Students with LD/ADHD," this class helps course members understand their unique learning style while improving their reading rate/comprehension.
Net Price: $36,602/yr
4. Limestone College
Program for Alternative Learning Styles (PALS)
Like many other top colleges for dyslexics, Limestone offers a robust, fee-based support program that is designed to meet the diverse needs of students with many different learning disabilities. But despite the ambitious breadth of the school's Program for Alternative Learning Styles (PALS), it still manages to target a number of issues that plague dyslexics specifically. These include writing workshops, supervised study halls, and a one-credit course on study strategies, among other services. Qualifying undergrads even receive supplementary academic advising (with a focus on individual learning needs) and personal test proctors. It's no wonder the program boasts such a remarkable success rate; nearly 90% of participants have a GPA of 2.0 or higher!
Net Price: $22,324/yr
3. Curry College
Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL)
Like the SALT Center, Curry College's Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) is one of the leading support programs for undergraduates with learning disabilities. In fact, PAL is so widely regarded that nearly 20% of every incoming class enrolls in the program! But unlike SALT (and most other competing programs), PAL actually features its own curriculum, which introduces enrolled undergraduates to a number of innovative learning strategies. PAL is also notable for its ample and affordable scholarships for dyslexia, which are available on a merit- as well as need-based basis.
Net Price: $31,104/yr
2. The University of Arizona
Founded all the way back in 1980, The University of Arizona's Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center has long since earned its reputation as one of the best dyslexia college programs in the country, if not the world. Over the years, the SALT Center has developed a number of innovative approaches to non-traditional learning, not least of which is its use of individualized learning plans (ILPs). Combining tutoring, writing support, and academic coaching/planning, ILPs pair SALT Center members with Strategic Learning Specialists who construct an entire support model around their individual needs.
Net Price: $15,591/yr
1. West Virginia Wesleyan College
The Learning Center
West Virginia Wesleyan College's Learning Center provides such a vast panoply of support services that it would be impossible to enumerate them all in such a short space. Of course some of them – such as the Mentoring Advantage Program and Assistive Technology Lab – have much in common with other top dyslexia college programs. But perhaps the most compelling of WVWC's support services is its incorporation of Lindamood-Bell learning techniques. For more than two decades, students at WVWC have been able to take advantage of special classes utilizing this tried-and-true approach to improving verbal expression and reading comprehension. This strategy – combined with the university's many other top-notch resources – makes WVWC an exceptional resource for college students with dyslexia.
Net Price: $18,521/yr
Thanks for reading our ranking of the 15 top colleges for dyslexic students!