Choosing A Wheelchair-Friendly College

A college student in a wheelchair studies at his University

For some young adults, the next step after high school is college. People who use wheelchairs may want to research disability-friendly campuses when searching for the right school. Fortunately, there are many colleges that set the bar high and offer a safe and accessible environment.

The New Mobility Magazine and United Spinal Association created a guide to wheelchair-friendly colleges and higher education called Wheels on Campus. They surveyed hundreds of colleges to find reasonable options. In addition, they interviewed students that use wheelchairs and disability service leaders to help identify campuses that create wheelchair-friendly environments and cultures. Here are some of their findings.

History of Accessible Campuses

Although having physical access to buildings on campus may not be necessary, it is still part of the overall college experience. Since many colleges and universities have buildings that pre-date the 1900s, they were not build to be accessible for all users. During this COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of the college experience became virtual. However, students may still need to visit various locations on campus. All students should be able to enter all buildings, classrooms and dorm rooms at any time.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. According to the Wheels on Campus guide, since the passing of the ADA, “The nature and extent of disability services in national colleges and universities has undergone tremendous expansion.”

What to Ask When Looking for an Accessible College

The first step to choosing a college is doing the research, and those who use wheelchairs must conduct a thorough search to see if a college can meet their needs.

There are several questions you can ask when finding out if a college is right for you:

  • Can a wheelchair user enter all buildings on campus independently?
  • How many registered wheelchair-using students do you have on your campus?
  • What is the graduation rate of wheelchair-using students?
  • Can you tell me about your disability resource offices?
  • Can you tell me about the programs, advocacy groups, clubs and activities that help create a wheelchair-inclusive culture?
  • Do you have an accessible transportation system and call-in service?
  • What services and educational programs do you offer for students who need personal care assistance with activities of daily living?
  • What accessible sports programs do you offer?
  • Can you tell me about any nearby off-campus clinics and services?

In conclusion, choosing a college is a big decision. Make sure you ask many questions and consider all your options when choosing the right college for you.

To learn more about inclusive campuses and to find out the top 20 ranked wheelchair-friendly colleges, visit to view the digital edition. For more helpful wheelchair-friendly tips, you can visit

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.