For more than 40 years, Edinboro University has been committed to providing educational, experiential and social opportunities for students with disabilities.
This spring, Best Value Schools classified Edinboro University’s Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) among the 25 Best Colleges for Students with Autism 2018 – recognizing Edinboro with the No. 9 national rank. The online higher-education resource and ranking website touted Edinboro’s Boro Autism Support Initiative for Success (BASIS), which was developed to help students with autism make a smooth transition to college life.
“The involvement of so many people on campus has allowed the program to grow and provide diversity and inclusion across Edinboro University,” said Lisa Laird, director of OSD who has overseen an increase in BASIS participants from two in 2015 to 22 this fall at Edinboro. “The Office for Students with Disabilities is grateful for the acknowledgment of the important autism support services we offer and are thankful to the campus community for being part of the collaborative effort.”
BASIS is comprised of individualized support programs for Edinboro students, which focuses on five key areas: academics, communication, daily living skills, employment readiness and social skills. BASIS also provides social and academic peer advising, weekly sessions with transition coaches, testing and classroom accommodations, writing services and social activities.
In addition to providing resources to students, Edinboro’s OSD offers resources, such as electronic exam materials, to faculty members to help promote accessibility and inclusion in the classroom. For the past two years, BASIS has also hosted an Autism Acceptance Walk around the main campus loop to provide participants with information and facts about autism.
Edinboro is one of five Pennsylvania schools ranked among the Top 25, and the only university in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Also recognized by Best Value Schools were Eastern University (No. 20), Mercyhurst University (No. 21), Saint Joseph’s University (No. 22) and Drexel University (No. 24).
Best Value Schools began ranking national higher-education institutions as the prevalence of autism diagnoses started to grow rapidly. In 2000, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control determined that the ratio of children born with some degree of autism was 1 in 150. In 2014, that ratio increased to 1 in 59.
To address the increased task of assisting students with autism, Best Value Schools researched thousands of institutions to rank colleges and universities based on cost and program offerings. Tuition and fees for an Edinboro University student in 2017-2018 was $10,281. BASIS services are offered at an additional $2,500 per semester, with potential funding available for students to offset the cost.
For more information about Edinboro University’s Office for Students with Disabilities and the BASIS program, visit www.edinboro.edu/OSD or contact Laird at (814) 732-1393.