Loras Named a Top 30 Small College for Students on the Autism Spectrum

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Loras College is the only school in Iowa to make a list of the top 30 small colleges for students on the autism spectrum by Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide.

“Loras College has provided supportive programming for students with disabilities since 1986,” said Lynn Gallagher, Ed.D., director of Disability Services at the Lynch Learning Center at Loras College. “The ARCH Program is another way to assist students with their learning and transition to college life.”

While the ranking by Best Value Schools starts with annual tuition cost, the research group focused on Loras’ ARCH Program. The four-year program, launched in 2015, is designed to help students with ASD thrive emotionally, academically and socially. Students work directly with certified autism specialists to hone skills ranging from self-advocacy and organization to stress management and socialization while earning their bachelor’s degree.

As Applied Behavior Analysis Program Guide explains, “Through the ARCH program, these students receive a full four years of support and mentorship. ARCH is frequently cited as one of the best ASD programs in the country.”

Students enrolled in the program meet weekly with their coach from the Loras College Lynch Learning Center. The Learning Center has provided programs for students with learning disabilities and ASD for nearly 30 years. In addition to skill-building, students receive specialized occupation prep, including job shadowing, internships and one-on-one career counseling.

While compiling their list, Applied Behavior Analysis Program Guide considered the following factors:

Size –  Schools with a student population of 10,000 or fewer.

Specialized Programs – colleges and universities which offer support and resources specific to students on the Autism Spectrum.

Overall Autism Friendliness – We also looked for additional examples of “autism friendliness,” such as buddy systems, special housing accommodations, and events meant to bring all students together.

Scholarships and Financial Support

The “It” Factor – other offerings notable for students with autism, such as autism-related research programs, courses on autism, schools founded specifically as places for those with learning differences, etc.

Loras’ Autism Specific Program offers an additional five-day summer transition program that is available to help students acclimate to campus and allow them to move in two days prior to first-year orientation. Students interested in the program should apply simultaneously to the College and through the Lynch Learning Center.

Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide is a free online resource for exploring the nation’s best degrees for future behavior analysts. Their mission is to provide expert guidance about the top universities helping students reach their career goals and become board certified.

For more information, go to www.loras.edu/lynch-learning-center or contact Gallagher at Lynn.Gallagher@loras.edu or 563.588.7921.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, 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. In 2019, Loras was the second-highest ranked Catholic college in the state of Iowa according to College Consensus, the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the third consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 10th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).