Students with Learning Disabilities Thrive at Inclusive College

learning disabilities


Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida has a unique educational mission: to empower students with learning disabilities to achieve academic and career success. The private, nonprofit college is the only higher education institution in the country to offer accredited bachelor degree programs specifically designed for students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and other learning differences, including students on the spectrum.

Founded in 1989, Beacon College offers educational opportunities for students with learning disabilities by acknowledging and embracing individual learning needs. The college focuses on the essential skill of critical thinking and tailors its curriculum to the learning styles of a number of different learning disabilities. The college also encourages ongoing self-assessment to help students develop long-lasting tools for effective learning. Beacon’s teaching approach and mentoring services show a commitment to student success in academics and in preparing them to reach career and personal goals.

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This year Beacon College celebrates 25 years as an alternative to the traditional education model. Its effectiveness is seen in the comparative graduation rates of students with learning disabilities at mainstream colleges. Beacon College’s four-year graduate rate is 76 percent, while the six-year graduation rate for students with learning disabilities at traditional institutions is 16 percent. Nationally, the college graduation rate for students with learning disabilities is a dismal 6 percent within four years of entering college (Source: National Longitudinal Transition Study, 2009).

The college offers six career-focused majors: Business Management, Computer Information Systems (Web & Digital Media or Information Systems), Human Services, Interdisciplinary Studies, Psychology, and Studio Art. The Studio Art major is a recent addition to the college’s academics, following much interest expressed by students, and a new downtown building was just renovated near the college to house studios and a gallery.

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Attending a college designed specifically for learning disabilities has helped students achieve academic goals that once seemed unattainable and engage in personal growth. Find out more about how Beacon’s unique approach has empowered learning for two inspiring students.

learning disabilitiesJennie Friedman

Class of 2014’s valedictorian, Jennie Friedman’s determination and support for fellow students has left a lasting impact. Jennie came to Beacon as a transfer student who, like so many others, didn’t find the resources she needed at a traditional school. Jennie absorbed the support at Beacon and began giving back as a teaching assistant. She’s learned how to adapt her learning style, and today she’s succeeding in a traditional master’s degree program. She plans to counsel people with eating disorders. Read more…


learning disabilitiesRebecca Rasmussen

Known as Becca, this 2014 Beacon College graduate is honored to be the first student to earn the college’s new Studio Arts degree. Combining both digital media and studio art has allowed Becca to not only express herself creatively but also hone career-ready skills in graphic design. Becca’s captstone project was to host an exhibit of her own work at the college’s art gallery, an experience that helped her triumph over the anxiety of sharing her personal journey through her art. Read more…

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One Comment

  1. Nicole Aug 14, 2014 at 7:12 AM

    What a beautiful…beautiful thing. how to get involved?