Jeff Snell, '10, an exercise science and chemistry major, came to Ball State soon after breaking his back in a car accident at age 18. He faced many challenges at that time, but getting to class, work, and social activities around campus was never one of them.
At Ball State, accessibility goes beyond ramps and elevators. Students like Snell find the support to pursue their dreams. Depending on the needs of the individual, it might mean providing special computer software, finding textbooks on CD, or employing note-takers. The strategies are many, but the university’s goal for all students is the same—equal access to an education.
This philosophy has helped Ball State become known as one of the most accessible campuses in the nation. While many schools have difficulty retaining students with disabilities, Ball State’s retention rates are almost the same as for students without disabilities. A recent study also found that more Ball State graduates with disabilities are employed at levels commensurate with their educations.
“It’s just been a mentality on campus,” says Larry Markle, director of the Office of Disabled Student Development. “Tradition and culture and a decision by administrators years back are why we have this reputation.”