Students with intellectual disabilities should not be left out of college-level classes, the American Psychological Association said on Thursday, as the group suggested that students with physical disabilities may not qualify for scholarships.
The APA, which represents more than 400,000 psychologists, said the number of students with intellectual or developmental disabilities could drop by nearly a third if universities are given more resources to assist students with disabilities.
It also called on schools to make it easier for students with developmental disabilities to receive scholarships.
“Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who need assistance with classroom instruction and academic needs should not fall below a level of proficiency, but they should not have to compete against students with normal intellectual abilities,” the APA said in a statement.
“Students may have special needs that may not be fully understood by other students.
Schools should help students with special needs develop as independent and capable students as possible, even if they are not yet ready for college or university.”
Some colleges are also taking steps to help students who need help to succeed.
Last year, California colleges added support for students who have developmental disabilities and other disabilities, like autism.
Other colleges are looking at ways to help disadvantaged students with academic and physical disabilities to succeed, the APAs statement said.
A spokesperson for the American Association of University Professors said the organization is “encouraging schools to support the needs of students who may be disabled or have disabilities and to ensure that they can access the best resources available for them.”
The Association has been pushing for the inclusion of students of color in college-age courses for years.
Teachers at the University of Missouri, the University at Buffalo, the Johns Hopkins University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Georgia Institute of Technology and several other schools have said that they are taking action to help more students with learning disabilities.
The APAs decision comes amid heightened awareness about the need to make higher education more accessible for students of different backgrounds.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed a law that creates a new federal “accelerator grant” to help states and schools with the costs of providing extra support for student financial aid.
At least six states are considering making it easier to award grants to students with financial needs.
Also this month a group of colleges, universities and student advocacy groups wrote to Trump asking for help.
They urged him to create a new fund for students on a path to college.