Defiance College autism program receives national ranking

January 18, 2018

DEFIANCE, Ohio - The website Best Value Schools has named Defiance College as one of the 20 best value colleges in the country for students with autism.

The website ranked Defiance College sixth among the top 20 schools, lauding its ASD Affinity Program. It cited the program’s aim of tailoring services to each participant’s individual needs supported by yearly evaluations. It also recognized Defiance as offering one of the most robust residential programs on the top 20 list with its apartment-style housing for students on the autism spectrum, supervised by specially trained RAs.

The website examined all four-year, public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer supplementary assistance programs specifically for individuals with ASD. It then examined each program to assess quality and comprehensiveness of resources offered. Points were assigned in five categories – social, academic, functioning, employment (career training) and residential as well as each school’s net price and program fees.

The ASD Affinity Program builds on Defiance College’s success with its Hench Autism Studies Program in which high school students with autism receive high school level instruction on the DC campus in coordination with the Defiance City Schools.

The director of the Hench Autism Studies Program and the ASD Affinity Program is Dr. Clarissa Barnes. She notes that the ASD Affinity Program is designed to support students with ASD to have a true college experience so that they can participate in all aspects of college life.

"We are proud to be ranked so highly alongside other successful programs,” said Dr. Barnes. “The ASD Affinity Program provides the tools and conditions for students to succeed, but the degrees earned and personal victories celebrated are achieved through the hard work and dedication of the students themselves. We are grateful to be a part of a campus that has fully embraced our program and is dedicated to creating an equitable academic and social environment." 

Defiance’s ASD Affinity Program supports college students with ASD in reaching their full potential. Varying levels of academic, social and residential support are designed to aid students in meeting their personal and professional goals. Students receive a broad range of comprehensive services to enable them to adjust and succeed in a college environment.

Persons interested in learning more about Defiance College’s autism programs can visit the college website at

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is