Celiac Complicates Your College Search

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

NEWS FLASH 2/21/2019!!:

N.J. Rider University settles claims it violated gluten-free student's ADA rights


It is a bummer that celiac has to factor at all into your college search. Even though it’s been 7 years since Lesley University was found to be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for forcing kids with celiac disease to be on a meal plan and then not feeding them, colleges are having mixed results meeting the gluten-free challenge. It is striking how varied the success rate has been.

After completing the Beyond Celiac GREAT Schools, Colleges, & Camps Training, I gained an increased appreciation for how hard it is for dining halls to get this right and then keep it that way. (GREAT stands for Gluten-Free Resource Education Awareness Training.) Even once schools and food service companies go through terrific programs like GREAT or AllerTrain and establish good protocols, if ongoing training and auditing is not in place, staff turnover can undo all that hard work. The dining hall is only as safe as its weakest link.

Below are some sample quotes from Gluten Free Travel Site just to give you a sense of how varied the experience can be. Please note that most colleges were reviewed by only one student at a single point in time, so research more fully before making any conclusions. (See our Celiac College Survey Responses for additional on-the-ground student feedback. We are so excited about our survey initiative and will continue to post as surveys are received!)

Thumbs UP

“Auburn has a dedicated Gluten-free only Diner on campus- the first one in the country!”

Auburn University, AL

“... does not have an official gluten free menu but the dining services have been willing to work with me. ...Eating gluten free at college has turned out easier than I expected.”

Baylor University, TX

“Great meal service, amazing gluten free options for those who are Gluten Free, Celiac, and intolerant.”

Bennington College, VT

“...GREAT for gluten free students!”

Brown University, RI

“Risley Dining Room ... now certified 100% gluten-free, tree-nut-free, and peanut-free.”

Cornell University, NY

“I am impressed with the relationships the chefs are able to develop with students...

I received an email saying that he had made an entire flourless cake for me and wanted me to come pick it up.”

Rice University, TX