Resource Library

Students interact with assistive technology for people who are blind or low vision.

FLEX, YES and YEAR Programs

International high school and university exchange students with diverse disabilities travel to Eugene, Oregon each July and August, for an orientation prior to the start of their academic year in host communities across the United States. The students are all recipients of prestigious scholarships from the U.S.

Illustrated collage of world landmark postage stamps and luggage tags with text: "Where do US citizens want to go? Where do international visitors to the US come from? Everywhere!" with list of world regions

Infographic: Ask NCDE!

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by Mobility International USA, NCDE is your free resource to start you on your journey. Get to know us!

Tip: Download the accessible infographic under Documents or view on Flickr.

A high school girl wearing a headscarf and sitting in a wheelchair rides the lift to board a yellow school bus.

Study at a U.S. High School

"American school is so neat," signs Belvion, a Deaf exchange student from Mozambique who communicates using sign language. "They've got libraries and computers and the teachers are great. I'm loving it."

Belvion is one of the many high school students with disabilities who come to the United States every year to live and study on an exchange program. Are you ready to be an exchange student too?


Students with Disabilities, by Program and Disability Type

YES Students with Disabilities by Disability Type (2007-2016), as shown on a pie chart.

44% Deaf/HOH
35% Blind/Low Vision
19% Physical Disability 
20% Non-apparent 

FLEX Students with Disabilities by Disability Type (2007-2016), as shown on a pie chart.

59% Physical Disability 
8% Deaf/HOH
4% Non-apparent 
29% Blind/Low Vision


FLEX and YES Students with Disabilities Combined, by Disability Type

Total Number of Students by Disability Type (2007-2016)

  • 40% Physical Disability 
  • 32% Blind/ Low Vision 
  • 25% Deaf/HOH
  • 2% Non-apparent

Students with Physical Disabilities

  • 37% Cerebral Palsy 
  • 11% Scoliosis 
  • 7% Short Stature 
  • 8% Amputee 
  • 3% Spina Bifida 
  • 1% Polio 
  • 1% Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
  • 32% Other 

Specialized vs. Mainstream School Placements

Percent of Deaf or Blind Students Placed at Specialized Schools vs. Mainstream Schools (2007-2016)

Illustrated by highlighted symbols of students and a schoolhouse

  • 50% of students who are Deaf are placed at specialized schools vs. in mainstream public schools 
  • 25% of students who are blind are placed at specialized schools vs. in mainstream public schools
A portion of an infographic highlighting total percentage of FLEX and YES students by disability type.

Infographics: Disability Inclusion in the FLEX and YES Programs, 2007-2016

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs are competitive, merit-based scholarship programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Over the last ten years, more than 250 students with disabilities from 37 countries have participated these life-changing youth programs.


FLEX and YES Students with Disabilities, 2007-2016

A line graph showing the total number of FLEX and YES Students with Disabilities, by Year, 2007-2016

Number of FLEX Students with Disabilities, by Year

  • 2007 = 16

  • 2008 = 14

  • 2009 = 12

  • 2010 = 12

  • 2011 = 12

  • 2012 = 14

  • 2013 = 9

  • 2014 = 20

  • 2015 = 11

  • 2016 = 14

Deaf female student from Malaysia stands in front of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf

High School Placements for Deaf Exchange Students

In the United States, the vast majority of secondary students with disabilities are mainstreamed in inclusive high schools per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). First passed in 1975, the IDEA is a powerful landmark civil rights law that guarantees access to a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) appropriate to every child with a disability.