Higher Education and Disability

The US Government Accountability Office recently released a report titled "Higher Education and Disability: Education Needs a Coordinated Approach to Improve Its Assistance to Schools in Supporting Students" The full report is online at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-33

Below are some of the many interesting points:

  • More students with disabilities are pursuing higher education
  • In particular, veterans with newly acquired disabilities are enrolling at high rates
  • In general, students with disabilities are similar to their peers without disabilities
  • Assistive technology has expanded educational opportunities
  • Awareness of disability and accessibility needs to increase
 

National Trends

A few highlights from the report cited above

 Characteristic

Students with Disabilities

Students without Disabilities

2000
2008
2000
2008
Female 59.3 57.7 56.3 57.1
Male 40.7 42.3 43.7 42.9
White 72.3 67.4 68.1 62.5
Black or African American
11.5 13.2 12.3 14.5
Hispanic or Latino
7.9 11.3 10.4 13.4
Asian 2 3.5 4.5 5.4
American Indian or Alaska Native
2 .8 .7 .9
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
.9 .6 .7 .7
Other 1.2 .3 1.5 .3
More than one race
2.3 2.9 1.8 2.3
Age 23 or Younger
42.5 54.9 59.9 61.5
24-29 16.6 20.2 16.9 16.8
30 or Older
41 25 23.2 21.6

Breakdown of main type of disability

 Main type of disability reported by students in higher education from 2000, 2004, and 2008

Main Type of Disability

2000

2004

2008

 Mental, emotional, or psychiatric condition/depression 17.1 22.3 24.3
 Attention deficit disorder (ADD) 6.7 11.6 19.1
 Orthopedic or mobility impairment 29 24.8 15.1
 Other 13.2 5.8 15
 Specific learning disability, dyslexia 5 7.7 8.9
 Hearing impairment 6.8 4.7 6.1
 Health impairment or problem 15.1 17.3 5.8
 Blindness or visual impairment 5.2 3.7 2.7
 Speech or language impairment .3 .5 .7
 Brain injury 1.2 1 1.7
 Developmental disability .6 .6 .7







 

 

UAA Students

Note that demographic data for DSS students is consistent with national norms for the most part, though we have at times had higher rates of students disclosing specific learning disabilities, higher rates of orthopedic or mobility impairments, higher rates of chronic health conditions, lower rates of mental health related disabilities, lower rates of attention deficit disorder. 



National 2008

DSS 2008

DSS 2010

 Mental, emotional, or psychiatric condition/depression

24%

11%

20%

 Attention deficit disorder (ADD)

19%

12%

10%

 Orthopedic or mobility impairment

15%

26%

13%

Other

15%

11%

14%

 Specific learning disability, dyslexia

9%

22%

20%

 Hearing impairment

6%

8%

8%

 Health impairment or problem

6%

4%

13%

 Blindness or visual impairment

3%

4%

3%

 Brain injury

2%

2%

2%

 Developmental disability

>1%

 >1%

>1%

 

Comparisons regarding gender and ethnicity are largely consistent with UAA more broadly although there are higher percentages of students from under-represented ethnic groups.

 

African American

AK Native or Amer. Indian

Asian/Pacific Islander

Caucasian

Hispanic

Other

UAA 2010

4.2%

7.1%

7.7%

65.8%

5.4%

10.7%

DSS 2010

6.5%

9.6%

3.7%

64.9%

7.2%

6.7%