Disability Accommodations Vary Widely At Nation’s Colleges
One in 10 college students has a disability but the federal government needs to do more to accommodate these students, a new report finds.
In 2008, nearly 11 percent of students in higher education reported having a disability. That’s up from 9 percent in 2000, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicates. But without a central office at the federal level to address the needs of students with disabilities, accommodations vary widely from school to school, investigators found.
Post-secondary schools are required to provide “reasonable accommodation” to students with disabilities. Confusion on the part of students and school officials about the rights of students with disabilities, however, is a significant challenge.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
GAO investigators are recommending that the Department of Education establish a more coordinated effort to help colleges support students with disabilities.
Currently, students with disabilities are attending college at younger ages than in years past, with the average age now 26 — just one year older than their peers without disabilities — compared to age 30 in 2000. But these students are more likely to attend 2-year colleges than 4-year institutions and are more likely to be part-time students than those without disabilities.
One student population highlighted by federal investigators is students with intellectual disabilities, who are expected to be on the rise. These students have unique needs and often are looking to audit classes, the report says. They are more likely to frequent courses with life skills components such as financial literacy.