American Association for the Advancement of Science
Roadmaps & Rampways

1990s Profile of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education

By Cathy Henderson

By the mid-1990s, an estimated 1 million students with disabilities were enrolled in American colleges, universities, and proprietary schools. Who are these students? What types of disabilities do they have? What are their educational goals? Using data available from the HEATH Resource Center at the American Council on Education, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation, we can gain insight into some of these questions.

Sources of information

Since 1966, a national survey of first-time, full-time college freshmen has been administered to a large sample of students every year. This survey is administered by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, cosponsored by the American Council on Education and the Graduate School of Education of the University of California at Los Angeles (ACE–UCLA). The purpose of this survey is to provide a profile of freshmen at the beginning of their college experiences. Responses are collected from a stratified sample of accredited institutions and are weighted to reflect the national cohort of freshmen. For example, in 1998, questionnaires were tabulated from 275,811 students attending a cross-section of 469 universities and 4- and 2-year colleges. The responses were weighted to represent the national enrollment patterns of the total 1.6 million first-time, full-time freshmen attending more than 3,100 institutions of higher education in 1998. Students were asked to report whether they had any of the following disabilities: speech, orthopedic, learning, health-related, partially sighted or blind, or other. (Data on students with hearing impairments from the 1996 tabulations are included in this analysis. Very little data are available on part-time students with disabilities and, therefore, analysis at the national level does not include part-time students.)

A second source of data on students with disabilities is the 1995–1996 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS 96), the fourth in a series of surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education since 1986–1987 to provide detailed information on how students and their families pay for postsecondary education.

The 1995–1996 survey results are based on institutional records of approximately 41,400 undergraduates and 7,000 graduate and first-professional students from 832 institutions. About 27,000 undergraduates and 4,000 graduate and first-professional students also were interviewed by telephone. Students attending all types and levels of institutions are represented, including public, independent, and proprietary institutions. The results of the NPSAS 96 survey were weighted to reflect the 16,678,000 undergraduates and 2,784,000 graduate and first-professional students who were enrolled in 1995–1996.

Some caution should be used in the comparison of results from these two surveys. First, the ACE–UCLA survey is restricted to first-time, full-time freshmen who were enrolled in higher education institutions. The vast majority of these students are age 18 and are recent high school graduates. In contrast, the NPSAS 96 survey encompasses undergraduates of any age who may be enrolled in colleges, universities, or proprietary schools. Second, there is a difference of 3 years in the data collection; the freshmen data are for fall 1998, and the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional student data reflect the 1995–1996 academic year. However, based on analysis by the HEATH Resource Center of historical information on college students with disabilities, this 3-year difference is not considered to be a significant factor in the interpretation of the data.

Two additional federal reports provide insight. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Education released results from a Postsecondary Education Quick Information

System study describing services provided to students with disabilities who had requested accommodations at postsecondary education institutions during 1996–1997 or 1997–1998. (However, since this survey was directed toward institutional services provided on request, it does not provide estimates of the total number of students enrolled with disabilities that are consistent with other national surveys of student-reported data.)

Finally, data are available from the National Science Foundation’s recently published report, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2000. Based on the results of many federal data collection efforts, this report chronicles the progression of students, with and without disabilities, as they move through the educational system into the labor force.

Highlights from the Freshmen Survey (1998)

Of the 1.6 million first-time, full-time college freshmen enrolled in fall 1998, 9.4%, or about 154,520 students, reported some type of disability (see Table 1).

Among those reporting a disability, the most common was a learning disability (41%). Ten years ago, the comparable figure was only 15%.

On many measures, the freshmen had similar characteristics, whether they reported a disability or not (see Table 2). For example, about one in five of all freshmen were students of color (20–21%). Likewise, the vast majority were U.S. citizens (97–98%). Students with and without disabilities listed business/management as their first choice for their probable major field of study (14–17%). Interest in majoring in specific scientific or engineering fields of study was similar among college freshmen, regardless of their disability status (see Figure 1). Estimated numbers of freshmen with disabilities who chose these majors can be found in Table 3.

However, some important differences existed between the two groups. Compared to their peers who did not report disabilities, those who did report disabilities were more likely to be male (53 vs. 46%) and were more interested in vocational certificates or associate degrees (13 vs. 6%) (see Table 2).

Highlights from the Postsecondary Undergraduate Student Survey (1995)

Approximately 1 million postsecondary undergraduates (or about 6%) reported some type of disability.

Undergraduates were most likely to list learning disabilities (29%) and orthopedic conditions (23%) (see Table 1).

Undergraduate students with disabilities, compared to those who did not report any, were more likely to

  • be male (50 vs. 44%);
  • be white, non-Hispanic (81 vs. 71%);
  • be older (median age of 30 vs. 26 years)
  • be U.S. citizens (98 vs. 94%);
  • be enrolled in the first year of college (57 vs. 49%);
  • be attending community colleges (49 vs. 45%) rather than public 4-year colleges and universities (25 vs. 32%);
  • aspire to a bachelor’s degree or less (61 vs. 50%);
  • have participated in apprenticeship, internship, or cooperative education programs (17 vs. 11%); and
  • have declared a major in the fields of arts and humanities (18 vs. 14%). (See Table 4.)

Generally, the average grades earned by undergraduates were similar, regardless of their disability status, although students reporting impairments were less likely to have scored the highest marks.

Highlights from the Graduate and First-Professional Student Survey (1995)

Survey results indicate that 91,872, or 3.3%, of the total number of graduate and first-professional students in 1995–1996 reported some type of disability (see Table 5).

The four most common types of disabilities cited were visual (24%), hearing (21%), learning (18%), and orthopedic (18%) (see Table 1).

Graduate and first-professional students with disabilities were more likely than their peers to

  • be female (69 vs. 54%);
  • be students of color (26 vs. 19%); and
  • be studying in a field relating to health (29 vs. 12%) rather than enrolled
  • a field pertaining to engineering/mathematics/computer science/life sciences/physical sciences (6 vs. 15%). (See Table 5.)

General highlights

The proportion of freshmen students reporting disabilities in 1998 and in a similar 1996 ACE–UCLA freshmen study has remained stable at about 9%. Among undergraduates, the percentage of college students reporting disabilities in the NPSAS 1992–1993 study was the same as the proportion of postsecondary students (including those attending proprietary schools) in the NPSAS 1995–1996 report (about 6%). The proportion of graduate and first-professional students citing impairments in the NPSAS 1992–1993 study (4%) also was similar to the NPSAS 1995–1996 figure of 3%.

The types of disabilities reported varied by the category of students surveyed (see Figure 2). There was a shift in the proportion of different disabilities represented in the graduate school populations. For example, the likelihood of students reporting hearing impairments increased from 12% among the younger freshmen to 21% among older graduate and first-professional students. Likewise, the tendency to report sight limitations increased with the level of enrollment, moving from 13% of the freshmen to 24% among graduate and first-professional students. However, the proportion or students reporting learning disabilities decreased from 41% for freshmen to 18% among graduate and first-professional students.

Postsecondary undergraduates with disabilities were enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions (see Table 6). The proportion of undergraduates with disabilities enrolling in community colleges declined between 1992–1993 and 1995–1996 from 56 to 49% at the same time that the percent choosing four-year colleges and universities increased from 32 to 40%. The best information available on students with disabilities who were enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) pertains to college freshmen. In 1996, 3% of full-time freshmen with disabilities were attending HBCUs (see Table 7).

There was no significant difference in the percentages of college freshmen and postsecondary undergraduates who were interested in scientific or engineering fields based on their disability status (see Figure 3). However, among graduate and first-professional students, those with disabilities were less likely than their peers to be enrolled in engineering or scientific fields (6 vs. 15%) and more likely to be in the health fields (29 vs. 12%).

The U.S. Department of Education’s survey of institutional accommodations helps to document the services provided for postsecondary students who request assistance due to a disability (see Figure 4). Although the large majority (about three in four) of all institutions reported having assisted students, the likelihood of receiving accommodations was greatest at medium or large public colleges and universities. The three most typical forms of assistance provided were alternative exam formats or additional time for exams (88%); tutors to assist with ongoing coursework (77%); and readers, classroom note takers, or scribes (69%).

In a study of factors contributing to the success of undergraduate students with disabilities who were majoring in science, mathematics, and engineering at the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota, Elaine Seymour found that these students demonstrated a high degree of intrinsic interest in these disciplines and careers. This level of commitment helped them to offset many barriers that they faced in trying to achieve their goals. There will be plenty of opportunities for science, mathematics, engineering, and technology professionals, with and without disabilities, to use their skills. For example, 1999 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that professional specialty occupations, which include most scientists, engineers, and medical workers, are likely to increase by 27% between 1998 and 2008.

Figures 5 and 6 summarize the underrepresentation of students with disabilities in our postsecondary education institutions and persons with disabilities in both the general labor force and in scientific and engineering fields, in particular. For example, although 9% of entering first-time, full-time freshmen report a disability, only 6% of all undergraduates and 3% of graduate and first-professional students list any disability. Likewise, although about one in five adults of all ages, including the elderly, self-report a disability (21%), only 14% of all workers and 6% of people employed in scientific and engineering fields cite any disability.

 

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Table 1. Students by type of reported disability and level of enrollment: Fall 1995 and fall 1998

Percentages

First-time,
full-time
college freshmen
fall 1995

Postsecondary
undergraduates
fall 1995

Graduate
and first
professional
students
fall 1995

Learning

41.0%

29.2%

18.2%

Visual

13.3%

16.3%

24.2%

Hearing

11.6%

16.3%

21.2%

Orthopedic

9.1%

22.9%

18.2%

Speech

5.3%

3.0%

3.0%

Health-related

19.3%

Other

21.8%

21.2%

21.2%

Any disability

9.4%

5.5%

3.3%

Estimated Number

First-time,
full-time
college freshmen
fall 1995

Postsecondary
undergraduates
fall 1995

Graduate
and first
professional
students
fall 1995

Learning

57,999

267,849

16,704

Visual

18,862

149,158

22,272

Hearing

12,884

149,518

19,488

Orthopedic

12,842

210,059

16,704

Speech

7,571

27,519

2,784

Health-related

27,348

Other

30,882

194,465

19,488

Any disability

154,520

917,290

91,872

In fall 1998, 9.4% of college freshmen reported a disability. Among those citing a condition, 41% reported a learning disability. Because some students reported more than one condition, these figures will total more than 100%. Data for freshmen with hearing disabilities are based on 1996 estimates. Students who reported “health-related disabilities” may have conditions such as severe allergies, lupus, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cancer, cystic fibrosis, or other health-related problems.

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on unpublished data from Cathy Henderson. College Freshmen with Disabilities: A Biennial Statistical Profile; American Council on Education, HEATH Resource Center: Washington, DC, 1999; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions: 1995–96, with an Essay on Undergraduates Who Work; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1998; and unpublished tabulations from NCES, NPSAS 96, 1998.

Table 2. Selected characteristics of first-time, full-time college freshmen, by disability status: 1998

Characteristics

Disabled

Not Disabled

GENDER

Men

52.7%

45.6%

Women

47.3%

54.4%

Total

100%

100%

RACE/ETHNICITY

White/Caucasian

80.1%

78.6%

African-American

7.9%

9.1%

Asian-American/Asian

2.5%

3.9%

Mexican-American

1.5%

2.0%

American Indian

3.2%

1.9%

Puerto Rican

1.0%

1.0%

Other Latino

1.1%

1.3%

Other Latino

2.7%

2.2%

Total

100%

100%

CITIZENSHIP STATUS

U.S. Citizen

98.3%

97.0%

Noncitizen

1.7%

3.0%

Total

100%

100%

EDUCATIONAL ASPIRATIONS

No degree / certificate

2.8%

0.8%

Vocational / certificate

2.1%

0.8%

Associate's degree

10.5%

5.0%

Bachelor's degree

23.8%

28.4%

Master's degree

35.5%

39.0%

Doctorate/first-profressional/other

25.3%

26.0%

Total

100%

100%

PROBABLE MAJOR FIELD OF STUDY

Business/management

14.1%

16.7%

Professional

12.4%

15.7%

Arts and humanities

11.5%

9.9%

Education

11.1%

11.1%

Social Services

9.5%

8.2%

Engineering

7.2%

8.2%

Biological Sciences

5.0%

5.6%

Physical Sciences

2.5%

2.1%

Technical/other

26.7%

22.5%

Total

100%

100%

 

Estimated number of students

154,420.00

1,480,566.00

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on unpublished data from the HEATH Resource Center, American Council on Education, 2001.

Table 3. Estimated number of first-time, full-time college freshmen with disabilities who were interested in scientific and engineering majors: 1998

Probable Major

Number

Computer Science

6,181

Therapy (occup., phys., speech

4,481

Predent., premed., prevet.

4,327

Nursing

4,172

Biology (general)

3,554

Electrical/electronic engineering

3,090

Other engineering

2,936

Mechanical engineering

2,627

Health technology

2,009

Agriculture

1,700

Electronics

1,545

Environmental science

927

Civil engineering

927

Zoology

927

Chemistry

773

Pharmacy

773

Mathematics

773

Aeronautical/astronautical engineering

773

Chemical engineering

618

Biochemistry or biophysics

618

Earth science

618

Marine (life) science

464

Physics

464

Microbiology or bacteriology

309

Atmospheric science

309

Industrial engineering

155

Astronomy

155

Botany

155

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on unpublished data from the HEATH Resource Center, American Council on Education and the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, UCLA, 2001.

Table 4. Selected characteristics of postsecondary undergraduates, by disability status: 1995–1996

Characteristics

Disabled

Not Disabled

GENDER

Men

50.0%

43.7%

Women

50.0%

56.3%

Total

100%

100%

RACE/ETHNICITY

White, non-Hispanic

81.3%

71.4%

Black, non-Hispanic

7.1%

11.9%

Hispanic

7.7%

10.5%

Asian/Pacific Islander

1.8%

5.4%

American Indian/Alaskan Native

2.1%

0.8%

Total

100%

100%

CITIZENSHIP STATUS

U.S. Citizen

97.5%

94.2%

Noncitizen

2.5%

5.8%

Total

100%

100%

CLASS LEVEL

1st year

56.7%

49.2%

2nd year

17.8%

21.4%

3rd year

10.3%

11.3%

4th or 5th year

10.3%

13.2%

Unclassified

4.9%

4.9%

Total

100%

100%

TYPE AND CONTROL OF INSTITUTION

Public

Less than 2-year

1.7%

1.3%

2-year

48.8%

45.0%

4-year non-doctorate-granting

13.3%

13.0%

4-year doctorate granting

12.2%

19.1%

Independent

Less than 4-year

1.9%

1.3%

4-year non-doctorate-granting

10.7%

9.8%

4-year doctorate granting

4.0%

5.1%

Proprietary

7.4%

5.4%

Total

100%

100%

GRADE POINT AVERAGE

Mostly As

11.8%

14.6%

As and Bs

17.3%

19.0%

Mostly Bs

25.4%

23.5%

Bs and Cs

22.6%

19.3%

Mostly Cs

9.8%

11.3%

Cs and Ds or lower

13.1%

12.3%

Total

100%

100%

EDUCATIONAL ASPIRATIONS

No degree / certificate

3.7%

1.8%

Vocational / certificate

5.7%

4.0%

Associate's degree

10.0%

7.9%

Bachelor's degree

41.4%

36.1%

Advanced degree/postbaccalaureate certificate

39.2%

50.2%

Total

100%

100%

DECLARED MAJOR FIELD OF STUDY

Arts and humanities

17.7%

14.4%

Business/management

17.4%

19.7%

Other professional or technical

14.2%

13.3%

Health

11.4%

12.8%

Engineering

9.7%

8.2%

Social/behavioral science

9.4%

9.7%

Education

8.3%

8.7%

Computer/information science

3.9%

3.3%

Vocational/technical

3.8%

2.6%

Life sciences

3.4%

5.7%

Physical sciences

0.6%

1.0%

Math

0.2%

0.6%

Total

100%

100%

 

Estimated number of students

1,000,680.00

15,677,320.00

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on data from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions: 1995-96, with an Essay on Undergraduates Who Work. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1998.

Table 5. Selected characteristics of graduate and first-professional students, by disability status: 1995–1996

Characteristics

Disabled

Not Disabled

GENDER

Men

31.30%

46.20%

Women

68.70%

53.80%

Total

100%

100%

RACE/ETHNICITY

White, non-Hispanic

73.90%

80.90%

Black, non-Hispanic

10.70%

6.20%

Hispanic

9.80%

4.70%

Asian/Pacific Islander

5.60%

8.20%

American Indian/Alaskan Native

Total

100%

100%

MAJOR FIELD OF STUDY

Health

28.60%

12.50%

Education

23.80%

26.20%

Business/management

14.80%

17.10%

Undeclared

7.10%

3.40%

Humanities

6.20%

9.80%

Social/behavioral science

5.80%

7.90%

Law

4.10%

5.20%

Other

3.80%

3.00%

Engineering/computer science/mathematics

3.70%

8.40%

Life/Physical sciences

2.10%

6.50%

Total

100%

100%

     

Estimated Number

91,872

2,692,128

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on data from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics, 1997. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1998; and unpublished data from NCES, NPSAS 96, 1998.

Table 6. Comparison of postsecondary undergraduates with disabilities by type of institution attended: 1992–1993 and 1995–1996 Type of institution 1992–1993 1995–1996

Type of institution

1992-1993

1995-1996

Public

Less than 2-year

3%

2%

2-year

56%

49%

4-year non-doctorate-granting

11%

13%

4-year doctorate-granting

12%

12%

Independent

Less than 4-year

2%

2%

4-year non-doctorate-granting

6%

11%

4-year doctorate-granting

3%

4%

 

Proprietary

7%

7%

 

Total

100%

100%

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on data from Cathy Henderson. Postsecondary Students with Disabilities: Where Are They Enrolled? ACE Research Brief Series, Vol. 6, No. 6. American Council on Education: Washington, DC, 1995; and U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions: 1995–96, with an Essay on Undergraduates Who Work. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1998.

Table 7. Disabilities reported by full-time college freshmen, by type of institution: 1998

Type of Institution

Disability

University

4-year college

2-year college

HBCU*

Total

Learning

7,870

19,029

30,111

989

57,999

Sight

4,375

6,754

7,031

702

18,862

Other

5,079

10,919

14,030

854

30,882

Health-related

5,277

9,346

11,390

1,335

27,348

Orthopedic

2,314

4,405

5,787

336

12,842

Hearing**

2,493

4,589

5,502

300

12,884

Speech

1,602

2,462

3,089

418

7,571

Total

29,010

57,504

76,940

4,934

168,388

None Reported

379,717

553,114

496,126

51,609

1,480,566

Percentage distribution

Learning

13.6%

32.8%

51.9%

1.7%

100.0%

Sight

23.2%

35.8%

37.3%

3.7%

100.0%

Other

16.4%

35.4%

45.4%

2.8%

100.0%

Health-related

19.3%

34.2%

41.6%

4.9%

100.0%

Orthopedic

18.0%

34.3%

45.1%

2.6%

100.0%

Hearing**

19.4%

35.6%

42.7%

2.3%

100.0%

Speech

21.2%

32.5%

40.8%

5.5%

100.0%

Total

17.2%

34.2%

45.7%

2.9%

100.0%

None Reported

25.6%

37.4%

33.5%

3.5%

100.0%

*Historically Black Colleges and Universities

**Hearing data were not collected in 1998. The 1998 figures reflect 1996 data.

Note: This table shows the distribution of 168,388 disabilities reported by 154,520 freshmen.

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on data from the HEATH Resource Center, American Council on Education and the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, UCLA, 1998.

Figure 1. Percentage of first-time, full-time college freshmen interested in majoring in scientific or engineering fields, by disability status: 1998

Table for Figure 1.

Field of Study

Any Disability

None Reported

Computer Science

4.0%

3.4%

Therapy (occup., phys., speech)

2.9%

3.6%

Predent, premed, prevet

2.8%

4.1%

Nursing

2.7%

3.6%

Biology (general)

2.3%

2.8%

Electrical/electronic engineering

2.0%

2.0%

Other engineering

1.9%

1.9%

Mechanical engineering

1.7%

1.9%

Health technology

1.3%

1.0%

Agriculture

1.1%

1.2%

Electronics

1.0%

0.4%

Environmental science

0.6%

0.7%

Civil engineering

0.6%

0.9%

Zoology

0.6%

0.3%

Chemisty

0.5%

0.6%

Pharmacy

0.5%

0.9%

Mathematics

0.5%

0.5%

Aeronautical/astronautical engineering

0.5%

0.6%

Chemical engineering

0.4%

0.7%

Biochemistry or biophysics

0.4%

0.5%

Earth science

0.4%

0.1%

Marine (life) science

0.4%

0.4%

Physics

0.3%

0.3%

Microbiology or bacteriology

0.2%

0.3%

Atmospheric science

0.2%

0.1%

Industrial engineering

0.1%

0.2%

Astronomy

0.1%

0.1%

Botany

0.1%

0.1%

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on unpublished data from the HEATH Resource Center, American Council on Education and the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, UCLA, 2001.

Figure 2. Comparison of types of disabilities by enrollment level of students: Fall 1995 and 1998

Table for Figure 2.

Type of Disability

First-Time,
Full-Time
College Freshmen

Postsecondary
Undergraduates

Graduate and
First-Professional
Students

Learning

41%

29%

18%

Visual

13%

16%

24%

Hearing

12%

16%

21%

Orthopedic

9%

23%

18%

Speech

5%

3%

3%

Other

22%

21%

21%

Note: Most data for freshmen are from 1998; data for freshmen with hearing disabilities are from 1996. Undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional student data are from 1995.

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on data from Cathy Henderson. College Freshmen with Disabilities: A Biennial Statistical Profile; American Council on Education, HEATH Resource Center: Washington, DC, 1999; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics. Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions: 1995–96, with an Essay on Undergraduates Who Work; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1998; and unpublished tabulations from NCES, NPSAS 96, 1998.

Figure 3. Students’ interest in different fields of study, by level of enrollment and disability status

Table for Figure 3.

Fields of Study

Any Disability

None Reported

First-Time, Full-Time Freshmen: 1998

Business/Management

14.1%

16.7%

Arts and Humanities

11.5%

9.9%

Professional

12.4%

15.7%

Education

11.1%

11.1%

Social sciences

9.5%

8.2%

Biological sciences

5.0%

5.6%

Engineering

7.2%

8.2%

Physical sciences

2.5%

2.1%

Technical/other

26.7%

22.5%

Postsecondary Undergraduates: 1995

Arts and Humanities

17.7%

14.4%

Business/Management

17.4%

19.7%

Other professional or technical

14.2%

13.3%

Health

11.4%

12.8%

Engineering

9.7%

8.2%

Social/Behavioral sciences

9.4%

9.7%

Education

8.3%

8.7%

Computer/information science

3.9%

3.3%

Vocational/technical

3.8%

2.6%

Life sciences

3.4%

5.7%

Physical sciences

0.6%

1.0%

Math

0.2%

0.6%

Graduate and First-Professional Students: 1995

Health

28.6%

12.5%

Education

23.8%

26.2%

Business/Management

14.8%

17.1%

Undeclared

7.1%

3.4%

Humanities

6.2%

9.8%

Social/Behavioral sciences

5.8%

7.9%

Law

4.1%

5.2%

Other

3.8%

3.0%

Engineering/com. Sci./math

3.7%

8.4%

Life/physical sciences

2.1%

6.5%

Sources: See Tables 2, 4, and 5.

Figure 4. Accommodations provided by postsecondary education institutions for students with disabilities: 1996–1998

Table for Figure 4.

Accommodation

Percentage of Institutions

Additional time

88%

Tutors to assist with ongoing coursework

77%

Readers, classroom notetakes, or scribes

69%

Registration assistance or priority class registration

62%

Adaptive equipment/technology

58%

Textbooks on tape

55%

Sign language interpreters/transliterators

45%

Course substitutions or waivers

42%

Disability benefits counseling

33%

Special orientation

32%

Disability resource handbook

24%

Special career or placement services

22%

Oral interpreters/transliterators

22%

Adaptive physical education courses or sports

21%

Other

19%

Prartransit for on-campus mobility

13%

Personal attendants

10%

Independent living skill training

5%

Eighty-eight percent of postsecondary education institutions provided alternative exam formats or additional time to students who requested this accommodation in the academic years 1996–1997 or 1997–1998.

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. An Institutional Perspective on Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education, NCES 1999-046, by Laurie Lewis and Elizabeth Farris; Project Officer, Bernie Green; Washington, DC, 1999.

Figure 5. Participation of students with disabilities in postsecondary education institutions, by level of enrollment: Selected years

Table for Figure 5.

Enrollment Status

Percentage

First-time, full-time freshmen with disabilities (1998)

9%

Undergraduates with diasbilities (1995)

6%

Graduate and first-professional students with disabilities (1995)

3%

Nine percent of the first-time, full-time freshmen in 1998 self-reported a disability.

Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on data from Cathy Henderson. College Freshmen with Disabilities: A Biennial Statistical Profile; American Council on Education, HEATH Resource Center: Washington, DC, 1999; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics. Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education: A Profile of Preparation, Participation, and Outcomes, NCES 1999-187, by Laura Horn and Jennifer Berktold; Project Officer, Larry Bobbitt; Washington, DC, 1999; and unpublished tabulations from NCES, NPSAS 96, 1998.

Figure 6. Participation of adults with disabilities in the labor force and in scientific and engineering fields: Selected years

Table for Figure 6.

Labor Force Status

Percentage

Adults with disabilities (1994)

21%

Employed persons with disablities (1994)

14%

Employed scientists and engineers with disabilities (1997)

6%

Twenty-one percent of adults in 1994 self-reported a disability.

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science, based on data from the National Science Foundation. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2000; Arlington, VA, 2000.


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