Newman, L. A., Madaus, J. W., Lalor, A. R., & Javitz, H. S. (2020). Effect of accessing supports on higher education persistence of students with disabilities. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000170
This study examined the effect of accessing supports available to the general student body and disability-related supports on college perseverance for students with disabilities. This secondary analysis of a nationally representative longitudinal dataset included a sample of approximately 2,330 college students with disabilities who had been identified as having a disability in secondary school. Students were included in the sample independent of their decision to disclose their disability to their college. Evidence from propensity analyses indicated that students with disabilities who had accessed universally available and/or disability-related supports were significantly more likely to persist in their 2- or 4-year college programs. Additionally, retention rates were higher for those who had accessed universally available supports only, such as writing and math centers, which do not require disclosure of a disability. Implications for higher education institutions are discussed, including the need for professional development for all administrators and staff to better understand how to respond to the needs of students with disabilities, with an emphasis on the fact that the majority of students with disabilities on a campus do not self-disclose.