College Students’ Access to Academic Accommodations Varies as a Function of School Type, Selectivity, and Cost

Tema A. Cohen, Sullivan D. Ray, Cassidy Audette, Robert Weis


Students with disabilities face many challenges in their pursuit of higher education. Academic accommodations and other educational supports can allow these students to learn, and to demonstrate their learning, in a manner similar to their classmates without disabilities. The purpose of this study was (1) to determine the percent of students classified with disabilities and receiving accommodations in college and (2) to see if students’ access to accommodations varies as a function of their college’s type, selectivity, and cost. Overall 4.6% of undergraduate students are formally registered with their school’s disability office. Contrary to expectations, the highest percentage of students with disabilities receiving accommodations are found in America’s most selective and expensive private colleges and universities. The prevalence of students with disabilities at private, liberal arts colleges in particular is almost three times higher than the prevalence at two-year public (i.e., community) colleges. These findings suggest that public colleges should be more proactive in identifying and accommodating students with disabilities and private colleges should be more judicious in their accommodation granting. Colleges should also use principles of universal design to promote the academic success of all students, regardless of their disability status.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © SCHOLINK INC.   ISSN 2573-0401 (Print)    ISSN 2573-041X (Online)