Degree Completion and Employment Outcomes among Graduates with Disabilities

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BACKGROUND: Approximately 57% of students in the general population who began as full-time freshmen in 4-year universities in 2006 received a bachelor’s degree within a 6-year period. However, only 34% of students with disabilities (SWD) did the same. In addition, nearly 84% of nondisabled college graduates find employment soon after graduating compared to 53% of graduates with disabilities (GWD). These disparities highlight the need to examine which factors are supporting degree completion and employment.

OBJECTIVE: This study examined what types of academic and disability services contributed to degree completion and post-graduation employment.

METHODS: Recent GWD from a Midwestern, mid-sized university completed a survey designed to illicit responses regarding the services they utilized while they were a student and their current employment status.

RESULTS: Services most often utilized to assist with degree completion included extra time for tests, test proctoring and tutoring. Services most often utilized to assist with employment included resume writing, employer networking opportunities, and mock interviewing. Sixty-five percent of the GWD were employed while 20% were actively seeking employment.

CONCLUSIONS: The value of creating a comprehensive office of disability services that goes beyond what is required by law yields better outcomes and is highly encouraged.



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