Expanding Disability Access for Higher Education is Critical

April 15, 2019

Access to higher education is a critical gateway to productive employment, economic self-sufficiency, and community inclusion. Only 15 percent of people with disabilities who have not earned a high school diploma are in the workforce. That rises to 35 percent if an associate's degree is completed, and to 45 percent with a bachelor's or higher degree.* AUCD believes that all students should have access to postsecondary education opportunities and is pleased to support the Expanding Disability Access for Higher Education Act. S.1176.  

People with disabilities, especially low-income and first-generation college students with disabilities, face enormous systematic barriers to both accessing and successfully completing college. With the expansion of federal TRIO programs, these students can better be matched with a college or university that fits their educational and life goals, and TRIO project staff at colleges and universities will be better equipped to support students with disabilities throughout their college experience.

"When students go to college, they are exposed to a world of new people and experiences that expand their education and worldview," said Andy Imparato, Executive Director of AUCD. "It also makes them more employable. AUCD believes that the Expanding Disability Access for Higher Education Act will play a key role in increasing the number of students with disabilities going to college, and create stronger, more financially secure communities."

By helping students with disabilities attend and succeed at college, we can create a workforce that is stronger because everyone is included.

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*Disability Rates and Employment Status by Educational Attainment, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education: (PDF link).

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities, located in Silver Spring, MD, is a national, nonprofit organization that promotes and supports the national network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practice through research, education, leadership, and services for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. For more information, visit www.aucd.org or contact aucdinfo@aucd.org.