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Ten Studies in Five Years

Over the five years of the grant, we plan ten studies that seek to provide a robust understanding of the postsecondary experiences of disabled students.

The studies will focus on core issues of accessibility, disclosure, student supports, institutional culture, and student outcomes organized around insights from three key groups in higher education.


Disabled students


Faculty members and instructors


Administrators and staff

The first two studies will create a new measure of perceived campus accessibility, a critical first step to help determine demographic predictors and the relationship to disabled student outcomes.

Another set of studies will examine student success initiatives and their accessibility for disabled students. These initiatives, such as career development programs and summer internship opportunities, are expanding on campuses to support all students from enrollment through graduation.

As higher education leaders increase their investment in these initiatives, they need data-driven decision-making to improve outcomes and quality — which, for disabled students, hinge on accessibility.

The Second Phase

As the research team shifts into the second phase of research, it will explore critical factors of disabled student success in greater depth using a mixed methods approach. These survey and focus group studies will fill gaps in the research literature on topics such as:

Disability disclosure to peers, instructors, and the institution

Accessible learning environments, both online and in-person

Transition out of school and readiness for the workforce

Support for disabled students in their postsecondary settings

Importantly, this series of studies includes research to understand college instructors’ knowledge and mindset about accessibility and its relationship to how they teach, design courses, and address accommodations and inclusion with their students.

Finally, our research program will seek insights from disabled students enrolled in colleges, universities, or training programs within the last five years (completers and non-completers) to examine their transition experiences into the workplace.

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