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Advancing Access to Higher Education for Students with Intellectual Disability in the United States

Advancing Access to Higher Education for Students with Intellectual Disability in the United States

Due to changes in legislation and policy in the United States, higher education has become more available to people with intellectual disability (ID). Currently, over 6000 students with ID are enrolled in 310 colleges and universities. In the past decade, the federal government has invested over 100 million dollars in a model demonstration program aimed at institutions of higher education to create, expand, or enhance high-quality, inclusive higher education experiences to support positive outcomes for individuals with ID. This article will describe the impetus and impact of this funding as well as related changes in policy and practice. With the emergence of these opportunities, a field of research has emerged, offering new knowledge about what higher education can offer to students with ID as well as the positive impact these students have on their peers, professors, and campus communities. We have also begun to see documentation of more long-term impacts of higher education on students’ employment, independent living outcomes, and life satisfaction. By describing these policy, practice, and research developments, this article will provide readers with a better understanding of the background, current status, and future needs of the field of inclusive higher education for people with ID in the United States and potential takeaways for similar stakeholders in other countries.

APA Citation: 

Grigal, M.; Dukes, L.L., III; Walker, Z. Advancing Access to Higher Education for Students with Intellectual Disability in the United States. Disabilities 2021, 1, 438–449. https://doi.org/10.3390/disabilities1040030

Year of Publication: 
2021
Media Type(s): 
Publication Type(s): 
Project: 
National Coordinating Center