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 Article of Interest - College

College Students with Disabilities Graduate at the Same Rate as Their Non-Disabled Peers

from UPWD, December 11, 2002
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College students with disabilities graduate at the same rate as their nondisabled peers (i.e., the same percentage of students with and without disabilities graduate)!

We are in the process of examining the academic outcomes of 734 students with disabilities who started their studies since 1990 at Dawson College. This large urban junior / community college in Montreal offers two year pre-university programs (e.g., pure and applied science) and three-year career programs (e.g., nursing). Students in Quebec must first obtain a college diploma if they intend to pursue a university degree.

We are comparing graduation rates, average grades, and course pass rates of students with disabilities with their non-disabled peers in a study funded by PAREA. We now have some exciting preliminary results on graduation rates to share.

Of the 269 students with all types of disabilities who commenced in two year pre-university programs between 1990 and 1998, 55.0% have graduated by November 2002. 54.5% of the 16,053 nondisabled students graduated during the same period.

Similarly, of the 47 students with disabilities who commenced in three-year career programs between 1990 and 1997, 53.2% graduated by November 2002. 51.7% of the 2694 nondisabled students graduated during the same period.

As expected, students with disabilities took significantly longer to graduate than their nondisabled peers. Pre-university students with disabilities took an average of 5.95 semesters to graduate. Nondisabled students took 5.24 semesters. This was also the case for careers students, where the number of semesters was 8.24 and 6.92, respectively.

If you wish to cite our findings, the reference is: Shirley Jorgensen, Alice Havel, Daniel Lamb, Crystal James, Maria Barile, and Catherine Fichten. (2002). Students with disabilities at Dawson College: Graduation rates. Montreal: Dawson College.

Should students with disabilities be encouraged to attend postsecondary education? Are the funds spent on supporting them in college well spent? Absolutely!

Catherine Fichten
Maria Barile
Jennison Asuncion


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