with Disabilities Graduate at the Same Rate as Their
from UPWD, December 11,
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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
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
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:
Should students with disabilities be encouraged to attend
postsecondary education? Are the funds spent on supporting
them in college well spent? Absolutely!