College for Students with Disabilities

Future of Children authors Sandy Baum, Charles Kurose, and Michael McPherson write that as postsecondary enrollment expands in the US, student demand for academic and personal support services is increasing. Academic support programs such as developmental or remediation courses help older, returning students or high school graduates who need additional training to reach college-entry level. Personal support programs may provide services such as child care or transportation. All of these programs seek to improve student experiences and college outcomes.

Students with learning disabilities are a rapidly growing population that has received relatively little attention in terms of college preparation and support. Many of these children participate in special education programs before finishing high school. Authors Laudan Aron and Pamela Loprest explain that the special education system has helped to increase their access to and participation in public education, but there is room for improvement. An often challenging point for these children is in the transition into adulthood. Janet Currie and Robert Kahn report that high schools offer services to help students make the transition but no one is required to monitor the effectiveness of services for adults once they enter the community.

As college enrollment among students with learning disabilities increases, demand for personal and academic support services should also increase. Thus, a growing number of traditional universities are seeking to improve resources for students with disabilities, including supplemental support programs. For the latest research and policy recommendations on this topic, see the Future of Children issues on Postsecondary Education and Children with Disabilities.