How many students in postsecondary education have a disability?
Nineteen percent of undergraduates in 2015–16 reported having a disability. In 2015–16, the percentage of undergraduates who reported having a disability was 19 percent for male students and 20 percent for female students. There were some differences in the percentages of undergraduates with disabilities by characteristics such as veteran status, age, dependency status, and race/ethnicity. For example, 26 percent of undergraduates who were veterans reported having a disability, compared with 19 percent of undergraduates who were not veterans. The percentage of undergraduates having a disability was higher among those age 30 and over (23 percent) than among 15- to 23-year-olds (18 percent). Among dependent undergraduates, 17 percent reported having a disability, which was lower than the percentages for independent undergraduates who were married (21 percent) or unmarried (24 percent). A lower percentage of Asian undergraduates (15 percent) had a disability than White, Hispanic, and Black undergraduates (21, 18, and 17 percent, respectively). The percentage of postbaccalaureate students who reported having a disability (12 percent) was lower than the percentage for undergraduates (19 percent).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Digest of Education Statistics, 2018 (2020-009), Chapter 3.
|Percentage distribution of students enrolled in postsecondary institutions, by level, disability status, and selected student characteristics: 2015–16|
|Selected student characteristic||Undergraduate||Postbaccalaureate|
|Students with disabilities1||Students without disabilities||Students with disabilities1||Students without disabilities|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||27.8||72.2||11.8!||88.2|
|Two or more races||22.1||77.9||19.7||80.3|
|15 to 23||17.6||82.4||8.1||91.9|
|24 to 29||21.6||78.4||11.3||88.7|
|30 or older||22.6||77.4||13.5||86.5|
|Independent with dependents||20.3||79.7||13.4||86.6|
— Not available.
! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
1 Students with disabilities are those who reported that they had one or more of the following conditions: blindness or visual impairment that cannot be corrected by wearing glasses; hearing impairment (e.g., deaf or hard of hearing); orthopedic or mobility impairment; speech or language impairment; learning, mental, emotional, or psychiatric condition (e.g., serious learning disability, depression, ADD, or ADHD); or other health impairment or problem.
NOTE: Data are based on a sample survey of students who enrolled at any time during the school year. Data exclude students attending institutions in Puerto Rico. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). Digest of Education Statistics, 2018 (NCES 2020-009), Table 311.10.
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