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Comparisons Across Time of the Outcomes of Youth With Disabilities up to 4 Years After High School
NCSER 2010-3008
September 2010

Postsecondary Education

Over the past decades, enrollment in postsecondary education has become increasingly prevalent. For youth in the general population, "postsecondary enrollments are at an all-time high" (Ewell and Wellman 2007, p. 2). Ensuring that students with disabilities have "access to and full participation in postsecondary education" has been identified as one of the key challenges in the future of secondary education and transition for such students (National Center on Secondary Education and Transition 2003, p. 1).

  • Postsecondary enrollment rates were higher in 2005 than in 1990 for youth with disabilities (within 4 years of leaving high school, 46 percent of youth with disabilities in 2005 were reported ever to have enrolled in a postsecondary school vs. 26 percent in 1990, a 19 percentage-point difference).
  • Reported rates of ever having enrolled in postsecondary education were higher in 2005 than in 1990 across all types of postsecondary programs; enrollment evidenced a 19 percentage-point difference in community college (32 percent vs. 14 percent), a 13 percentage-point difference in vocational, business, or technical school (23 percent vs. 10 percent), and a 9 percentage-point difference in 4-year universities (14 percent vs. 5 percent).