Beyond access: an examination of factors that influence use of accommodations by college students with disabilities

by Kathleen Monagle

Institution: Northeastern University
Year: 2016
Keywords: accommodation; Americans with Disabilities Act; attitude toward accommodations; disability; People with disabilities; Education (Higher); Attitudes; College students with disabilities; Attitudes; College students with disabilities; Services for; People with disabilities; Services for; Academic achievement; Identification (Psychology)
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2135092
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2047/D20208767


The number of students with disabilities attending college has skyrocketed since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. However, the success of college students with disabilities has not kept pace with the increased access to college for such students. Despite the positive impact of accommodation usage on students' academic success, many students with disabilities are not availing themselves of this opportunity. The need to understand why college students with disabilities are not requesting the accommodations to which they are entitled is a question of critical importance. Institutions need more information about the factors that influence a student's decision to use accommodations in college. This quantitative correlational study used an electronic survey to examine factors that may influence students' decision to use accommodations. Data was analyzed through the use of chi square analysis and logistic regression. Four variables were found to have a significant influence on students' decision to use accommodations: (1) year in school; (2) major; (3) disability category; and (4) attitude toward requesting accommodations, as measured by the ATRA scale (Barnard-Brak, et al., 2009). Students who were more likely to use accommodations: were in their second year of school; were in non-STEM majors; reported multiple disabilities; and (not surprisingly), possessed a more positive attitude toward the use of accommodations. The information learned may be used to inform policies and procedures to support the success of college students with disabilities.