Examining the Plans of Youth with Disabilities to Enroll in a 2- or 4-year College or University
Hoffman, Amanda Veronica
McLaughlin, Margaret J
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The purpose of this study was to explore the differences between youth with disabilities plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college and to compare them to their peers without disabilities who also plan to attend a 2- or 4-year college or university. A second purpose was to identify the relative contribution of selected family, student, academic, and school contextual factors in predicting a student's plans in 12th grade to attend a 2- or 4-year college or university. Variables related to family, student, academic, and school characteristics were identified from the first and second waves of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 database. Chi-squares, t-tests, and HGLM analysis were used in this study. The results of the study showed that having an IEP was negatively related to a youth's plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college or university. However, taking advanced math coursework and being in a college preparatory track reduced the impact of having an IEP on a youth's educational plans. Although, on average, youth with disabilities did not take the same level of advanced math coursework as did their peers without disabilities who also planned to attend a college or university. Further, GPA had less an impact on the plans of a youth with disabilities to attend a 2- or 4-year college or university than it did on youth without disabilities. Finally, the results demonstrated that educational aspirations of youth with disabilities remained stable between 10th and 12th grades. The findings emphasize the importance of providing youth with disabilities access to a general education curriculum and a course of study that will allow them to be prepared for a 2 or 4 year college. The findings regarding aspirations also indicate that developing transition goals and a course of study prior to entering high school will provide opportunities for youth with disabilities who aspire to attend higher education to take the necessary coursework.