Weis, R., & Bittner, S. A. (2022). College students’ access to academic accommodations over time: Evidence of a Matthew effect in higher education . Psychological Injury and Law , 15 (3), 236–252. https://www.springer.com/journal/12207
Accommodations were not specified; postsecondary access to accommodations over time was examined. Accommodation access rates were calculated based on the percent of students with disabilities registered with each institution's disability services office, who were eligible for accommodations.
An extant data set from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), shared by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, was examined. Inclusion in the IPEDS required: (a) academic institutions that operated within the U.S., (b) postsecondary programs that granted academic degrees, and (c) had undergraduate enrollment populations exceeding 400 students.
Factors were analyzed over time for their associations with accommodations access. Institutional types included public four-year institutions, private four-year institutions, and public two-year institutions. Selectivity rate was calculated based on percentage of undergraduate applicants admitted. Economic factors included (a) annual net price for each first-time, full-time undergraduate student, and (b) percentage of undergraduates receiving the Pell grant.
Postsecondary students who were most in need of academic support through accommodations were the least likely to receive it. With the recent expanded protections for students with disabilities, students at the most selective, expensive private institutions experienced a two- to threefold increase in access to accommodations. At less selective, less expensive public institutions, access to accommodations increased only slightly over time.