Disabilities Task Force
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Recommendations to New York State for strategies to increase access
1. Preparation for Postsecondary Education Opportunities
National data indicate that in raising the educational aspirations and expectations of individuals with disabilities, reaching them early is critical. According to a recent U.S. Department of Education study, students with disabilities are significantly less likely than students without disabilities to consider the possibility of college. Furthermore, students with disabilities are "less likely to be prepared" when it comes to handling college-level coursework, according to the report. Students with disabilities are also much more likely to enroll in two-year colleges rather than four-year colleges and universities. New York State data indicate that over 37 percent of all college students with disabilities are enrolled in the state's community colleges. At the same time, statistics tell us that individuals with disabilities frequently return to college a number of years after leaving high school and that, in general, individuals with disabilities avail themselves of more nontraditional avenues for achieving their high school diplomas, (e.g., High School Equivalency Diplomas). Any strategies aimed at boosting the participation of individuals with disabilities in postsecondary education need to consider both students in secondary school and also adults who might want to return to school.