National Disability Center for Student Success

CCCSE Partners With Newly Established National Disability Center for Student Success

A new national research center focused on improving outcomes for disabled college students has partnered with CCCSE to analyze data findings and develop a new research measure for educators and researchers.

The National Disability Center for Student Success, which was recently established at The University of Texas at Austin with a $5 million grant from the Institute for Education Sciences, and CCCSE will analyze essential aspects of the student experience at 2-year colleges using data findings from CCCSE’s Community College Survey of Student Engagement.

The studies will create a rigorous new measure of perceived campus accessibility — a critical first step to help determine demographic predictors and the relationship to disabled student outcomes — by focusing on the core issues of accessibility, disclosure, student supports, institutional culture, and student outcomes.

“This research partnership will help our mission to better understand and improve the disabled college student experience in the United States,” said Stephanie W. Cawthon, PhD, executive director the National Disability Center and professor at UT Austin. “CCCSE’s data-driven approach and community college partnerships provide our research team with an essential foundation for a strong start.”

The National Disability Center’s research team — an innovative collaboration between UT Austin faculty members and disabled students — will also study topics such as career transitions, instructor attitudes, and institutional student success initiatives. In addition to CCCSE, they will work with the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and a group of higher education sites around the country.


About the Disabled Student Experience

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that up to 1 in 4 (or 27 percent) of adults have at least one type of disability.

That means over 4 million college students in the U.S. have a disability — including visible disabilities, such as a person using crutches, and ones that are not readily apparent, such as autism or depression — and studies show they face barriers that make them less likely to persist in their studies, graduate with degrees, and achieve their career goals.

Studies also show disabled students find colleges and universities to be unwelcoming and unaccommodating places. Disabled students report encountering high levels of ableism, discrimination, and bullying.

These experiences are one of the key reasons they do not disclose their disabilities, making it harder for higher education to understand the true scope of the issue and provide the necessary support.


About the National Disability Center

The National Disability Center will provide actionable strategies to help colleges, universities, and training centers build their capacity to support millions of students, with the goal to improve inclusion of disabled students in higher education programs, boost degree completion efforts, and increase readiness for the workforce. It is housed at the Texas Center for Equity Promotion at UT Austin’s College of Education.