Students With Disabilities as Likely to Enter Science Fields, New Fed Data Show

By Sarah D. Sparks — February 01, 2017 1 min read

Students with disabilities are as likely as typically developing students to enter science and engineering fields in college, according to new data from the National Science Foundation.

The finding is part of the NSF’s annual study of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

As of 2012, the most recent year for data, 11 percent of students pursuing an undergraduate degree reported having a disability—roughly on par with the 12 percent of K-12 students with a disability in U.S. schools. They were slightly more likely than students without a disability to attend two-year rather than four-year colleges:

The data show students with disabilities were as likely as other students to enroll in science fields and also equally likely to get financial aid for college.

However, students with disabilities were less likely to enroll in graduate school, often needed for top science careers, the data show. In 2012, only 7 percent of graduate students reported having a disability.

The study also provides data on STEM college students by gender and race; there’s a lot to dig into here.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.