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Working Towards a Coordinated National Approach To Services, Accommodations And Policies For Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities

Chapter 2: Student Needs and Awareness

Students were asked questions concerning general demographic characteristics, disability type and needs associated with a disability, institutional and program choices, as well as questions about service provision and student representation at the institution they attended. This chapter reviews the responses NEADS received from 349 students. Overall response rates are presented and some limited comparisons of responses across provinces, disability type and needs, and type of institution attended.

While the group surveyed does not constitute a representative sample of all post-secondary students with disabilities in Canada, the ways in which the group conforms to what we know about the general population are noted (see Appendix One for details). Students described the kinds of services they used and what they needed in this section, and some of the problems they encountered in access. In this section we have attempted to provide some context for understanding the issues involved.

A. Age, Gender and Family

Respondents were asked to report their birth date, and age categories were constructed using this data. As of December 31, 1998, the eldest respondent to the survey was 70 years of age and the youngest was 18. The breakdown according to five age categories (18-20 years; 21-25; 26-30; 31-35; and 36 and over) was as follows:

Table 2.1 Numbers and Percentages of Students by Ages (Grouped)

Age Percent Number
18 - 20 Years of Age 8.6% (30)
21 - 25 Years of Age 35.6 (124)
26 - 30 Years of Age 17.2 (60)
31 - 35 Years of Age 9.8 (34)
35 Years of Age and Over 27.7 (97)
Not stated 1.1 (4)

This distribution was similar to that found in a previous survey conducted by NEADS (NEADS 1996). Respondents in the 21-25 age category were most numerous, comprising 35.6% (135/349) of those surveyed. The majority of respondents were under the age of 30, but a significant portion (27.7%) were over the age of 35.

In terms of gender distribution, 59.7% (2071349) of respondents were women. This greater preponderance of women is in line with recent trends in enrollment at the post-secondary level for all Canadians. For instance, full-time enrollment of women in both colleges and universities outweighs that of men and has been increasing slightly at the university level while male enrollment has declined. (See Statistics Canada web site [www.StatCan.ca] figures on enrollment from 1993-94 to 1997-98. Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 8 1-229-XPB and Statistics Canada, CANSIM, Cross-classified tables 0058070 1, 005 80702.)

enrollment for women in general has increased in recent years and exceeds that of men and this trend may be more pronounced among women with disabilities. HALS (1991) reported that women with disabilities in the 15-34 age group were more likely than men to have some post-secondary education. For instance, of women in the 15-34 age group, 41.8% had some post-secondary education in 1991, whereas among men with disabilities in this age group, only 36.5% had similar levels of educational attainment. This is not the case for men and women with disabilities in the other age groups (ie. HALS, 1991). These factors may help explain the greater numbers of women responding to the present study.

Chart 2.1 Percentage of Students by Marital Status *

Chart 2.1

* Based on the 347 students that reported manta1 status

Table 2.2 Numbers and Percentages of Students with and Without Dependent Children by in Marital Status

Have Dependent Children
  Yes   No   Total
Never Married 2.2% 5 97.8% 223 228
Married - Common Law 52.9 45 47.1 40 85
Widowed-Divorced-Separated 40.0 12 60.0 18 30
Other 50.0 2 50.0 2 4
Total   64   283 347

The majority of respondents (66%, 2281349) were single (i.e. never married) and the overwhelming majority of these (97.8%, 2231228) had no dependent children (see Table 2.2). Among respondents who indicated they had dependent children, most were married or living in a common law relationship. Among those who were married or living in a common law relationship (24.5% of all respondents, 85/349), more than half had dependent children (52.9%, 45/85). Among those widowed, divorced or separated (8.6% of all respondents), 40% (12130) had dependent children.

B. Disability Types

Students were asked to indicate the primary nature of their disability. Seven of the most commonly identified types of disability were listed. Students could also indicate and specify any other type of disability. Because students could indicate more than one type of disability when appropriate, numbers do not total to 349 and percentages do not total 100.

Table 2.3 Numbers and Percentages of Students by Type of Disability

  Number Percent of Total (n/349)
Mobility impaired 106 30.4%
Deaf/Hard of hearing 45 12.9%
Blind/Visually Impaired 5 15.8
Speech Impaired 9 2.6%
LD/ADD 126 36.1%
Mental health disability 18 5.2%
Medical disability 44 12.6%
Other 38 10.9%

The most frequently cited type of disability was a learning disability, including attention deficit disorder (36.1%) (see Table 2.3). Mobility impairment was the second most frequently cited type of disability (30.4%). Mental health disabilities (5.2%) and speech impairments (2.6%) were least frequently indicated by respondents. Among the 10.9% who indicated Other, the most frequently mentioned types of disability were impairments related to flexibility and agility (3.2% of all respondents). Brain injury (1.7%) and cognitive disabilities (1.7%) were also mentioned frequently by students who indicated "other" types of hsability.

In a study conducted by NEADS in 1996, patterns were somewhat different: a greater percentage of respondents indicated a mobility impairment (37%) and a smaller percentage indicated learning disabilities (26%). In addition, medical disability was added as a category to this survey. While this is not a representative sample, and thus comparisons cannot be made on the basis of this difference, it is interesting that students with learning disabilities comprise such a large portion of the respondents to the current survey.

Table 2.4 Numbers and Percentages of Students by Number of Disability Categories

  Number Percent of Total (n/349)
One type of disability indicated 277 79.4
Two types of disability indicated 48 13.8
Three types of disability indicated 16 4.6
Four types of disability indicated 5 1.4
Missing 3 0.9
     
Total 349 100

Students were given the option to indicate more than one disability type. Close to eighty percent indicated only one type of disability. Among the 21.6% who indicated more than one disability, those who reported mobility impairments (33) or learning disabilities (33) were most numerous. It should be noted that among the small group of students who indicated they were speech impaired (2.6%, 9/349), most also indicated another disability (88.9% of those with speech impairments, 819). Students with a medical disability were also more likely than not to report one or more other types of disability (68.2'7'0, 30144).

C. Provincial Distribution

Chart 2.2 Percentage of Students by Province of Study *

Chart 2.2

* Based on the 347 students that reported province of study

The overall provincial distribution of survey respondents is similar to the distribution of post-secondary students with disabilities recorded by the Health and Activity Limitation Survey conducted in 1991 (see Appendix One). Students from Ontario comprise the largest group of respondents to the survey (41%, 1411349). The smallest numbers of respondents came from New Brunswick (1.4%, 5), Nova Scotia (2%, 7), and Saskatchewan (2.9%, 10). No students from the Northwest or Yukon Territories, or from Prince Edward Island (which comprise a very small percentage of the target population) are included among survey respondents and thus our ability to draw conclusions about access in this province or these territories is limited.

Table 2.5 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Selected Disability Types by Province

  Percent of provincial total reporting LD/ADD Percent of provincial total reporting Mobility Impairment
Provinces with <20 respondents    
Newfoundland 27.3% (3/11) 36.4% (4/11)
Nova Scotia 14.3% (1/7) 28.6% (2/7)
New Brunswick 60.0% (3/5) 20.0% (1/5)
Manitoba 25.0% (3/12) 41.7% (5/12)
Saskatchewan 60.0% (6/10) 10.0% (1/10)
     
Provinces with >20 respondents    
Quebec 11.8% (8/68) 42.6% (29/68)
Ontario 45.4% (64/141) 27.0% (38/141)
Alberta 46.3% (19/41) 17.1% (7/41)
British Columbia 36.5% (19/52) 34.6% (18/52)
     
Total 36.1% (126/349) 30.4% (106/349)
     

In examining the distribution of certain disability types across provinces, it is apparent that students with the most commonly indicated disability types are not equally represented in all provinces. While the size of the population sampled in the smaller provinces will affect the distribution among different disability types and will therefore not generate comparable numbers, the size of the sample in larger provinces allows for some limited comparisons. Thus the proportion of students reporting learning disabilities (including ADD) in Quebec (1 1.8% of the provincial total) is much lower than the overall averages for this study and the proportion of students reporting mobility impairments is higher (42.6% of the provincial total). The proportion of students reporting mobility impairments in Alberta (17.1% of the provincial total) is lower than the overall average and that for learning disabilities is higher (46.3% of the provincial total).

D. Aids and Accommodations

Table 2.6 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Types of Aids and Services Used to Accommodate Disability

  Number Percentage
White cane 19 5.4%
Guide dog 2 0.6
Alternative format (e.g. braille, large print, audio, etc.) 54 15.5
Sign language interpreter 18 5.2
Hearing aid 36 10.3
Communication board 3 0.9
Wheelchair/scooter 58 16.6
Crutches or other walking aid 28 8.0
Attendant care services 26 7.4
Adaptive technology (e.g. computers, braillers, calculators, etc.) 139 39.8
Drugs and medical supplies 106 30.4
Specialized transport 50 14.3
Academic accommodation 197 56.4
Extended testing time 221 63.3
Other 66 18.9
No aids or services used 4 1.1

Student respondents were asked what kinds of aids and services they used on a day-to-day basis to accommodate their disabilities. Respondents were provided with a list and could indicate as many items as were appropriate (responses do not total 349 and percentages do not total 100) and could also indicate if there were other aids or services they used or if they required no aids or services (see Table 2.6). 4 (1.1%) respondents indicated they used no aids or services.

In terms of the aids and services that students used on a day-to-day basis to accommodate a disability, extended test time (63.3%) and academic accommodations (56.4%) were the two most frequently reported. A large number of students also reported use of adaptive technology (39.8%) and drugs and medical supplies (30.4%). While some aids and services listed are typically used by students with one specific type of disability (e.g. hearing aids for students who are deaf or hard of hearing), the aids and services most frequently indicated are not of a disability specific nature. It is thus useful to examine whether any differences exist in terms of their use across different disability categories.

Table 2.7 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Use: Extended test time by Disability Type

  Yes   No   Total
  N Percent N Percent N
Mobility impaired 63 60.0% 42 40.0% 105
Deaf/hard of hearing 14 31.1% 31 68.9% 45
Blind/vis. impaired 39 70.9% 16 29.1% 55
Speech impaired 4 44.4% 5 55.6% 9
LD/ADD 92 73.0% 34 27.0% 126
Mental health disability 12 66.7% 6 33.3% 18
Medical disability 35 79.5% 9 20.5% 44

Table 2.8 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Use: Academic accommodation by Disability Type

  Yes   No   Total
  N Percent N Percent N
Mobility impaired 51 48.6% 54 51.4% 105
Deaf/hard of hearing 24 53.3% 21 46.7% 45
Blind/vis. impaired 40 72.7% 15 27.3% 55
Speech impaired 7 77.8% 2 22.2% 9
LD/ADD 82 65.1% 44 34.9% 126
Mental health disability 9 50.0% 9 50.0% 18
Medical disability 22 50.0% 22 50.0% 44

Students from all disability type categories reported that they made use of extended test time. Those who were deafhard of hearing were least likely to make use of extended test time (31.1%, 14/45). Those with medical disabilities were most likely to use such a service (79.5%, 35/44) and a large majority of students who indicated mobility impairment (60%, 63/105), blindness or visual impairment (70.9%, 39/55), learning disabililty (including ADD) (73%, 921126) or mental health disability (66.7%, 12/18) also indicated that they used such services.

Academic accommodations (e.g. course or program modifications, extensions of assignment deadlines, alternate testing procedures, etc.) were also used by over half of all respondents. A little less than half of all students who reported a speech impairment indicated that they made use of extended test time (44.4%, 4/9), while a large majority indicated that they made use of academic accommodation (77.8%, 719). (The small numbers of students reporting speech impairment, however, suggests that such figures should be treated with caution.) Students who reported blindness or visual impairment (72.7%, 40/55) and those who reported learning disability/ADD (65.1 %, 82/l 26) were somewhat more likely to report use of academic accommodations. Roughly half of all students who indicated a mobility impairment (48.6%, 51/105), deafness or hearing impairment (53.3%, 24/45), a mental health disability (50%, 9/18) or a medical disability (50%, 22144) also indicated that they made use of academic accommodations.

Table 2.9 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Use: Adaptive technology by Disability Type

  Yes   No   Total
  N Percent N Percent N
Mobility impaired 45 42.9% 60 57.1% 105
Deaf/hard of hearing 7 15.6% 38 84.4% 45
Blind/vis. impaired 36 65.5% 19 34.5% 55
Speech impaired 3 33.3% 6 66.7% 9
LD/ADD 54 42.9% 72 57.1% 126
Mental health disability 5 27.8% 13 72.2% 18
Medical disability 15 34.1% 29 65.9% 44

Adaptive technology (e.g. computers, braillers, calculators, etc.) was also fairly frequently reported as an aid or service used to accommodate disability (39.8% of all respondents). When broken down according to disability type, it is apparent that students who are blind or visually impaired (65.5%, 36/55) are most likely to use adaptive technology on a dayto-day basis to accommodate their disability. As well, a large percentage of those with mobility impairments (42.9%, 601105) or learning disabilities1ADD (42.9%, 541126) also use adaptive technology in this way.

Table 2.10 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Use: Drugs/Medical Supplies by Disability Type

  Yes   No   Total
  N Percent N Percent N
Mobility impaired 49 46.7% 56 53.3% 105
Deaf/hard of hearing 6 13.3% 39 86.7% 45
Blind/vis. impaired 7 12.7% 48 87.3% 55
Speech impaired 2 22.2% 7 77.8% 9
LD/ADD 32 25.4% 94 74.6% 126
Mental health disability 11 61.1% 7 38.9% 18
Medical disability 28 63.6% 16 36.4% 44

Among students who indicated they used drugs or medical supplies to accommodate their disability, those with medical disabilities (63.6%, 28/44) and those with mental health disabilities (61.1 %, 1 111 8) were most likely to report such use. A large percentage of those with mobility impairments (46.7%, 491105) also indicated that they used drugs or medical supplies to accommodate their disability.

Students could also specify other aids or services used to accommodate a disability, and among those students who did so, (18.9% of all respondents, 66/349), the items most frequently mentioned by them (3.2% of all respondents, 111349) were visual aids (monocular, magnifying glass, screen enhancers, etc.). Certain learning-related or academic aids and services, such as software, academic and testing accommodations, tutoring, and research assistance were indicated by 5.6% (1 91349) of all respondents.

We also asked students to indicate if they required any modified building features or special transportation services to attend school: 23.8% of all respondents (831349) indicated that they did, while 74.2% (2591349) indicated they did not. Of those who required such features the bulk were students who indicated that they had mobility impairments (80.7%, 67183). Among all student respondents with mobility impairments 65.5% (671102) indicated that they required modified building features or special transport services to attend school

E. Problems of Access

Table 2.11 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Would Use Aid or Service But Do Not Have Access by Aid or Service Types

  Percentage Number
Guide dog 0.6% 2
Alternative format (e.g. braille, large print, audio, etc.) 2.3 8
Sign language interpreter 1.4 5
Hearing aid 2.9 10
Communication board 0.3 1
Wheelchair/scooter 0.9 3
Crutches or other walking aid 0.3 1
Attendant care services 1.4 5
Adaptive technology (e.g. computers, braillers, calculators, etc.) 8.0 28
Drugs and medical supplies 1.1 4
Specialized transport 2.0 7
Academic accommodation 8.3 29
Extended testing time 2.3 8
Other 14.0 49

Students were also asked if there were aids or services they would use to which they did not have access. Among the 30.7% of respondents who indicated that there were such aids or services, the most frequently mentioned were academic accommodations (8.3% of all respondents) and adaptive technology (8% of all respondents). While there are no clear disability-related distinctions among those who would use but have no access to academic accommodations, there were some disability-related differences among those who would use but have no access to adaptive technology. For instance, 20% of those who are blind or visually impaired (1 1/55) indicated they had problems of access to adaptive technology. It should also be noted that though the total number of students requiring hearing aids is small (2.2% of all respondents, lo), this number represents 22.2% of all students who are deaf or hard of hearing. In addition, 14% of respondents indicated that they would use but did not have access to some "other" type of aid or service and, among these, computer equipment, services (internet), and software (voice-activated, notetaking, and spellchecking) were most frequently mentioned (5.5% of all respondents).

Table 2.12 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating No Access to Some Aids/Services by Number of Disabilities Reported

  Percent indicating there are aids/services
to which they have no access
Number responding/Size of group
One type of disability indicated 22.3% 73/278
Two types of disability indicated 44.4% 20/48
Three types of disability indicated 66.7% 10/16
Four types of disability indicated 80.0% 4/5

Students were more likely to have problems of access to certain aids or services depending on the number of disabilities they reported. While 22.3% of those who reported one type of disability indicated that there were aids or services they would use but did not have access to, 44.4% of those who reported two types of disability, 66.7% of those who reported three types of disability, and 80% of those who reported four types of disability had problems of access to some aids or services. Thus, though the numbers of students reporting two, three or four different types of disabilities are small, problems of access to aids and services appear to be greater for students whose disability-related problems may be more severe.

Students were also asked whether their lack of access was related to the lack of a program to fund the purchaseof an item, lack of personal funds to purchase an item, lack of availability of an item in the their area, or for some other reason. Most of those students who responded, indicated that the aids or services they needed but did not have were unavailable to them because they were too costly for personal purchase (16.3%, 57/349).

Several students who listed other reasons indicated that they were often unsure about their own needs and either did not know who to ask or how to ask for certain items. In one open-ended response, a student indicated that his uncertainty about eligibility for a specific service had prevented him from accessing books on tape:

† Just found out by chance I was eligible for books on tape. Didn't know service was available. Wish I had found out sooner. Mobility impaired, Leaming Disability; College, BC

Prior awareness of the aids and services that might be useful is obviously important. In still other open-ended responses, however, students indicated that services available to them at institutions they had previously attended might not be available at the institution they currently attend.

† I was informed at [The University] that there was no funding for scribing and that my documentation was not specific enough about this service, even though I had documentation to show that I needed this service for high school provincial exams and that this was a service I received at [The College]. Learning Disability; College, BC

† Our university has some excellent services for students with disabilities (e.g. computer lab, laptops to borrow, note takers, etc.) but very poor other student services such as help with study skills (even for students without disabilities who might find them helpful). We do have workshops for multiple choice exams, etc. but nothing very extensive. Having attended 2 other schools prior to [The University], I have used the study skills counsellors' services there and have found them to be more accessible to students (and they have more resources devoted to helping students, i.e. more staff). Learning Disability; University, QC

I. Financial Support

Student respondents received financial support from a variety of different sources. Many received benefit, pension or grant income from public or private sources (44.7%, 1561349). A roughly similar proportion of students received funding through a federallprovincial student loans program (3 9.94, 13 8/349), while a smaller proportion had received scholarships or academic awards (19.8%, 691349).

Table 2.13 Numbers and Percentages of Students Identifying Number of Source Categories of Financial Support

  Percentage Number
Three identified source categories 3.5% (11/316)
Two identified source categories 24.4 (77/316)
One identified source category 45.5 (144/316)
No funding sources identified 26.6 (84/316)
     
Total 100.0 (316/316)

Student responses to the three questions about the types of financial support they had received were grouped and compared. Some students received funding through more than one of the source categories identified, that is Benefitpension programs, Student Loans programs and Scholarship/Academic Awards programs. Of the 3 16 students who responded to all three questions, 3.5% (111316) received funding from all three of the source categories identified. The bulk of students received support through one (45.5%, 1441316) or two of the source categories identified (24.4%, 7713 16), while 26.6% (8413 16) indicated that they had not received funds from any of the programs identified. Thus, a little more than a quarter of the respondents appeared to be dependent on their own or family resources to fund their expenses while pursuing post-secondary education.

Table 2.14 Numbers and Percentages of Students Receiving Student Loan Funding (CSL/QSFAP/NTSFAP) by Province

  Received Student Loan Funding
  Yes   No   Total  
  % N % N % N
Provinces with <20 respondents  
Newfoundland 27.3% 3 72.7% 8 100% 11
Nova Scotia 42.9 3 57.1 4   7
New Brunswick 60.0 3 40.0 2   5
Manitoba 33.3 4 66.7 8   12
Saskatchewan 44.4 4 55.6 5   9
             
Provinces with >20 respondents
Quebec 44.4% 28 55.6% 3 100% 63
Ontario 43.5 60 56.5 78   138
Alberta 4.5 15 59.5 22   37
British Columbia 36.0 18 64.0 32   50
             
Total Responding           332

The percentages of students receiving student loan funding by province were more varied within the smaller provinces but this variation may be a result of the small size of the respondent groups (see Table 2.14). In the larger provinces, a slightly greater percentage of students in Quebec (44.4%, 28/63) were in receipt of student loan funds than in the other three larger provinces. Among respondents from British Columbia, 36% (18150) were in receipt of student loan funds.

The percentages of students receiving benefitlpension support by province was again more varied within the smaller provinces but in general there were greater numbers reporting receipt of benefit/pension program support than student loans as was the case for the respondent group as a whole (see Table 2.15). Within the larger provinces, students in Alberta (29.3%, 12/41) were much less likely than those in other provinces to be in receipt of benefitlpension program support and were less likely to be in receipt of this kind of funding than they were to be receiving student loan funding. Among the larger provinces, students in British Columbia were most likely to be in receipt of benefitlpension program support (55.3%, 26/47).

Table 2.15 Numbers and Percentages of Students Receiving Benefit/Pension Support by Province

  Received Benefit/Pension Support
  Yes   No   Total  
  % N % N % N
Provinces with <20 respondents  
Newfoundland 45.5% 5 54.5% 6 100% 11
Nova Scotia 71.4 5 28.6 2   7
New Brunswick 60.0 3 40.0 2   5
Manitoba 41.7 5 58.3 7   12
Saskatchewan 50.0 5 50.0 5   10
             
Provinces with >20 respondents
Quebec 44.8% 30 (n) 55.2% 37 (n) 100% 67
Ontario 47.8 65 52.2 71   136
Alberta 29.3 12 70.7 29   41
British Columbia 55.3 26 44.7 21   47
             
Total Responding           325

Students who indicated they received benefitlpension program support were asked to indicate from which of several such programs they had received support. Among the programs most frequently indicated were public programs of support such as Social Assistance~Welfare (16% of all respondents, 561349) CPPIQPP Disability pension programs (12%, 421349) and provincial grants programs for students with disabilities (14.3%, 501349). Of the 14.3% of all respondents who indicated that they had received provincial education grants for persons with disabilities, most came from Quebec. In this one program area there was much greater variation among all provinces in terms of the percent of the provincial total who were in receipt of such support and particularly low percentages of the provincial total reporting receipt of such grants in two of the larger provinces, Ontario (5%, 71141) and Alberta (7.3%, 3/41).

Table 2.16 Numbers and Percentages of Students Receiving Provincial Education Grant for Persons With Disabilities by Province

  Received Provincial Education Grant
  Yes   No   Total  
  % N % N % N
Provinces with <20 respondents  
Newfoundland 45.5% 5 54.5% 6 100% 11
Nova Scotia 28.6% 2 71.4% 5   7
New Brunswick 60.0% 3 40.0% 2   5
Manitoba 8.3% 1 91.7% 11   12
Saskatchewan 10.0% 1 90.0% 9   10
             
Provinces with >20 respondents
Quebec 25.0% 17 75.0% 51   68
Ontario 5.0% 7 95.0% 134   141
Alberta 7.3% 3 92.7% 38   41
British Columbia 21.2% 11 78.8% 41   52
             
Total Responding           349

G. Institutions, Programs and enrollment Status

Chart 2.3 Percentage of Students by Type of Institution *

Chart 2.3

* Based on the 337 students that reported type of institution

There are 102 different institutions represented among the students responding to the survey. Roughly half of all students responding were registered at a university, 36.7% were at a community college, and 7% were at a Cegep. Another 5% chose to indicate some 'other' type of institution and these students were registered at a college-level institution, such as a university-college, a tradeslvocational institute, a distance learning institute, or a private college, or were completing studies in a health-related field at a hospital.

Students were asked if they had chosen to attend a particular institution on the basis of issues of accessibility (e.g. services offered), or academic programs offered, or for some other reason. They also had the option of indicating more than one reason. Although accessibility appears to be important, with 40.4% of all respondents (141) indicating that this was among the reasons for choosing a particular insitution, it is clear that academic programs offered were of greater importance in general (74.2%, 259). In addition, among the 3 1.5% who provided other reasons for attending a particular institution, a large percentage indicated that they chose an institution that was close to home (17.2%, 60).

Chart 2.4 Percentage of Students by Type of Qualification Sought *

Chart 2.4

* Based on the 318 students that reported type of qualification sought

In terms of types of qualifications sought, most students were pursuing either a bachelor's degree (45% of all respondents, 1431349) or a certificateldiploma (44%, 140), with a small percentage pursuing a master's degree (5%, 16) or a doctorate (2%, 9). Among the 3% indicating some other type of qualification, most were attempting to complete Grade 12 at a community college (2% of all respondents, 6). Among those not enrolled to pursue a specific degreeldiploma program (9.5%, 33), most were attempting to qualify for a degreeldiploma program (4%, 14).

Chart 2.5 Percentage of Students by Year Completed as of 01/09/97 *

Chart 2.5

Based on the 322 students that reported year completed

Most respondents had completed one year or less of their program as of September 1997, the beginning of the academic year 1997/98, when the survey was fielded (61%, 194).

Table 2.17 Numbers and Percentages of Students Grouped by Years completed as of 01/09/97 by Type of Institution

  Type of Institution    
Years completed as of 01/09/97 University Community College Cégep
Less than 1 year 28.1% (n=47) 49.5% (n=54) 45.8% (n=11)
1 year 19.2% (32) 26.6% (29) 16.7% (4)
2 years 23.4% (39) 17.4% (19) 20.8% (5)
3 years 17.4% (29) 5.5% (6) 12.5% (3)
4 years 5.4% (9)    
More than 4 years 6.6% (11) 0.9% (1) 4.2% (1)
       
Totals 100.0% (167) 100.0% (109) 100.0% (24)

Because community college and Cegep programs are shorter than university programs, fewer students had completed 2 or more years at these institutions than at the university level (see Table 2.17). Roughly half of all community college students (49.5%, 541109) and 45.8% (1 1124) of all Cegep students had completed less than 1 year of their program as of September 1997, whereas 28.1% (471167) of all university students had completed less than 1 year and respondents were more evenly distributed between 1, 2 and 3 years completed. Student respondents were contacted through their disability service office and it is perhaps more likely that students in their first year at the college and Cegep level would have more occasion to contact a service office at this point than later in their programs.

Chart 2.6 Percentage of Students by Field of Study *

Chart 2.6

* Based on the 320 students that reported field of study

Respondents were asked to report their field of study in an open-ended question and these were recoded and grouped into categories adapted from the University and College Student Information System (Statistics Canada) field of study categories. The highest proportion of respondents were enrolled in a Social ScienceISocial Service program (29%, 92) while the second highest indicated enrollment in a BusinessICommerce program (19%, 62). The lowest proportion reported enrollment in MathRhysical Sciences programs (.6%, 2). The pattern of concentration in Social ScienceIService and BusinessICommerce programs is similar to that observed in a NEADS study conducted in 1996.

When broken down according to type of institution, some patterns emerge with respect to the concentration of students in certain fields of study. A greater percentage of students enrolled in Social SciencelSocial Service programs are studying at the university level (58.4%), whereas a greater percentage of those enrolled in BusinessICommerce programs are studying at the community college level (65%). The relatively small numbers of students enrolled in other fields of study make generalizations about distribution across types of institution in other cases difficult.

Table 2.18 Percentages of Students in Field of Study by Type of Institution

Type of Institution
Field of Study University Community College Cégep Other Total
General Arts and Science 57.1% 19.0% 23.8%   100.0%
Fine and Applied Arts 34.8 39.1 17.4 8.7  
Humanities 100        
Med. & Health Occup. 40.9 50.0 9.1    
Social Science/Service 58.4 25.8 12.4 3.4  
Education 61.9 33.3 4.8    
Natural Sciences 83.3 8.3 8.3    
Business/Commerce 25.0 65.0 10.0    
Math/Physical Sciences 50.0 50.0      
Engineering/Comp Sci. 40.0 52.0 8.0    
Law 88.9 11.1      
Total number 164 110 24 14 312

Chart 2.7 Percentage of Students by Enrollment Status *

Chart 2.7

* Based on the 321 students that reported enrollment status

The majority of respondents indicated that they were enrolled full-time (75%, n=242). It should be noted here that the definition of full-time study within the Canada Student Loans Program is different for students with disabilities than for those without. Students with disabilities must be taking 40% of a full course load to qualify as full-time, whereas students without disabilities must be taking 60% of a full course load.

No significant differences were observed in enrollment status across types of institution, types of qualifications being pursued, or gender. Among the small number of students attending only night classes (5.7% of all respondents, 20/349), most were enrolled on a part-time basis (68.4% of those attending only night classes, 13120). Among those who attended any night classes (26.6% of all respondents, 931349) most were enrolled on a fulltime basis (74.4% of those attending any night-classes, 67/93).

Table 2.19 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating that Attendance Requires Modified Buildings/Transportation by Enrolment Status

Enrolment Status
  Full-time Part-time Other Total
Requires Modified Features 18.9% (45) 40.6% (28) 37.5% (3) 24.1% (76/315)
Does Not Require 81.1% (193) 59.4% (41) 62.5% (5) 75.9% (239/315)
Total 100 (238) 100 (69) 100 (8) 100 (315)

Among those studying part-time, 40.6% (28169) required modified building features or special transportation services to attend school, whereas only 18.9% (451238) of those studying full-time required such features. Among those who require modified building features or special transport services, the majority still chose to study full-time: 54.2% of those who require modifications chose to study full-time (45183). However, this is 15.1 percentage points less than the average for all students responding (69.3% studying fulltime, 421349).

H. Services On Campus

Most respondents (95.1%) attended an institution that had a campus office that coordinated services for students with disabilities and most had visited or contacted this office directly (93.7%). Since the survey was distributed through campus offices, it was expected that most student respondents would attend an institution where such facilities existed.

Table 2.20 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Became Aware of Services for Students with Disabilities by Method Specified

  Percentage Number
Admissions Package 41.3% (144)
Course Calendar 22.6 (79)
High School or Other Institutional Advisor 19.2 (67)
Another Student 14.3 (50)
Professor 10.6 (37)
Student Association Handbook/Material 16.3 (57)
Institution's Admissions Counsellor 20.9 (73)
Other 26.9 (94)

We asked students how they had become aware of the services offered to students with disabilities at their institution. Students could indicate as many categories as were appropriate and could also indicate any methods that were not listed. Students most frequently indicated they had found out about services through their admissions package (41.3%, 1441349). Others indicated that they had been made aware by another student (14.3%, 501349) or a professor (10.6%, 37/349) Thus, it seems likely that many students become aware of the range of services offered after they have made a decision to attend a particular institution. In one open-ended response a student indicated that the recruitment activities of the service office at the institution had sparked her awareness:

† A person from Services for Students with Disabilities came to one of my classes to recruit note takers for another student and I got the address. Medical Disability; University, AB

Still others indicated that they had been made aware of services at their institution by contact with a high school or other institutional advisor (19.2%). In specifying other methods, 9.2% of all respondents (321349) indicated that they had received information about services from a health practitioner, a rehabilitation or career counsellor, or through some social services counsellor. Thus contact with agencies and institutions, whether educational or community-based, can provide students with an informed awareness of what services they may expect. A smaller percentage of students also indicated that they had found out about services through their own research (5.7% of all respondents, 201349):

† I went to disability services before I was accepted. I called the school and met with the teachers. I decided if I liked their services before I decided to go to the school or not. Learning Disability; College, ON

A small percentage of students (10.6%, 371349) indicated that they were required to pay for certain services. Open-ended responses indicate that the types of services for which students may be required to pay are varied:

† Pay for tutor. Learning Disability; University, QC

† Research assistance very expensive. Mobility impaired; University, BC

† Note taking paper, Note taker, Tutor. Mobility impaired; College, ON

† Elevator key. Mobility impaired; Ckgep, QC

-Transcription to large print 7 centslpage. BlindVisually impaired; University, AB

Some students indicated that they could seek reimbursement through a government program for the service they had to pay for, but this was nonetheless problematic for some:

-Pay for large print and tapes, covered under VRDP in Alberta. Blind/Visually impaired; College, A B

† Our DSS office now requires students with disabilities to pay for final examinations. I believe the money goes toward paying invigilators, and apparently, the student is reimbursed by the Quebec government via the Allowance For Special Needs, but the fact is that we are now charged for taking exams. Blind/Visually impaired; University, QC

† If I apply through Disability Services for funding, then I am required to apply for grants and bursaries that are taxable income. Deaf/Hard of hearing; University, MB

L. Representation

Chart 2.8 Percentage of Students by Independent Group for SWDs *

Chart 2.8

* Based on all 349 student respondents

Respondents were asked if their institution had an independent group organized by and for students with disabilities, and 30% of all respondents (1031349) indicated that they were aware that such a group existed at their institution. Roughly half (49%, 1721349) indicated that no such group existed. A further 4% indicated that they did not know, while 17% did not state.

Table 2.21 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Their Institutions Has an Independent Group for Students with Disabilities by Type of Institution

  University Community College Cégep Other Total
Yes 49.35 (71) 24% (24) 26.1% (6) 7.7% (1) (102)
No 44.4% (64) 72.0% (72) 73.9% (17) 92.3% (12) (165)
Don't Know 6.3% (9) 4.0% (4)      
           
Total Responding 100% (144) 100% (100) 100% (23) 100% (13) (280)

Roughly half of all university students who responded to the question (49.3%, 711144) knew of an independent group organized by and for students with disabilities at their institution; 24% (241100) of all community college students, 26.1% (6123) of all Cegep students and 7.7% (1113) of those registered at some other type of institution knew that such a group existed.

Table 2.22 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating Participation in Independent SWD Groups by Type of Institution

Type of Institution Percentage Number
University 74.3% (26)
Community College 14.3% (5)
Cégep 11.4% (4)
Other 0% (0)
     
Total 100% (35)

A small percentage of respondents (lo%, 351349) indicated that they participated directly in the activities of an independent group organized by and for students with disabilities. Among these students, the majority were registered at the university level (74.3%, 26/35).

When asked if there was an accessibility committee in place at their institution, 39% of all respondents indicated that they were aware of such a committee and 27.2% indicated that none existed at their institution. Another 5% indicated that they did not know of the existence of such a committee and 28% did not respond to the question.

Chart 2.9 Percentage of Students by Accessibility Committee *

Chart 2.9 Mo<* Based on all 349 student respondents

Table 2.23 Numbers and Percentages of Students Indicating They Have an Accessibility Committee by Type of Institution

  University Community College Cégep Other
Yes 68.5% (87) 43.5% (37) 35.0% (7) 27.3% (3)
No 25.2% (32) 47.1% (40) 65.0% (13) 54.5% (6)
Don't Know 6.3% (8) 9.4% (8)    
         
Total Responding 100% (127) 100% (85) 100% (20) 100% (11)

Among those university students who responded to the question, 68.5% indicated that their institution had an accessibility committee (see Table 2.22). Among college students responding, 43.5% indicated that their institution had an accessibility committee, while 35% of Cegep students and 27.3% of those registered at some other type of institution indicated the existence of an accessibility committee. Respondents who indicated that an accessibility committee was in place at their institution, were asked whether this committee included representation from students with disabilities. Of the 137 students who indicated that an accessibility committee existed at their institution, 70.1% (n=96) indicated that such representation was in place, or 27.5% of all respondents.

Table 2.24 Number and Percentages of Students Indicating Student With Disabilities Represented on Accessibility Committee by Type of Institution

  University Community College Cégep Other
Yes 77.6% (66) 52.5% (21) 44.4% (4) 50.0% (3)
No 14.1% (12) 45.0% (18) 55.6% (5) 33.3% (2)
Don't Know 8.2% (7) 2.5% (1)    
         
Total Responding 100% (85) 100% (40) 100% (9) 100% (6)

It was also more common for university level accessibility committees to include representation of students with disabilities. Among those university students who responded when asked about representation for students with disabilities on an accessibility committee at their institution, 77.6% indicated that such representation was in place, while 52.5% of responding college students, 44.4% of responding Cegep students and 50% of those registered at some other type of institution who responded to the question indicated that student representation was in place.


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