Comparison of Full-time and Part-time Graduate Students with Disabilities using The Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (2016)

Ottawa, October 24, 2018

As part of the “Landscape of Accessibility and Accommodation for Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities in Canada” national study, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) has conducted a detailed analysis of the 2016  Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey  (CGPSS) to examine the experiences of 2,324 graduate students who identify as having a disability. Specifically, we first compared their experiences to those of their non-disabled peers and found several key differences. In our report , we detailed findings such as how more graduate students without disabilities said they would recommend their program or university to others and that students without disabilities were typically more satisfied with their program, the quality of interactions, and their coursework, in comparison to students with disabilities. Because of such differences, further analyses were completed to examine what differences might exist between various subpopulations of students with disabilities.

The reports that NEADS will be releasing from this work were completed by  Kathleen Clarke , a Research Associate at NEADS. She offered the following comment:

“How can institutions, student services departments, and academic programs tailor support for subgroups of graduate students with disabilities? To answer this question, we must first learn more about what differences exist based on various student characteristics. NEADS will be releasing a series of reports that seek to broaden the understanding of specific subpopulations of graduate students with disabilities including: part-time/full-time students; STEM/non-STEM students; Aboriginal students; and students with different types of disabilities. This is important work that I hope informs the way students are supported throughout their educational journeys.”

Below, we are pleased to share the first report in which we present findings from a comparison of part-time and full-time graduate students with disabilities. Some of the findings from this work include:

  • Several demographic differences were found in terms of: age (part-time students typically older); marital status (more part-time students were married); number of children (more part-time students had children)

  • Most common disability for both groups was mental health.

  • More part-time students were in course-based programs and were enrolled in masters programs.

  • Full-time and part-time students with disabilities had similar reasons for enrolling in their programs: 36% of full-time students and 39% of part-time students indicated that they enrolled to equip them to start a career, or advance an existing career in academia.

  • Slightly more part-time students indicated they would recommend their program and university to others in comparison to full-time students.

  • When rating the satisfaction with their program, the quality of interactions, and their coursework, part-time students typically rated items more favourably than full-time students.

  • When rating various professional skills development activities, full-time students rated almost all items more favourably than part-time students. However, in most cases, slightly more part-time students responded that they either did not participate in these things or they were not applicable to them.

  • For activities concerning research experience, more full-time respondents rated the items favourably. However, similar to the professional skills development activities, more part-time students said they either did not participate in these things or they were not applicable to them.

  • 39% of part-time students and 21% of full-time students indicated they were away from campus most of the time.

The full report with the detailed findings can be found at the bottom of this press release in Word and PDF formats.

NEADS would like to thank the  Canadian Association of Graduate Studies  (CAGS) for organizing this survey and for also granting us access to the data for our analyses. Additionally, we gratefully acknowledge grant funding support for this research from the Social Development Partnerships Program, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund, Government of Ontario and the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling, Counselling Foundation of Canada.

For further information about this research contact our national office:

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6

Download and read the report here in Word and PDF formats: