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Learning Disability Module


Trends and Prevelance

According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD, 2009), 61% of students with LD graduated with a regular high school diploma in 2007, an increase from 51% a decade earlier. However, students with LD enter postsecondary education at a much lower rate than their nondisabled peers, and of those who do, few seek support in college. Even fewer earn undergraduate or advanced degrees in comparison to their nondisabled peers. In general, college enrollment of students with disabilities including LD appears to have grown over the past decade. The most recent figures on postsecondary enrollment of youth with LD who have been out of school up to four years indicates that 48% attended a 2-year, 4-year, or vocational, business, or technical school in comparison with 63% of nondisabled peers (Newman, Wagner, Cameto, Knokey, & Shaver, 2010).

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (2006), which focuses on the characteristics of postsecondary students and how they finance their education, the proportion of students who reported having a disability increased from 9% in 2000 to 11% in 2004 and has remained close to that level. Because it becomes the responsibility of the student to disclose a disability in a postsecondary setting, and because many choose not to self-disclose, it is likely that the 11% figure is underrepresentative. According to the National Council on Disability, the percentage is likely closer to 17% (Kessler Foundation & the National Organization on Disability, 2010).



Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability, Harris Interactive. (2010). The ADA, 20 years later. New York, NY. Retrieved from http://www.2010disabilitysurveys.org/

National Center for Learning Disabilities. (2009). The state of learning disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.ncld.org/images/stories/OnCapitolHill/PolicyRelatedPublicatio...

Newman, L., Wagner, M., Cameto, R., Knokey, A. M., & Shaver, D. (2010). Comparisons across time of the outcomes of youth with disabilities up to 4 years after high school. A report of findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS) and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) (NCSER 2010-3008). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Retrieved from http://www.nlts2.org/reports/2010_09/nlts2_report_2010_09_ch2.pdf

U. S. Government Accountability Office. (2009). Higher education and disability: Education needs a coordinated approach to improve its assistance to schools in supporting students (GAO -10-33). Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1033.pdf


Permission is granted to copy this document for educational purposes; however, please acknowledge your source using the following citation:

UDI Online Project. (2011). Learning Disabilities (LD) Module. Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability, University of Connecticut, Storrs. http://udi.uconn.edu/index.php?q=content/learning-disability-module.