The Importance of Postsecondary Options

Why are postsecondary options for students with disabilities so important? Consider the following:

  • The 2013 Disability Status Report for the State of Florida, published by Cornell University, indicates that only 30.8% of working-age people with disabilities are employed. This is in sharp contrast to the 74.6% of working age individuals without disabilities who are employed. This shows a 43.8% gap between the employment rates of people with disabilities and people without disabilities.
  • The poverty rate statistics are included in the 2013 Disability Status Report (2014) for the State of Florida. The poverty rate of working-age people with disabilities in Florida was 28% while the poverty rate of working-age people without disabilities in Florida was 14.3%. Working-age people with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as working-age people without disabilities.
  • Individuals who participate in postsecondary education have better jobs. Youth with intellectual disabilities have the lowest rates of education, work, or preparation for work after high school of all disability groups. Nationally, there is a growing interest in postsecondary education as a way to improve employment and other key life areas for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID)” (Migliore, Butterworth & Hart, 2009).
  • A national survey was given to college programs for transition-age students with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) in 2008. In this survey, program coordinators indicated the valuable impact of the postsecondary experience for students with disabilities. The top four responses are as follows (Papay & Bambara, 2011):
    • To gain employment or gain training for employment
    • To participate in inclusive postsecondary classes
    • To learn and exercise independent living skills
    • To attain postsecondary educational benefits


    Erickson W. Lee C., von Schrader, S. (2014). 2012 Disability status report: United States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Yang Tan Institute (YTI). Retrieved from English/HTML /report2012.cfm?fips=2000000&html_year= 2012&subButton=Get+HTML#introduction.

    Migliore, A., Butterworth, J. and Hart, D. (2009). Postsecondary education and employment outcomes for youth with intellectual disabilities. Think College Fast Facts, Issue No. 1. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion. Retrieved from

    Papay, C., & Bambara, L. (2011). Postsecondary education for transition-age students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities: A national survey. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 46(1), 78-93.