Grantee Research

Graduate and Professional Education for Students with Disabilities: Examining Access to STEM, Legal, and Health Fields in the United States

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



access to graduate education, access to legal education, students with disabilities, socioeconomic status


"This study examines the enrollment transition from undergraduate to graduate and professional education and how specific factors at the culmination of a baccalaureate education may play a role in disproportionate access to graduate and professional education for students with disabilities. For example, people with disabilities experience additional costs of living (Mitra, Palmer, Kim, Mont, & Groce, 2017), possibly creating a greater sensitivity to the affordability of graduate education among this population. Moreover, there is evidence that students with disabilities view themselves more negatively (Wright & Stimmel, 1984), and may feel less supported during undergraduate education (Hedrick, Dizen, Collins, Evans, & Grayson, 2010; Moriarty, 2007) or even discouraged from pursuing certain fields of study such as STEM (Nepomuceno et al., 2016), which could lower their expectations for further education (Shandra & Hogan, 2009). Therefore, in addition to examining their representation overall in this transition, we investigate whether in the U.S., there are predictors of graduate and professional education enrollment that operate differently for students with disabilities than for other students. Moreover, we investigate the enrollment transition from undergraduate to graduate and professional education in three post-baccalaureate fields of study: a) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), b) legal education, and c) health fields." (p. 3)