Deaf College Student Data

Research consistently underscores the positive impact of higher education on the lives of deaf people. Deaf people who have earned a college degree earn more money, have higher employment rates, and are more likely to be involved in their communities. 

Despite the potential for positive change, there persists a notable education gap between hearing and deaf people. This page aims to shed light on these disparities by highlighting data from three key sources: the American Community Survey (ACS), the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), and the Deaf Postsecondary Access and Inclusion Scale (DPAIS).

By examining this data, we can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by deaf college students. Our ultimate goal is to identify opportunities for enhancing programs and services, fostering better access, and promoting community support within the realm of higher education.

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Key Data about Deaf College Students

Postsecondary Data from the American Community Survey (Bloom, Palmer, & Winninghoff, 2024)

An estimated 5% of deaf people are enrolled in postsecondary education and training, compared to 9.9% of hearing people.

22% of deaf people have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is 15.7% lower than the attainment rates of their hearing peers.

Black (15.6%), Latinx (15.6%), and Multiracial (21.6%) deaf people have lower bachelor’s degree attainment rates than their white (23.8%) and Asian (40.5%) deaf peers.

Undergraduate Enrollment Data from the National Center of Education Statistics (Bloom & Palmer, 2023)

1.4% of all college students are deaf. The majority of deaf college students are pursuing bachelor’s degrees (42.1%) or associate degrees (45.8%).

Almost half of deaf college students (45.8%) have an additional disability.

Compared to hearing students, deaf students are more likely to be older, married, and be first generation students.

Deaf Postsecondary Access and Inclusion Scale from NDC (Palmer, Bloom, Kinast, & Ivanko, 2023)

Nationwide, deaf college students rate campus access and inclusion a D (65/100)

Deaf students rated: Accommodating Learning Environments 70/100, Campus Connectedness 63/100, and Deaf Affirming Climate 62/100

60% of deaf students receive more than one accommodation

ACCESS Is More Than Accommodations: 2018-2019 Deaf College Student National Accessibility Report

This report provides a comprehensive overview of results from a 2018-2019 survey of deaf college students, in higher education institutions across the nation, and offers suggestions for improving access and inclusion on campus for deaf students.

Student Self-Advocacy

Check out our self-advocacy resources for students!

Real Experiences

Felicia's Story: Role of DSS Office
Autumn's Story: Access in the Classroom
Saad's Story: Access in the Classroom

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