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Why do Ivy League institutions have such radically different percentages of students with disablities?

The data on students with disabilities looks great at Brown, but we have serious questions for Princeton. 

The staff at CollegesLike have a particular love of students with disabilities. We pulled the data on the percentage of students with registered disabilities at all colleges and universities in America. (A “disability” is defined as a student who receives an accommodation for either a physical or learning difference. The data is self-reported by each institution.)

Then we sorted the data on disabilities within the Ivy League, and this is what we found: 

26%     Brown University
16%     Columbia University
14%     Yale University
10%     Dartmouth College
9%     Harvard University
9%     University of Pennsylvania
6%     Cornell University
4%     Princeton University

This is self-reported data from each institution. The mean percentage of students with disabilities among elite universities in America is about 12%. 

So… What’s going on here? How can Brown have 26% of students with a disability and Princeton only 4%? We have questions!

The staff at CollegesLike can draw five possible explanations for this phenomenon: 

1.    It could be something that happens in admission. Perhaps Brown and Columbia are much more sympathetic to application essays about overcoming a disability in high school than the other Ivy League institutions. 

2.    It could be the Disability Services program. Perhaps the colleges at the top of the list have Disability Coordinators who are more approachable, more effective, or located in more visible places than institutions at the bottom of the list. 

3.    It could be that there’s a self-perpetuating phenomenon taking place. A college which already has a critical mass of students with disabilities is an appealing factor to future applicants. 

4.    It’s the physical campus. Cornell’s physical campus in Ithaca, NY, has several disadvantages for students with physical disabilities: a hilly campus, old buildings without elevators, and an average of 64 inches of snow per year. But Princeton is flat and only averages 24 inches of snow per year. So this may explain Cornell, but not Princeton. 

5.    Some combination of the four items above. Some Ivy League colleges are just giving off an impression of being not very welcoming to students with disabilities. 

At CollegesLike, we love all college-bound students and implore colleges and universities to provide full support to students with disabilities. 
 

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