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Striving For Inclusion And Academic Success For Students Who Access Accommodations In College

Students with disabilities are pursuing higher education at greater rates than ever before, with the largest percentage being students with learning differences (LD). However, research indicates that outcomes for college students with LD have not kept pace with their peers. One issue is that many students with LD are not utilizing their entitled accommodations that have been shown to support academic success. Therefore, it is critical to better understand the factors that influence whether college students decide to use their accommodations. Prior research has identified self-determination (SD) as an important correlate of accommodation use and academic success of college students with LD. The goal of this project was to determine whether the relationship between SD and academic success is mediated by accommodation use. This study included 87 students registered with the Disability Services Program at the University of Denver. Participants responded to an online survey which assessed accommodation use, GPA, and level of self-determination measured by the Self-Determination Student Scale Short-Form. We conducted a mediation analysis using multiple regressions. No direct effect was found in the mediation model between SD and GPA, but there was some preliminary evidence that higher SD scores were related to higher perceived utility of accommodations. These findings have implications for university disability service offices in supporting the accommodation needs and successful academic outcomes of students with disabilities.