Experiences of Students with Disabilities at Ontario’s Universities: Students with Disabilities Survey Report

All willing and qualified students in Ontario must be able to access and excel within Ontario’s postsecondary education system. This is a foundational principle of OUSA’s policy and advocacy work. We believe universities are currently underserving students with disabilities and that this needs to change.

In support of this change, we conducted an exploratory primary research study during September and November 2015. We intended to learn about the lived experiences of attending university in Ontario for students who identify as having one or more disabilities. Specifically, we wanted to investigate the challenges associated with persistance and graduation. This report will start by presenting the external research on which this project is based, move on to describe the methodology, and end by presenting and discussing the findings.

This research illustrates the nature of the barriers students with disabilities experience in their university environments. At the same time, it elevates the voices of students with disabilities, enabling them to more directly participate in OUSA’s policy development and advocacy. While this research is not representative of all of Ontario’s students with disabilities, these results can be used to identify issues that might be worth more formal study.