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Sara Schley, Gerard G. Weathers, Jeffrey Hemmeter, John C. This article examines the effect that postsecondary education has on earnings and the duration of time spent in the Social Security disability programs for young persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.
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Our hypothesis is that investments in postsecondary training increase the likelihood of employment for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and thus reduce dependency on disability-related income support programs.
A longitudinal data set based upon records from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Social Security administrative records 2004oubs used for this analysis. We find that those who graduate, even those who graduate with vocational degrees, experience significant earnings benefits and reductions in the duration of time spent on federal disability programs when compared with those who do not graduate with a degree.
This finding suggests that reductions in the duration of time spent on Social Security programs are not limited to those with the highest level of scholastic aptitude and that investments in post-secondary education can benefit a broad group of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons. In addition, the data show that individuals who attend college, but withdraw before graduation, fair no better economically than individuals who never attended college.
The second half of the 20th century was one of the most active periods in the history for postsecondary education in the United States. The initial impetus resulted from federal legislation, which enabled large numbers of World War II veterans to attend colleges and universities.
Subsequently, the sons and daughters of these same veterans began entering postsecondary institutions in large numbers during the s and early s prompting massive expansion in staffing, facilities, and curricula. Fueled by demand for higher education, community colleges expanded, opening the doors of postsecondary education to large numbers of individuals who would otherwise not have had access to traditional higher education.
Growth during this same period was also fueled by societal changes in attitudes regarding college attendance, 2004pubx focused on issues of access to and training 2004pybs the technologies. The technological focus was driven by events such as space exploration: The civil rights movement fueled the access focus. Civil rights laws and their impact on education are summarized in a fact sheet published by the U.
Department of Education U. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Discrimination based on race, 5552, and national origin was prohibited 2004puhs with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of Prohibition of sex discrimination was added to the list with Title IX of the Education Amendments of and age discrimination p220 the Age Discrimination Act of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of added prohibition of disability discrimination.
From a U. Average earnings varied substantially based on educational attainment: Access to postsecondary education and choice of school by individuals initially centered on the issue of college opportunities for children from low-income families but extended to disabled individuals with the passage, inof Section of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act.
No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States … Shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded ;20 the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal assistance.
This provision was extended by passage of the Americans with Disability Act of No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, 2004pkbs excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity. American with Disabilities Act ofSection Efforts at the state and federal levels in support of these acts have taken a variety of forms, including financial support for the elaborate network of community colleges and expanded state university systems.
In addition, increased financial aid to students has improved access, while contributing to the ability to choose one’s school, although these increases have not necessarily kept pace with the rising costs of postsecondary education Wolanin, These societal efforts to provide access to higher education have markedly influenced the numbers of deaf and hard-of-hearing 2004pubs seeking postsecondary education and the access services they receive.
Assuming continued growth in enrollments of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons in 20004pubs education, and adding the students currently enrolled at Gallaudet and NTID, there are probably more than 30, enrolled today. Nationally, the educational attainment levels of severe to profoundly deaf individuals are lower than that of hearing individuals. Blanchfield, Feldman, Dunbar, and Gardner used three nationally representative data sets to estimate the prevalence of severe to profound deafness and summarize educational and employment demographics: For those who had received a high school diploma but no further education, the discrepancy was For college graduates, the p220 were Clearly, there are lower educational rates of those who are severely to profoundly deaf or hard of hearing.
Group differences were equally striking. The difference is even more striking when evaluating differences by severity of 200pubs loss.
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McNeil looked at data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation between and and compared the employment rate of the U. Although these national 2004phbs point to inequities in education, employment, and earnings for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, we have little information to date on looking at these factors conjointly and longitudinally.
Certainly, the door to postsecondary education has been opened for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons in the United States. But what impact has this access to higher education had on the lives of those who choose to attend college?
This historical perspective sets the stage for the 2004pubz discussed in this article, namely the effect of college on improving the employment and earnings of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons and reducing dependence on Supplemental Security Income SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI.
Another related set of findings suggests that the higher a degree the greater the gap between the earnings of college graduates and high school graduates. Department of Education, Similar results have been reported for deaf and hard-of-hearing college graduates. The majority of studies referenced above report only on earnings of graduates who are in the workforce.
But the effects of college should also be assessed in terms of employment rates, and, in the case of disabled individuals, the effect on reducing long-term dependence on public assistance in the form of SSI and SSDI.
Although the added value in terms of increased salaries between deaf and hard-of-hearing college graduates and nongraduates appears to be of a magnitude similar to statistics for the general population, the 2p0 of this difference must 2004pibs tempered if larger numbers of the disabled graduates do not participate in the labor force and receive long-term federal financial assistance through the SSI and SSDI programs.
Findings by Walter, Clarcq, and Thompson 2004puubs that graduation from college results in major economic benefits for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons. These figures are in keeping with national statistics for the general population. Furthermore, Weathers et al.
This means that earning a college degree reduces the reliance on such programs for even those who were in families in low economic brackets as children. The purpose of this article is to document the economic outcomes of graduating from college, specifically the NTID, by reporting on the results of a study conducted in collaboration with the Social Security Administration in NTID is one of two postsecondary institutions in the country for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
Gallaudet University, in Washington DC, is a liberal arts college with an enrollment of approximately 1, deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Fall Gallaudet University, This study examined the economic condition of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who exited from NTID between andlooking at postsecondary educational attainment, income, employment levels, and the transition into and out of U. How does completion of postsecondary education influence lifetime earnings of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons?
The literature review suggests that the economic handicapping effects of severe-to-profound deafness are somewhat reduced as one achieves higher levels of education beyond high school. What this study adds to the field is a comprehensive case study of the population of individuals who apply to attend a college geared toward high-quality technology-orientated training for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, by conducting a secondary analysis of institutional data, matched with federal reports of income, earnings and SSI and SSDI participation rates.
The next section of this paper explores the impact of postsecondary education by considering data from a recent study conducted at NTID. Life history files were constructed. Individuals were followed over time, with detailed longitudinal information about their employment, income, and SSI and SSDI participation levels. The tabular information returned to NTID consisted of demographically sorted tables; for example, all male graduates with a 4-year degree, and their employment levels across the range of ages between when they dropped into 55 sample until either or their age when they dropped out of the sample e.
Thus, for example, regardless of whether someone was 18 years old in 20044pubs year or the year or anywhere in between, their employment level is reported when they were 18 as well as for every other year of age where they were part of the datafile.
For this study, we focused on a descriptive picture of growth across age: What this means is that 2004puns was controlled for in this study, but chronological time year of data collection was not a control variable.
See Singer and Willett for a detailed discussion of this design. Graphs included in the results section of this paper are thus longitudinal with data of individuals over time, grouped across different age levels in 1-year increments.
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No data about individuals who made up the pool of subjects were reported. NTID made no requests of individuals to furnish any information and no personal information on individuals by way of name or address was used in data analysis. Section a b Section a b 5 states that disclosures may be made to a recipient who has provide the agency with advance adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical and reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable.
After detailed verification and matching processes were completed by the SSA, 13, individuals remained in the database: The file contained the following variables for each case: Social Security number, year of exit —gender, degree attainment, and birthdate. The degree attainment variable defined four groups of deaf or hard-of-hearing participants: Graduates with certificates or diplomas less than 2-year degree programs or with master’s degrees were not included in this analysis due to small sample size certificates and diplomas and master’s degrees.
The number and percentage of male participants exceeded female participants at all age levels. Enrollment at the Rochester Institute of Technology as a whole has included more men than women—although the difference is larger than at NTID: For the last 5 years, the annual percent of female students has ranged from All tables were presented by degree level and age.
These data provided the basis for the analyses reported in this article. The graphs in this article present growth over time, grouped by age in years, where age is controlled for but chronological time is not. This means we explicitly did not pay attention to chronological cohort differences in this study; instead, we were interested in what happens to people as they age in the work force specifically with respect to their income, employment level, and participation in SSI p02 SSDI federal disability programs.
The deaf participants in this study represent the universe of individuals exiting NTID from to the spring quarter ofas well as those who applied but who either were not admitted or who chose not to attend.
This sample was retrieved from the RIT Student Record System and thus is not intended to be representative of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons in the United States. Because this represents population data, and because the number of individuals in the study is so large, significance testing is 2004pube appropriate; any difference between groups would result in being statistically significant even at an alpha level of. Thus, the results stand on their own descriptively.
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NTID has, as its highest priority, facilitating employment of its graduates. For the purposes of this study, income reported to the Internal Revenue Service that qualifies for the social security tax deduction Federal Insurance Contributions Act [FICA] is assumed to be evidence of employment.
The SSA provided information about the numbers of participants reporting qualifying earnings each year since their application to NTID. Figure 1 summarizes the information obtained from the SSA in the form of percentages of the participants reporting income, classified by age and degree level. The effects of graduation from NTID on employment are substantial. Graduates report earnings at rates substantially higher than nongraduates withdrawals or rejects.
Noticeably, those who were accepted to NTID but who chose not to attend show a higher employment rate than those who did not graduate withdrawals and rejects through their late 40s but a lower employment rate than that of NTID graduates. In the previous section, it was indicated that substantially more graduates reported earnings than individuals who had withdrawn or been denied admission to NTID.
The analysis that follows is based only on the earnings of individuals who reported 2004pubs income during the years covered by the study and does not factor in zero dollars for individuals not reporting earnings.