Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Devlin, Sandy D.

Committee Member

Fondren, Kellie

Committee Member

White, Micah

Committee Member

Hopper, Peggy

Committee Member

Coffey, Kent

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


Given the significance of completing college, the low college graduation rate for students with disabilities, and the effect of support services on students in the general population's ability to complete college, it is essential to understand the link between accessing support and attaining positive postsecondary education outcomes for the wide-ranging population of college students with disabilities. Students with disabilities attend postsecondary education more significantly than ever before, and the literature shows they do not perform as well academically as their peers. Higher education institutes expect students with disabilities to perform academically at the same levels as their non-disabled peers. Therefore, institutions must identify and support them. With graduation completion rates deteriorating throughout higher education, administrators, faculty, and staff are more pressured than ever to meet all students' needs. In response, higher education institutions are developing and restructuring their support services to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Through this study the researcher sought to compare the perceptions of students with disabilities who chose to register with the university’s disability resource center and utilize the accommodations and services they provide and the students who disabilities who chose not to register for these services. A quantitative study was performed using the National Survey of Student Engagement 2021-2022 to identify first year and senior students with disabilities. Multiple choice questions from the survey were analyzed to address each research question. The study compared the students identifying as having a disability and their registration status with the university’s disability resource office. The data from this study provided insight into the perceptions of students with disabilities, and how they feel about MSU’s DRC and utilizing its services and accommodations. Data also provided a comparison of students with disabilities who chose to register with DRC and those who did not in active learning, collaboration with peers, collaborative strategies with faculty, and the facilitation of the students social and emotional well-being and a supportive academic environment on campus by faculty.

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