Why Disability Services Management Should be an Institution-wide Concern

The number of undergraduate and postgraduate students who declare a disability has increased by at least 50% in the UK, while at least 11% of the student population in 2016 has declared some form of disability. However, there is little awareness of the disability services provided by educational institutions. Many of those who do provide services are relying on paper-based processes that do not allow them to scale their service offerings to this growing number of students.

Are your students receiving the support they need?

Research shows that disability services can be related to student success, retention, employability, student experience, admissions, and marketing. Therefore, it ought to be an institution-wide concern.

Educational institutions around the world face 6 common challenges:

  1. Lack of awareness. Very often students with disabilities are not aware of what type of support they can receive. This is often attributed to insufficient communication and the lack of easy access to accessibility services.
  2. Paper-based processes and offline databases prevent institutions from easily expanding their support service offerings to a larger number of students. As the number of students with declared disabilities increases, educational institutions struggle to handle the increased demand for their services.  It creates time-consuming bottleneck situations, preventing the accessibility support team from responding to student requests on time.
  3. Lack of data-driven decision making. The lack of obtaining meaningful reports on the activities of the disability support department makes it challenging to identify their successes and areas of need as well as the impact their service has on a student’s satisfaction rate and the overall student experience.
  4. Data protection and GDPR. With the introduction of the EU´s Data protection directive, IT departments are cautious about storing and sharing sensitive student data across teams and faculties. Most online databases prevent the restriction of data sharing among specific team members who are actively involved in the support case.
  5. Student retention and satisfaction. Studies show that students who have declared some form of disability and have not received reasonable adjustments during their course time have higher chances of dropping the course or indicate lower satisfaction rates to their student services departments.
  6. Faculty engagement. Individual learning plans can be challenging due to the lack of a communication between support staff and students.

Use technology to modernize your student disability services. Contact the Symplicity team to find out how we help streamline disability support services and schedule a conversation to learn more about our market-leading accessibility management solution.

Disability Services, Higher Ed, Symplicity

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