Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Tammy Kolbe


There are currently over 200,000 students with disabilities enrolled in post-secondary institutions. This reality places demands on higher education institutions and requires considerations related to service delivery and policy (US Government Accountability, 2009). In response to the growing number of matriculating students with disabilities, higher education institutions are incorporating service centers to provide additional academic and non-academic supports to address the unique needs for these students. There is a gap in existing higher education literature in mapping the existing landscape of programs and service delivery models at the higher education level and what is effective so institutions can serve students with disabilities well. Other than the legal protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504, there is little understanding about how higher education institutions are responding to the diversifying student needs. The purpose of this study is to respond to these knowledge gaps by examining the existing programmatic landscape and develop a typology of programs and services in place to serve students with disabilities at selective and highly selective institutions. Findings establish an exploratory typology of the range of disability support for undergraduate students at selective and highly selective higher education institutions. An organizational typology is an important first step towards understanding the existing policy landscape, thereby setting the stage for future research to categorize and evaluate disability support programs and practices. This study explores, through direct content analysis, the ways in which ten selective or highly selective public higher education institutions’ Disability Services Office provide services and programs, framed by key components identified in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) 2020 Domains, Program Standards, and Performance Indicators. Implications suggest that future research is needed to further characterize levels of support and engagement among higher education institutions’ disability services models and delivery methods. The emerging typology can also be conceptualized and utilized in regard to other types of student services operations, such as Residential Life, clubs and co-curricular programs and events, counseling, and wellness support programs.



Number of Pages

106 p.

Available for download on Wednesday, December 06, 2023