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Colorado Department of Higher Education releases report to improve outcomes for students with disabilities

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DENVER – June 27, 2023: An advisory committee wants Colorado to be a model for serving students with disabilities in higher education. Improving Higher Education for Students with a Disability (House Bill 22-1255) created an advisory committee tasked with providing recommendations to state colleges, universities and the general assembly. The 15-member committee composed of experts in disability services in higher education and related agencies was appointed by Executive Director, Dr. Angie Paccione.

Co-chair Ida Dilwood, Director of Disability Services and University Test Center at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs said, “The committee and disability services advocates are excited about advancing the conversation to enhance the resources and support provided to students with disabilities. The recommendations are not solely contingent upon current disability resource systems within institutions of higher education in Colorado. It will require systemic work that includes state legislation, program policy and integrated systemic procedures to be effective.”

The committee provided 17 recommendations in the report organized around: institutional equity and collaboration; accessibility and universal design for learning; and student engagement and success. Recommendations include providing and establishing a statewide higher education teaching and learning resource center designed to provide professional learning opportunities that provide specific training for college faculty, staff, and administrators to effectively support the educational needs of students with disabilities inside and outside the classroom.
The advisory committee along with the Colorado Department of Higher Education has delivered these recommendations to Colorado’s colleges and universities. Per statute, the committee will release a second report in June 2024. The second report will provide additional recommendations and expand upon recommendations made in the first report.
About HB22-1255
The bill requires CDHE to collect data on students with disabilities from Colorado’s institutions of higher education with a report due to the general assembly in January 2024. The data includes the number of students with a disability, as well as the number of students who receive accommodations due to their disability, as well as retention and credential completion outcomes. The data is directed to be disaggregated by race, ethnicity, first-generation status and other demographics. The intent is that the data will present a clearer picture of outcomes for students with disabilities and areas for improvement. No other state in the U.S. is known to be collecting statewide data on students with disabilities.
About the Colorado Department of Higher Education
Working with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, we support students, advocate and develop policies to maximize higher education opportunities for all. The Department believes every Coloradan should have an education beyond high school to pursue their dreams and improve our communities. Read the strategic plan, Building Skills in an Evolving Economy.