UI receives grant to increase accessibility for disabled college students - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI receives grant to increase accessibility for disabled college students

by Seth Bohnker

Iowa City (KWWL)- The University of Iowa will use a recent grant to design technological adaptations so more students with disabilities can readily access Web sites, digital text and other tools in pursuit of a college education.

The UI College of Education's Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research received a one-year, $117,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop technology that will make higher education more accessible for people with a variety of disabilities.

Dennis Maki, director of ICATER and grant principal investigator, said that one in 11 college students in the United States has a disability, The adapted technologies will help those students succeed in college, and open doors to many more.

Maki is working closely with ICATER coordinator James R. Stachowiak to ensure the success of the grant. Stachowiak said ICATER is the only program of its kind in a college of education within the Big Ten.

An estimated 705 students with disabilities are attending the UI in 2008, according to Mike Venzon with the UI Student Disability Services office. This includes students with sensory, mobility, health, psychological and learning disabilities.

Research has shown that students with disabilities are less likely to pursue post secondary education, and those that do are less likely to complete a degree program."This means there's a significant portion of our population that isn't getting the same college experience and opportunities that everyone else is getting. It's simply not available to them," Stachowiak said. "And there's some simple things that this grant will enable us to do to help open those doors to students with disabilities and make a profound difference in their lives."

Online Producer: Seth Bohnker

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