Deaf Education:

Costs and Student Characteristics at Federally Assisted Schools

HRD-86-64BR: Published: Feb 14, 1986. Publicly Released: Feb 21, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO analyzed data from Gallaudet College, the National Institute for the Deaf (NTID), and four centers participating in the regional postsecondary education program for the deaf on: (1) student characteristics; (2) student costs; (3) student academic achievement and subsequent employment; and (4) the schools' abilities to serve more students. The four centers were: Calfornia State University, Northridge; Seattle Community College; St. Paul Technical Vocational Institute; and the University of Tennessee Postsecondary Education Consortium.

GAO found that students in all of the schools were similar with regard to the severity and age of onset of hearing loss, although Northridge and the Tennessee Consortium had a larger proportion of students who lost their hearing after age 3. Fifty-seven percent of incoming students at Northridge and 64 percent of incoming students at NTID came from mainstream school environments; however, 60 percent of incoming students at Gallaudet and 68 percent of incoming students at St. Paul came from deaf-only residential programs. GAO found that the average annual cost per student varied from $7,666 at the Tennessee Consortium schools to $25,282 at Gallaudet. GAO found that the schools offered a wide range of academic subjects, from vocational courses to liberal arts and graduate studies. Consequently, these schools grant various combinations of certificates, diplomas, and associate, graduate, and bachelor's degrees. Not all schools kept records on their graduates' postgraduate work experience. All schools reported operating at or near their student capacity at current funding levels, Gallaudet officials said that they could accommodate 100 more students without an increase in federal costs. The regional schools estimated that their facilities could collectively serve up to 340 more students at a cost of $1.5 million for more staff and better equipment.

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