Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 1159-1167

Postsecondary Pathways and Persistence for STEM Versus Non-STEM Majors: Among College Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Xin WeiAffiliated withCenter for Education and Human Services, SRI International Email author 
  • , Elizabeth R. A. ChristianoAffiliated withCenter for Education and Human Services, SRI International
  • , Jennifer W. YuAffiliated withCenter for Education and Human Services, SRI International
  • , Jose BlackorbyAffiliated withCenter for Education and Human Services, SRI International
  • , Paul ShattuckAffiliated withA. J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University
  • , Lynn A. NewmanAffiliated withCenter for Education and Human Services, SRI International

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Abstract

Little is known about postsecondary pathways and persistence among college students with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, 2001–2009, a nationally representative sample of students in special education with an ASD who progressed from high school to postsecondary education. Findings suggest that most college students with an ASD enrolled in a 2-year community college at some point in the postsecondary careers (81 %). Those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields were more likely to persist in a 2-year community college and were twice as likely to transfer from a 2-year community college to a 4-year university than their peers in the non-STEM fields. College persistence rates varied by gender, race, parent education level, and college pathway and major. Educational policy implications are discussed.

Keywords

Autism 2-Year community colleges 4-Year universities College pathway College persistence Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)