Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

The Effects of College Savings on Postsecondary School Enrollment Rates of Students With Disabilities

This is the first study to examine whether parents’ college savings is positively associated with special education students’ enrollment in postsecondary school. In addition to examining postsecondary school enrollment among students with disabilities, we also examine whether students’ and parents’ college expectations act as a mediator between parents’ college savings and postsecondary school enrollment. We find that while not all types of college savings are associated with postsecondary enrollment, college bonds are a consistent and strong statistically significant predictor of postsecondary enrollment for students with disabilities. Further, we find evidence students’ and parents’ college expectations act as a partial mediator between college bonds and enrollment in postsecondary school. an implication of this study is that programs that encourage some types of asset accumulation are likely to improve postsecondary school attendance rates among students with disabilities by providing them with money to pay for college and by making postsecondary school appear within reach.

This paper was presented during the Assets and Education Symposium, a March 2012 conference cosponsored by the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare and CSD. The symposium was convened to explore the role of savings and asset holding in post-secondary educational achievement. Many of the original conference papers are accessible in the center’s online collection and were subsequently developed for publication in Assets and Educational Attainment: Theory and Evidence, a special issue of Economics of Education Review.

Subsequent publication: Cheatham, G. A., & Elliott, W., III. (2012). The effects of family college savings on postsecondary school enrollment rates of students with disabilities. Economics of Education Review, 33, 95-111. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.09.011

Project: College Success


Cheatham, G. A., & Elliott, W., III. (2012). The effects of college savings on postsecondary school enrollment rates of students with disabilities (CSD Working Paper 12-13). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.