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Risk and Stigma: Students’ Perceptions and Disclosure of ‘Disability’ in Higher Education.

Eccles, S., Heaslip, V., Hutchings, M. and Hunt, C., 2018. Risk and Stigma: Students’ Perceptions and Disclosure of ‘Disability’ in Higher Education. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 20 (4), 191-208.

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Perceptions and Disclosure of Disability Revision 1 - June 2018.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


DOI: 10.5456/WPLL.20.4.191


There is a focus on increasing the numbers of students with disabilities to apply to and study in Higher Education (HE). Despite sector-wide criteria regarding what comprises a disability, there are still students who do not disclose a disability at the application stage. This study sought to explore perceptions of students across one UK university regarding their views and experiences of a range of disabilities and reasons why a disability may not be disclosed on application to HE. The findings suggest a lack of understanding regarding what constitutes a disability, and concerns that disclosure will negatively impact upon the application decision and disadvantage the student. This paper highlights the disconnect between the support that universities can provide to students with a disability and the perceptions that some students have about the disadvantages that disclosure can bring. The findings support initiatives at policy and practice level across the sector to recognise and address perceptions and experiences of risk and stigma that applicants may have but at the same time highlight that more needs to be done to reduce the anxieties and lack of clarity that some students experience.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Higher Education students, disability, disclosure, risk, stigma, Fair Access
Group:University Executive Team
ID Code:31353
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:11 Oct 2018 15:31
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:13


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