How Postsecondary Education Improves Adult Outcomes for Supplemental Security Income Children with Severe Hearing Impairments

Robert Weathers
Gerard Walter
Sara Schley
John Hennessey
Jeffrey Hemmeter
Richard V. Burkhauser, Cornell University

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This is a case study of SSI children who apply for postsecondary education at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) within the Rochester Institute of Technology. We estimate the likelihood that an SSI child will graduate from NTID relative to other hearing impaired NTID applicants and estimate the influence of graduation from NTID on participation in the SSI adult program and later success in the labor market. To do so we create a unique longitudinal administrative records data set (n=5,638) based on administrative records from NTID linked to Social Security Administration (SSA) microdata. We find that SSI children who graduate from NTID spend less time on the SSI adult program and have higher earnings than those who do not graduate. However, we also find that SSI children who apply to NTID have a greater risk of not graduating than their fellow deaf students who did not participate in the SSI program as children. Our findings suggest that greater effort may be necessary to prepare SSI children for postsecondary education and that the currently SSA-funded youth transition demonstration projects are necessary to explore how such efforts can improve adult outcomes for SSI children with disabilities.