Publication Date



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.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building


Subsequent publication: Friedline, T., Elliott, W., III, & Chowa, G. (2013). Testing an asset-building approach for young people: Early access to savings predicts later savings. Economics of Education Review, 33, 31–51. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.10.004

Original Citation

Elliott, W., III, & Cheatham, G. (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.


Assets and Education Symposium, college savings, college enrollment, disability, special education