A Quite Population

Ever been curious about deaf students?

Well in 2000 there were approximately 2.3 million deaf or hard of hearing persons in the United States and 25,000 attending mainstream “hearing” institutions of higher education. They also report about a 75% drop out rate from higher education with only 25% persisting until graduation. I was ultimately; the first time I heard this was shocked. For those of you who know or may not know, both of my parents are deaf – both were born deaf. My mother, who grew up with an entirely hearing family and was the only deaf person in her life, went to college, graduated, and got her masters. She currently (as she has for the past I don’t know how many years) as a schoolteacher for special needs students at the California School for the deaf. My dad on the other hand is from a completely deaf immediate family, tried college, left, and works at FedEx, which he has done for the past 24 years (I’m 23). Research will tell you that this happens. Research will tell you my mom probably experienced a lot of isolation, language barriers, and education discrepancies among her hearing peers – but she fought it, someone helped her, she found a community. Social isolation is the number one reason deaf students report leaving higher education, so when I ask have you ever been curious about deaf students, I also ask, more importantly, how do we in Student Affairs help deaf students graduate?

This has had a huge impact on how I view the world and my research interest, especially in regard to deaf students in higher education and students who have differently abled parents. I have done several papers, presentations, and discussions on deaf students at this point in my graduate school career and have found some disheartening statistics and would love to share articles, videos, and websites (along with my personal story). So this week, since I’ve been on a break and now playing catch up, I am just going to leave you with this video that shows a short snippet of two deaf students in higher education.


In peace, 

Ryan Bye 


P.S. Please share with me!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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