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Neoliberal methods of disqualification: a critical examination of disability-related education funding in Canada

Shanouda, F. & Spagnuolo, N. (2021). Neoliberal methods of disqualification: a critical examination of disability-related education funding in Canada. Journal of Education Policy, 36(4), pp. 530-556. doi: 10.1080/02680939.2020.1712741


Funding for post-secondary students with disabilities in Canada is an under-studied yet pressing policy issue that affects up to 15% of students currently enrolled in post-secondary institutions across the country reflecting, at the same time, trends in educational accommodations occurring on a global scale. This article presents new data and combines these findings with a qualitative policy review to expose how funding levels in Canada have remained static over a 20-year period as a result of changes to key funding programs. We show how access to these insufficient funding programs is based on application processes that are shaped by the careful management of knowledge and information, underpinned by a desire to keep spending low. We then analyze the implications of these funding practices for disabled students and situate their effects within the neoliberal cultural project that eschews transparency while increasing individualization and self-responsibilization – encouraging disabled students to embody market rationalities as a way of maintaining their presence in academia.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Education Policy on 20/01/20, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Funding, disability, neoliberalism, transparency, Bursary for Students with Disabilities (BSWD), Canada
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1001 Canada (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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