Finance the unpredictable as predictable

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Finance the Unpredictable, as Predictable Accommodations are a variable expense; the total amount an institution must spend changes in relation with the type and frequency of accommodations. It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict how many disabled students will enroll and what accommodations those students will need. Thus, disability leaders build budgets without knowing total expenditures of their office. The challenge for disability leaders is to convey to upper level administration fiscal stewardship, while simultaneously making the case for additional unexpected funding. That is, disability leaders are tasked with convincing upper level administration to finance the unpredictable, as predictable. To mitigate unpredictability, the Assistant Director at University B uses data to forecast trends, provides evidence of how DRC resources are spent, and engages in ongoing budgetary discussions to address unexpected, costly accommodations (See Table 4). Constantly Educate Your Audience Communication with strategic decision makers should not be limited to end of year reporting or when requesting additional resources. Rather education and engagement of stakeholders is ongoing. Examples of consistent communication include: (1) inviting administrators to attend DRC sponsored events, (2) with permission, sharing student stories that highlight the way the DRC works to support institutional strategic priorities, (3) tailoring disability educational materials to match the specific campus constituent or group, and (4) sending quarterly updates on legal guidance to the directors of relevant areas. For example, at College A, the Assistant Dean shared the U.S. Department of Justice (2019) Rider University Settlement Agreement on accommodations for food allergies with Campus Dining Services. Conclusion Disability leaders will benefit from employing caseload benchmarks that are more nuanced and used in combination with additional data-driven tools. It may not be feasible or useful to deploy all the data-driven strategies outlined above; rather, disability leaders can select the tools that best fit their resources and institutional culture. The disability community benefits when we share information and it is our hope that these data-driven tools will assist others as they engage in strategic budgetary conversations and foster socially-just staffing practices. Persuasive Metrics: Caseload Benchmarking and Data-Driven Tools for Budgetary Advocacy References 321
Brown, K. (2017). Accommodations and support services for students with autism spectrum disorder: A national survey of disability resource providers. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 30(2), 141-156. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. (2011). Carnegie classifications data file.

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