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Transitioning from High School to College

The process for accessing services in college is different from what students with disabilities experienced in high school, primarily because the federal law that protects their rights has changed. Students may or may not be aware of this change.

Advisors and faculty members may be told by a student that they received certain services in high school expecting those same services. Therefore, a general understanding of the differences is important.

A disconnect appears between the assessment information high schools provide and what colleges require.

IDEA vs. ADA/504
IDEA (K-12)

  • Requires K-12 schools to seek out students with disabilities and provide whatever help they need to be successful
  • Students are tested at no charge
  • If a disability is suspected, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed and support as dictated by the IEP
  • If special education services are not needed, a 504 Plan is developed

ADA/504 (post secondary institutions)

  • Civil rights legislation designed to provide equal access to programs
  • Modification or adjustment
  • Student must support request with appropriate documentation - rationale for reasonable accommodations
  • Documentation must provide adequate information on fundamental impact so effective accommodations can be identified