Key Differences for High School and College for Students with Disabilities

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Written by: Jenna Green

Applicable Laws


  • In High Shcool, the following laws apply:
    • Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (IDEIA) 
    • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    • IDEIA is about Success in school



  • In College, the following laws apply:
    • A.D.A ( Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II)
    • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 & ADA are about Access to facilities, programs & services)

Required Documentation
  • In High School, the following documentation is required:
    • Individual Education Program (IEP), 504 Plan, and Summary of Performance (SOP)
    • School provides evaluation at no cost
    • Documentation focuses on determining if student is eligible for services under one or more disability categories in IDIEA
  • In College, the following documentation is required:
    • High School IEP and 504 Plans generally are not sufficient. Documentation guidelines specify information needed for documentation
    • Students must get evaluation often at their own expense
    • Documentation must provide information on specific functional limitations an demonstrate the need for specific services or accommodations.
  • In High School,
    • School staff identify the student as having a disability
    • School staff have responsibility for arranging accommodations
    • Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance and might have a disability
  • In College,
    • Student must self-identify to Disability Support Services staff, Learning Assistance Program (LAP) staff, or ADA/504 coordinator.
    • Student has responsibility for self-advocacy and arranging accommodations
    • Professors can be open and helpful, but most expect students to initiate contact at the start of the semester.
Parental Role
  • In High School,
    • Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation process
    • Parent advocates
  • In College,
    • Parent does not have access to student records and can not represent the student without student's written consent 
    • Students advocate for themselves


Categories: College Advice, Laws You Should Know

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