College Disability Services: 504 & SPecial Education
7 Things to Know About College Disability Services
1. Colleges don’t have the same legal obligations as high schools.
Colleges don’t have to provide the same level of support and services you might have gotten in high school. They don’t have to provide specialized instruction or tutoring.
They do have to follow federal civil rights laws which include Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Their purpose is to ensure equal access for people with disabilities and to protect them against discrimination.
Colleges provide accommodations to students who are eligible under ADA. They don’t typically provide 504 plans the same way high schools do, though.
Colleges also don’t have to give you the same types of academic support you had in high school. If students can provide evidence that they need a specific accommodation, they may be eligible to get it in college.
2. You must register as a student with disabilities to get accommodations.
You apply for accommodations separately from the college application process - It usually begins after you've been accepted and enrolled in the college.
In order to get accommodations in college, you need to register as a student with disabilities through the disability services office
Providing a copy of an IEP or evaluation during the application process does not guarantee accommodations.
Colleges usually have instructions for how to register for disability services on their website. Look for the instructions on the page for the school’s disability services office.
3. The requirements for documentation in college are changing.
You must provide evidence of a disability to get accommodations. Colleges have typically required the most recent high school evaluation report.
Many colleges also have a requirement for how recent the evidence must be. Often, the requirement is three years or less.
4. There are no “case managers” in college.
You may have a dedicated contact person at the disability services office but this person doesn’t function in the same way as a high school case manager.
5. Different schools offer different levels of support.
All colleges that get federal funds must ensure equal access to students with disabilities. That means they have to provide reasonable accommodations.
Accommodations aren’t the same as modifications. A student wouldn’t be allowed to bring a list of formulas into a statistics test, for instance. That would be a modification. Giving extra time for the test is an example of an accommodation.
Here are some other typical accommodations in college:
Having a note-taker for class lectures
Making audio recordings of lectures
Using a laptop computer in the classroom
Taking exams in a distraction-reduced room
It’s a good idea to visit the disability services office or the person who coordinates services at the colleges you're interested in attending. You can ask questions about potential supports and services.
6. Parents are no longer automatically in the loop.
When you're in high school, your parents are legally entitled to be part of the process. That’s not true when you're a student in college. The law protects your privacy. If your parents want to talk to the disability services officer or anyone else involved in your accommodations, they'll need permission from you and the school.
7. Colleges don’t provide evaluations for learning and thinking differences.
After high school, you have to go for a private evaluation if you want updated test results, or if you suspect undiagnosed learning or thinking differently.
Adapted from SOURCE
Students With Disability Resource Examples (click a logo for details):