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High School Accommodations vs. Higher Ed Accommodations

While there are many similarities regarding accommodations in high school and college, there are also a number of differences. The following information may assist in preparing for the transition from high school to college for students who require reasonable accommodations due to a disability.

Student Responsibilities: While in high school, it is a school’s responsibility to ensure a student with a disability has an established plan for accommodations arranged, often called and IEP or a 504 Plan. In college, having some accommodations arranged is the student’s choice and responsibility. The student must request accommodations each semester.

The Role of Parents: In high school, parents are typically invited for multiple meetings per year regarding their child’s accommodations. In college, parents are certainly welcome to join in on the initial intake meeting upon the student’s request, but after this initial registration period, it is the expectation that the student will participate independently with Accessibility Services.

Laws: Students should be aware of the differences in laws that provide them with eligibility for accommodations, or academic adjustments. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that protects children in schools, mandating the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education. Once a student enters in college, IDEA and guaranteed special education are no longer relevant to their rights to accommodations. The Americans with Disabilities Act and Amendments Act (ADAAA), in addition to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are the relevant laws to college students with disabilities. These are civil rights laws which prevent discrimination on the basis of disability. The differences in these laws compared to IDEA shape the differences in services and supports available to college students.

Fundamental alteration: While in high school, an Individualized Education Plan may alter graduation requirements, or course requirements for a given student. In college, however, any such fundamental alteration made for an individual on the basis of disability or otherwise is prohibited.

For more information on the transition of high school students with disabilities to post-secondary institutions, please click here to view an informative resource by the United States Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights.

For more information

Phone and Email Address
Elizabeth Atkinson Elizabeth Atkinson
Director of Accessibility Services
208 Peabody Hall
Husson University
1 College Circle
Bangor, Maine 04401