Changes in Services from High School to University
In High School: Students' rights are covered under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). School districts bear the responsibility for identifying students with disabilities. In College: Student's rights are covered under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Universities, however, are not required to identify students with disabilities. They are not required to pay for or offer assessments.
In High School: School districts are required to adhere to specific timelines for identifying and providing services to students with disabilities. In College: Students are expected to request accommodations within a reasonable timeframe (i.e., not the day before an exam).
In High School: School districts are responsible for providing evaluations. In College: Students are responsible for obtaining and providing current, detailed evaluations and documentation. A university reserves the right to defer accommodations until appropriate documentation is submitted.
In High School: The school district staff is responsible for communicating with teachers and staff about the needs for students with disabilities. In College: Students are responsible for notifying the Coordinator of Disability Services (CDS) of their needs for accommodations. Telling professors, admissions or other campus staff is not enough to secure proper accommodations. The student also bears the sole responsibility for notifying professors and other staff of accommodation needs; even if Letters of Accommodation are issued by the CDS.
In High School: The school district is responsible for the implementation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) by using a team approach. In College: There are no IEPs. The educational accommodations are created by the student and the CDS. Also, students may not qualify for the same accommodations they had in high school.
In High School: The school must prove that the educational plan is appropriate and curriculum may be fundamentally altered. In College: Students must monitor their own education and self-advocate with their professors and CDS. University curriculum is not required to be fundamentally altered and professors are not obligated to change their instructional practices, such as, adding visual aids to accommodate the needs of a student with a learning disability.
In High School: Parents are usually actively involved and have access to information only with the student's permission. In College: Instructors expect to communicate with the student. The laws pertaining to confidentiality change in college, therefore, instructors and the CDS may not be able to disclose information, such as, grades and other items to parents without notification and approval of the student.