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Differences Between High School & College For Students with Disabilities

K – 12

(Federal Law – IDEA)

Higher Education

(Federal Law – ADAAA)

Education is a RIGHT and must be provided in an appropriate environment to ALL individuals.Education is NOT A RIGHT. Students must meet certain admissions criteria defined under ADAAA as “otherwise qualified.”
School district is responsible to identify a student’s disability.Students must self-identify, then contact or be referred to the NECC Learning Accommodations Center to receive accommodations.
School district provides free testing and evaluation.Student must provide documentation and pay for evaluation, if there is no current documentation.
School district develops Individualized Education Plans, (IEP) to define educational services.Student must identify needs and request services.
IEP Team determines services and school district must ensure that services are provided under IEP. All teachers are contacted by Special Ed. Staff.Student collaborates with the Learning Accommodation Center to create a faculty accommodation letter each semester. This letter is delivered by the student to faculty and informs the faculty about approved accommodations. Student self-advocates to initiate accommodations with support when requested.
Modifications to curriculum and assignments may be required by the IEP.Instructors are not required to modify or fundamentally alter the requirements of a course or program.
Modifications to test format may be provided (i.e., multiple choice vs. essay).Changes to test format are rare and need to be supported by disability documentation.
Personal services for medical or physical disability are provided, when required.Personal services are not required to be provided (i.e., personal care attendants, specialized tutoring).
Bottom Line: High Schools Provide a high level of support and take responsibility in IEP/504 plan.Bottom Line: Colleges provide a different level of support, and it is the student’s responsibility to ask for help and advocate for themselves.