Things to Remember

The Transition
From High School To College
(Different Laws Apply)

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are very
different, leading to miscommunication between college and high school staff who have studied only the
statues applying to their institution.  For example, in high school, a student classified as learning disabled
in a specific area (i.e., reading comprehension), may also receive special services in another area (i.e., 
math).  In college, a student is only eligible to receive accommodations that are directly associated with 
the specific identified disability.  In other words, accommodations listed in individual education plans (IEPs)
developed at a high school are not binding on a college or university.

Differences Between High School and College

High School


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973Americans with Disabilities Act
Americans with Disabilities ActCivil Rights Restoration Act
Civil Rights Restoration Act  

 Responsibilities of High Schools

Responsibilities of Colleges

Identify students with disabilitiesProtect a student's right to privacy and 
Provide assessment of learning disabilities confidentiality
Classify disabilities according to specified Provide access to programs and services
 diagnostic categoriesInform student of office location and procedures
Involve parents or guardians in placement for requesting accommodations
 decisionsAccept and evaluate verifying documentation
Provide certain nonacademic servicesDetermine (via documentation) that an 
Place students in programs where they can impairment causes a substantial limitation on 
 benefit (in any way) by placement committee a major life activity
 with parent participation and approvalDetermine for students who are otherwise
Structure a large part of the student's weekly qualified for participation in the program or 
 schedule service whether a reasonable accommodation
Modify educational programs is possible
Prepare Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs)Make reasonable accommodations for students
Provide a free and appropriate education who meet the above criteria
Provide appropriate services by school nurse orProvide reasonable access to program and
 health service service choices equal to those available to
 general public
Suggest reasonable adjustments in teaching
 methods that do not alter the essential content
 of a course or program
Assure that off-campus and contracted program
 facilities also comply with Section 504
 (Subpart E) and ADA
Inform students of their rights and 
Colleges are not required to:
Reduce or waive any of the essential requirements of a course or program
Conduct testing and assessment of learning, psychological, or medical disabilities
Provide personal attendants
Provide personal or private tutors (but tutoring services normally available to persons without disabilities
 must be accessible to persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified for those services)
Prepare "Individual Education Plans" (IEPs)

Page Updated:  06-05-2002

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