College vs. High School

Legal requirements for disability services and accommodations vary widely between the high school and college levels. The chart below will help you understand some of the differences between high school and college services for students with disabilities.

Differences between high school and college disability services

High schools are required to:

  • Identify students with disabilities
  • Provide assessments of learning disabilities
  • Classify disabilities according to specified diagnostic categories
  • Involve parents or guardians in placement decisions
  • Provide certain non-academic services
  • Place students in programs where they can benefit (in any way) by placement committee with parent participation and approval
  • Structure a large part of the student's weekly schedule
  • Modify educational programs
  • Prepare Individualized Educational Plans (IEP's)
  • Provide a free and appropriate education
  • Provide appropriate services by school nurse or health service

Colleges are required to:

  • Protect a student’s right to privacy and confidentiality
  • Provide access to programs and services
  • Inform students of office location and procedures for requesting accommodations
  • Accept and evaluate verifying documentation
  • Determine (via documentation) that an impairment causes a substantial limitation on a major life activity
  • Determine for students who are otherwise qualified for participation in the program or service whether a reasonable accommodation is possible
  • Make reasonable accommodations for students who meet above criteria
  • Provide reasonable access to program and service choices equal to those available to the public
  • Suggest reasonable adjustments
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