High School vs. College

A Comparison of Service and Accommodations

High School College
 Under IDEA, children with disabilities are absolutely entitled to a “Free and Appropriate Public Education.”  Equal access to education is how it works – no one is entitled to anything. Students have civil rights and they must advocate for themselves.
Section 504 in the public schools includes “Free and Appropriate Public Education” language, and accommodations may include a shortening of assignments, or the use of notes on tests, when other students cannot use them. Section 504 is the first civil rights legislation that applied to colleges. It upholds the institution’s right to maintain the academic standards, and accommodations must not reduce that standard for any student. Shortening of assignments and using notes, when other students do not have these provisions, are not considered “reasonable accommodations.”
Either the IEP or a 504 Plan, drive all services and accommodations, and involve the teachers, counselors, and absolutely required a parent’s signature. There is no plan, and instructors are not normally contacted/notified by ODS, but by the student. Parents may not receive even a student’s grades without the student giving written permission to the appropriate office on campus.
“Placement” is determined by the child’s “team,” and outlined in the plan, and must, by law, be in the least restrictive environment. Placement in classes is based on testing or standardized test scores. There are no special classes or sections of classes for students with disabilities.
Students were qualified for public education simply by being of the appropriate age and because they had a disability. “Otherwise qualified” means that the student must meet all entrance and academic requirements for the college or university, either with or without accommodations.
Each teacher knows about a student even before he or she enters the classroom, and has a good idea what the student's will need. Professors are not contacted about specific disability information without express permission from the student. The student must initiate all actions regarding accommodations for each course, every semester. Students have the right to refuse or not use accommodations.
Public schools, for the most part, are responsible for appropriate assessment of a student’s disability. Higher education institutions do not have to assess or evaluate the student for a disability, but do expect that the student will provide “proof” of their disability within the institution’s established documentation guidelines.
Some subjects may have been waived for a student before graduation if they were specifically related to the student’s disability. Substitutions for specific graduation requirements may be requested, but “waivers” for requirements are never granted. Substitutions for courses may be granted after the student has both provided adequate verification to Disability Services of their disability and detail of unsuccessful attempts of the courses in question. The request for consideration of course substitution has to be approved by the student’s college.
Labels are a way to categorize people. Student has a right to decide when to disclose a disability and to whom.
Student has a right to decide when to disclose a disability and to whom. Student is responsible for personal services -- personal care, medical and related requirements, tutoring, transportation.
Students often receive “un-timed tests” if they have a disability. “Un-timed tests” are not reasonable, but time extensions for testing, typically time-and-a-half, may be reasonable. The time extension on the testing time may be increased depending on the impact of the specific disability. Time extensions do not usually apply to out of class assignments, like papers and other homework
“Un-timed tests” are not reasonable, but time extensions for testing, typically time-and-a-half, may be reasonable. The time extension on the testing time may be increased depending on the impact of the specific disability. Time extensions do not usually apply to out of class assignments, like papers and other homework Professors may know only that information about the disability which applies to the accommodations the student requests.