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How Section 504 Applies to Post-Secondary Schools

  • Section 504 does not require colleges and universities to create an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) as in public schools (K - 12); and therefore, protection under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not extend to post-secondary schools.
  • A student with a disability who is attending a post-secondary school is protected under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.
  • In the public schools (K - 12), the school system is obligated to identify students with a disability. This is not the case with post-secondary schools. It is the student's responsibility to disclose the disability and request specific accommodations.
  • Students should review this informative pamphlet provided by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U. S. Department of Education. It explains the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools and to assist with transitioning.

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Obtaining Accessibility Services: Differences Between High School and College

The following section highlights some of the differences students will experience in college as compared to high school:

High School vs College/University
The Accommodations Process: High School and College Differences
High School College/University
Structured Unstructured
School/parents direct disability needs Student directs disability needs
School obliged to meet most needs Reasonable accommodations provided
IEP outlines accommodations Documentation outlines accommodations
High parental involvement Limited parental involvement
Frequent school-to-parent communication Limited/no school-to-parent communication
High teacher involvement/responsibility High student involvement/responsibility
May provide personal attendants and tutors Not required to provide personal attendants and tutors -
unless provided for all students