High School/College Policy and Procedure Differences
1. What is the primary difference between high school and college regarding disability procedures?
From a disabilities perspective, the K-12 public school system operates under the laws of IDEA and Section 504, Subpart D of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The IEP process or the 504 Plan process are rooted in these laws. Generally speaking, the goal of the accommodation process in high school is to support the student in being SUCCESSFUL. High school staff takes an active role in helping the student be as successful as possible by regularly monitoring academic progress, arranging additional services as necessary, and keeping people actively involved in the academic progress of the student. In many cases, the high school takes an active lead in accommodation arrangements for the student with the student possibly noticing that the accommodations "just fall into place."
Higher education operates under the laws of the Rehabilitation Act, Section 504, Subpart E and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). IEP or 504 documentation that is created in high school is a helpful secondary piece of documentation, but it is not enough information to provide continuing accommodation services at the higher education level. An IEP or 504 Plan should be viewed as a contract between the student and the high school. It carries little weight beyond the high school because the higher education institution is operating under a different set of guidelines from the high school.
Students are responsible for keeping their own documentation up-to-date and for providing the documentation that the individual college seeks. Colleges do not have a standardized documentation and accommodation process, as each college is allowed to develop its own process for disabilities services. At Saint Louis University, the type of documentation required can be found elsewhere within the Disability Services web site.
Colleges do not have to identify students with disabilities. The responsibility for initiating and arranging all services, including disability services and accommodations, in college falls on the shoulders of the student. Acting on this responsibility is one of the biggest adjustments that students make when coming to college.
The goal of the accommodations process in higher education is to provide the student with EQUAL ACCESS to academic and university opportunity by preventing discrimination based on disability. Accommodations are not provided to guarantee success. The degree of classroom modifications made in the high school environment will often not happen at the same level in college. Students are expected to meet the standards of each course with reasonable accommodations. More detailed information on this issue can be found within the "General Accommodations Overview" section.