Transitioning to a college or university with a disability does not have to be difficult. Before you begin the transition, it is best to know the differences between K-12 and Higher Education disability laws.

  IDEA (K-12) ADAAA (University)
Type of Law Education & Entitlement Civil Rights Statute & Eligibility
Coverage Free and Public Education (FAPE) QIWD (Qualified Individual with a Disability)
Identification & Evaluation School district is responsible for
identification; Eligible in 1 of 13 categories
Student must self-identify; Impairment in major life activity
Ensures Success Equal Access
Determining Services Evaluation, remediation, & special accommodations Reasonable accommodations
Personal Devices Provided by school district Student responsibility
Role of Parents Parents must be included in all decisions University staff cannot speak to parents w/o student authorization
Appeals Process Right to due process Institutional grievance procedure/OCR Complaint

PACER Center on Postsecondary Education & Transition & National Center for Learning Disabilities have provided some tips to remember as you and your family are preparing for the transition to college:

  • Start preparing for college in high school
  • Select the right college/university to fit your needs
  • Apply for Financial Aid on October 1
  • Decide if you will be living on or off campus
  • Understand the academic impact of your disability
  • Register with Disability Services
  • Determine what supports are not provided by DRC and how you will fulfill those needs (i.e. medication management, counseling, tutoring, and financials)

Need more tips for being successful in college? Check out: High School vs College for all Students