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Transitioning to College Accommodations

Legal Differences

High School College
Services are provided under IDEA or Section 504, Subpart D. Services are provided under ADA and Section 504, Subpart E.
The IEP is mandated and followed. The high school IEP ends, and there is no IEP at the college level.
The student has the right to an education, paid for by the state. Therefore special programs are created to meet the student’s needs. A college education is a privilege instead of a right, and special programs are not required.
Parents are actively involved in planning and decisions. Students are considered adults and must advocate for themselves. Parent involvement should cease.
Accommodations are provided to ensure the success of the student. Accommodations are provided to ensure equal access, and success is the responsibility of the student.
School districts are responsible for identifying and evaluating disability at no cost to the student or family. The student must self-identify and provide appropriate and current documentation based on the College’s requirements. The College is not responsible for the payment of evaluations.
Parents sign documents for students. Students sign all documents.
High school personnel talk freely with parents. The Buckley Amendment requires that the student give written permission to personnel to talk to parents.

Academic Differences

High School College
High school personnel have the responsibility to try to modify inappropriate behavior caused by the disability into appropriate behavior. Students are responsible for their own behavior, and inappropriate behavior is not tolerated.
Tests are often modified or shortened, or questions are modified. Students are expected to take the same tests as all students.
Shortened or modified assignments as well as extra time to complete assignments are often given. Students are expected to do the same work in the same time frame as all students.
Teachers are asked to adapt their teaching mode to the student. Faculty has academic freedom in delivery, course content, requirements, and method of evaluation.
Accommodations are given for all subjects and do not have to be supported by diagnostic evaluation. Accommodations are given only in the area of disability and must be supported by documentation.
Students are scheduled to see resource personnel on a regular basis or can go to the resource room on a drop-in basis. Students must initiate requests for services. Students may submit documentation and provide accommodations at any point during the semester, but any grades already in place or tests taken BEFORE accommodations were granted will not be changed or repeated with accommodations. Not all accommodations can be immediately implemented, and no grades given during the implementation period will be changed.
Students’ study is directed by special education teachers. Students must have skills to organize, plans, and study independently.
Special educators inform instructors about a student’s accommodation needs. Students talk to their teachers about accommodation needs.

Other Differences

High School College
Transportation is provided. Transportation and mobility on campus are the responsibility of the student.
Often paraprofessionals are provided if a student needs personal care or behavioral management assistance. The college is not responsible for providing personal care or behavioral management assistance.
Adaptive technology is minimally used. Students are expected to use available adaptive technology.
Few students are exposed to textbooks on tape because special educators clarify reading selections. Students use textbooks in a variety of formats, including digital.

504 Plan Information

In High School, a student often has a “504 plan” that suffices for services. Most of the time, the high school does NOT test the student who falls under 504, but offers “modifications” to help the student succeed. The special education student, in contrast, MUST be regularly tested and/or reevaluated in order to remain in the special education program. The problem of adequate and comprehensive documentation comes into play when the “504” student goes to college. In most cases, the screening instruments often used for developing a “504” plan are insufficient as documentation for college accommodations. The student goes from an environment that is structured to “ensure student success” to one that is designed to “allow equal access.” The success of the student is up to the student in the college setting. The college must ensure access, NOT success.

Access & Accommodation Office
Genesee Community College
One College Road, Room C219
Batavia, New York 14020
585.343.0055 x6351
585.345.6806 (fax)