Differences Between High School and College
for Students with Disabilities

Accessibility Services


Secondary School
Education is a right under IDEA and must be provided in an appropriate environment to all individuals.
School district is responsible to identify a student’s disability.
School district provides free testing, evaluation, and transportation to program.
Transition planning and timelines exist to clarify students’ vision, identify programming choices, and coordinate appropriate coursework options.
School district develop IEP to define educational supports and services under special education.
No IEP/Special Education in college.
Access to general curriculum, necessary modifications, and a variety of appropriate accommodations are available.
Personal services for medical or physical disability are required.
School year is September to June.
Main office exists as the center of activity for school.
Rigid schedule with constant supervision.
Classes meet daily.
Attendance is taken.
Guidance counselors or other staff schedule support services for students.
Someone is available to help plan study time (teachers, SPED, parents).
Classes generally held in one building.
Average class is 35-45 minutes.
Daily contact with teachers and support staff.
School responds to parent concerns; parent permission required (until 18 years).
Student generally live at home.


Higher Education
Education is not a right. Students must meet admission criteria defined under ADA as “otherwise qualified” (Access).
Students must self–identify.
Student must provide current and appropriate documentation as defined by the college; if documentation from high school is not adequate, student pays for additional testing.
Students make all coursework selections.
No IEP/Special Education in college.
Student is responsible to self –identify and self-disclose and must work with their Disability Services office to determine eligibility and appropriate accommodations.

No fundamental alterations to the curriculum are made; academic accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities as defined by ADA.
No personal services are required(No personal care assistance provided).
School year is August- December, January-May.
Students are responsible to know where to locate information, assistance, study support.
Greater flexibility of scheduling.
Classes meet weekly not daily.
Attendance policies are at discretion of instructor.
Students connect with disability services staff to arrange support services (Accessibility Services located in Career Development Office in Hubbard Hall).
Student responsible for setting and following through on all scheduling and study time.
Classes are held at many different sites.
Class times vary from 50 min. – 4 hours.
Classes meet less frequently, impacting access to instructors and assistance.
Student is an adult with all decision making authority; parental contact is not permissible without a signed (FERPA).
Students are responsible for housing, transportation, finances, etc.