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Legal Rights

There are two civil rights statutes that protect the rights of students with disabilities in college: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). These laws aim to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and ensure equal access to education.

Students with disabilities transitioning to college are no longer eligible for educational accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, the ADA and Section 504 require colleges to provide accommodations to ensure that students with disabilities continue to have equal access to education. Typically, students request these accommodations through their college’s Office of Disability Services.

Although parents may support their students requesting accommodations, it is the student’s responsibility to self-identify to the Office of Disability Services, request, and even design accommodations. This section will provide a comparison IDEA implementation in high school vs. college, an overview of Section 504, and information to support parents and students as they navigate educational accommodations in college. Here are some frequently asked questions to get you started.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that CIU provides general information, which is not intended to constitute legal advice or substitute for obtaining legal advice from your own counsel. Laws vary by state and are subject to change, and colleges may have different documentation requirements and procedures to request accommodations. If you need answers to specific legal questions, please contact your college’s ODS or seek professional legal assistance.