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College Planning for
Students with
Disability Legislation
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, Subpart E:
Requires that an institution which receives any federal financial
assistance be prepared to make appropriate academic
adjustments and reasonable modifications to policies and
practices in order to allow the full participation of students with
disabilities in the same programs and activities available to
non-disabled students.
What is Section 504?
Civil rights, anti-discrimination statue
Ensures that people with disabilities are not denied
equal access or benefits from any federally funded
program or activity
Disability: physical or mental impairment which
substantially limits major life activity (e.g. education)
Student must be “otherwise qualified” (meet usual
academic requirements for admission or participation
in program)
How Does 504 Protect You?
 No
admissions quotas
 No disclosure requirements
 “Reasonable accommodations” in
program, instruction, and testing
Differences Between High School and College
Less time in class, less access to teachers
More time spent studying
Larger class sizes (will vary depending on colleges)
Mostly long-term assignments (not daily homework)
Not as much teacher feedback
More objective grading – not based on effort or improvement
Teaching style more likely to be straight lecture
Hard to balance social life and academics
Admissions Tests
 With
proper documentation, students with
disabilities may take standardized college
admissions tests, such as the PSAT, SAT,
and ACT with individually determined
 Obtain an SSD form
VESID – is the office of Vocational and Educational Services for
Individuals with Disabilities. VESID counselors can help:
Plan for your career
Obtain job coaching
Get training to achieve your work goals
Find a job that matches your abilities, interests, and needs
Work with your employer or college to make sure you receive
reasonable accommodations when you need them.
11th grade students are invited to a group presentation with a VESID
counselor in February
12th grade students meet individually with a VESID counselor in
December or January
Making the Match:
Does the college match
your needs?
Degree and Vocational
Programs and Internships
Support Services
Diagnostic Testing
Special Advising
Information you should know about
 Your
type of disability and how it affects
your learning
 Activities you are good at and/or like doing
 The support services and
accommodations you used in H.S.
 The support services and
accommodations you plan to use in
Questions to Ask When
Researching Colleges
 What
types of academic accommodations
and assistive technology are available?
 How do I acquire support services?
Tutors, alternative testing, note takers, etc.
 Is a reduced course load possible if
needed? Are there placement tests?
 Is there a cost associated with any support
Application Process
Students with disabilities may consider the
option of disclosing their disability during the
application process
This allows the student the opportunity to
provide the admissions committee with
additional insights.
The College Admissions Process
 The
student should apply through the
Undergraduate Admissions Office
 Some schools ask if you have a disability
on the application but it cannot be a
mandatory question.
 Meet with the disabilities coordinator to
discuss accommodations
 Provide appropriate and current
Required Documentation
A copy of your psycho-educational testing must
be handed in to the college
must be comprehensive and current – less than three
years old – and must include diagnosis
Minimum testing: IQ test (WAIS-III) and achievement
test (WIAT-II)
IEP’s, triennial reports and 504 plans are not
considered appropriate documentation in college
 This is because college presents different
demands than in high school and the nature of
the disability may change.
Documenting your Disability
Must be prepared by an appropriate
professional: medical doctor, psychologist, or
other qualified diagnostician
 The college will not pay for the updating of
required documents
Types of support services
 Each
college determines the types of
disability support services that will be
 It
Typical accommodations include tutoring,
note taking, alternative testing
accommodations, computer access, and other
assistive technology
is important to meet with the coordinator
for services as early as possible if you are
anticipating using accommodations.
High School Vs. College
◊ The
student must meet the college’s
admissions standards
◊ Student is responsible for seeking and
using accommodations
◊ Student is responsible for obtaining
evaluation and developing their plan
◊ College communicates with student: not
◊ Students must be their own advocates
Advocate for yourself
Once the student has been admitted to a
college, it is the student’s responsibility to selfidentify and provide documentation of the
 No one holds your hand in college or makes
decisions for you. It is up to you to take charge
now. You must:
Identify your needs
Document your needs
Request accommodations to meet your needs
Utilize the accommodations appropriately
Be Proactive
Introduce yourself to each of your professors in
the beginning of each semester to discuss how
you will use your accommodations in each class
Comprehensive Services Vs.
 Support
Services are the resources
available at no cost for students with
disabilities. They include core
accommodations, such as extended
testing time. Accommodations are
required by law. Other examples include
sign language interpreters, course
materials in accessible forms, accessible
parking and classrooms.
Comprehensive Programs Vs.
Programs are specifically designed for students
with disabilities and provide more in-depth
services and accommodations. The most
common type are programs for students with
learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD. These
programs usually have costs in addition to
tuition. They often provide one-one-one tutoring
and advisement with a learning disability
 Not all colleges have programs.
Basic Program: “Reasonable
Basic testing and program accommodations
 Learning or writing centers available to all students
 Disclose disability upon admission
 Disability contact person wears many hats and may
have no specialized training
Almost every college offers at least these services
Moderate Program
Learning Centers specifically for students with disabilities
 Mix of peer and professional tutors
 Support with writing or study skills
 Testing and program accommodations
 May be a fee
Nassau, SUNY Albany, American U., Fairfield U., Drexel
U., NYU, Syracuse U., U. of Wisconsin, U. of Hartford,
Marist College
Comprehensive Program
Coordinator has expertise in LD and ADD
Wide range of tutorial supports
Structured and individualized approach
Advisement and early registration
Frequent monitoring of student progress
Limited “slots” – special application, apply early
May be a substantial fee
May have summer transition program for freshmen
Adelphi U., CW Post, Hofstra, Northeastern U., U. of Arizona, Curry
College, Lynn University, Boston University, U. of New England
Students Must Know Themselves:
Understand and be able to describe their
strengths and weaknesses
Understand their disabilities and the
accommodations they need
Develop academic and career goals
Develop and use effective strategies for
studying, test preparation, and time
Develop and contain a file of current school
records and disability documentation information
Key Factors to Student Success
Level of Interest
Self-Advocacy Skills
Knowledge about Self
Academic Abilities
Acquiring Information about College Programs and
Utilizing Appropriate Resources for Support
Any Questions?