Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS)

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Differences Between High School and College

Legal Responsibilities

High School:
High Schools are governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
College:
Colleges are governed by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act but not governed by IDEA.

High School:
Parents are notified and required by law to give permission for any decisions regarding their sons or daughters.
College:
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) mandates that the College cannot release any information concerning any student regardless of age.  This is the case for dual enrolled students as well.

Differences in Responsibility

High School:
The school is responsible for the right to education for all children.
College:
The student is responsible to choose whether or not to attend College, to demonstrate qualifications for College attendance, and to compete with other students for classroom seats.

High School:
The school is responsible for a free disability evaluation and documentation.
College:
The student is responsible for providing current documentation of disability to the college.

High School:
The school is responsible for an Individual Educational Program (IEP) that determines placement and appropriate support services.
College:
The student is responsible for planning his/her own education, identifying resources, and requesting reasonable accommodations.

High School:
The school is responsible for implementing the IEP, making services available and including them in the schedule.
College:
The student is responsible for implementing his/her own academic plan and requesting services each time they are needed.

High School:
The school is responsible for fundamental curriculum alterations to allow individualized goals and objectives.
College:
The student is responsible for meeting the unaltered fundamental College academic standards, standard course objectives, code of conduct, and program requirements.

High School:
The school is responsible to provide personal services such as transportation, mobility between classes, or personal attendants.
College:
The student is responsible to provide his/her own personal services to assure independence and safety.

High School:
The school administrators, teachers and parents advocate for students.
College:
The student is responsible to advocate for him/herself.

Academic Differences

High School:
The school establishes a class schedule that fills most of the time during the school day.
College:
The student is responsible to plan how to use free time between College classes.

High School:
High school teachers provide a lot of assistance with reading and studying.
College:
The student is responsible for reading text-books, memorizing information, applying concepts, studying, thinking critically, and writing on his/her own.

High School:
High school teachers provide regular homework.
College:
The student is responsible for independent learning such as reviewing notes, or studying outside sources in the library or online. College professors may require only one or two out-of-class assignments per semester.

High School:
The school expects students to spend about 2 or 3 hours a day on homework.
College:
The student is responsible for studying an additional 3 hours for every hour in a College class. This may mean 6 or more hours of studying per day.

High School:
High school teachers give tests on a regular basis.
College:
The student is responsible to prepare for fewer opportunities to pass tests. College professors may only give mid-terms and final tests.

Resources and Links

Students with disabilities preparing for post-secondary education:  know your rights and responsibilities.

U.S. Department of Education
www.ed.gov/ocr/transition.html

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