Cleveland State University

Disability Services

Differences Between High School and College

This table highlights the differences between the high school and college setting for students with disabilities. Students should be made aware of these differences in order to come into college understanding what to expect of their new environment as well as what the university expects of them.

K-12 College
Goal is success oriented Goal is access oriented—equal access to programs and services
IDEA is main legal focus, with some application of Sec. 504 of the Rehab Act Sec. 504 of the Rehab Act and ADA are the main legal focus
Plan is called an IEP and is very formalized No specific formula for the plans; may be very informal
School systems have designated special education personnel Designated person to contact may be specialist or may wear many hats at the college or university
School systems are required to identify students with disabilities and provide appropriate education Colleges are not required to identify students with disabilities—obligation is to provide services to students who self-identify
Mandated re-evaluations Re-evaluations not mandated
Supplementary services are included, including tutoring, personal care attendants, and personal aids and devices No personal or supplementary services are required
Teachers and school systems carry primary responsibility for plan Student is responsible for identifying to appropriate personnel, providing documentation, and following up with necessary staff
Student is included but does not hold primary responsibility Team effort between student and disability services
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