Transition from High School

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IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are very different, leading to miscommunication between college and high school staff and students transitioning between secondary and post-secondary institutions.

High School


  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Subpart D)
  • American with Disabilities Act
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act

High School Responsibilities

University Responsibilities

  • Identify students with disabilities
  • Provide assessment of learning disabilities
  • Classify disabilities according to specified diagnostic categories
  • Involve parents or guardians in placement decisions
  • Provide certain non-academic services
  • Place students in programs where they can benefit (in any way) by placement committee with parent participation and approval
  • Structure a large part of the student’s weekly schedule
  • Modify educational programs
  • Prepare Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s)
  • Provide a free and appropriate education
  • Provide appropriate services by the school nurse or health service
  • Protect a student’s right to privacy and confidentiality
  • Provide access to programs and services, for persons with disabilities.
  • Inform students of office location and procedures for requesting accommodations
  • Accept and evaluate verifying documentation
  • Determine that a mental or physical impairment causes a substantial limitation of a major life activity (see definition of disability) based on student-provided verifying documents
  • Determine for students who are otherwise qualified for participation in the program or service, with or without accommodations, whether a reasonable accommodation is possible
  • Make reasonable accommodations for students who meet the above qualifying criteria
  • Provide reasonable access to program and service choices equal to those available to the general public
  • Suggest reasonable adjustments in teaching methods which do not alter the essential content of a course or program
  • Assure that off-campus and contracted program facilities also comply with Section 504 (Subpart E) and ADA
  • Inform students of their rights and responsibilities


Other differences may exist for housing programs, psychological counseling services and extensive international programs.

Additional information is available at