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Transition Handbook

High School versus Postsecondary

Differences between High School and Post-Secondary
High School: Post-Secondary:
Services provided under IDEA or Section 504 Services provided under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • School district responsible for identifying, evaluating, and planning educational interventions.
  • Involve parents or guardians.
  • Provide non-academic services.
  • Modify educational programs or requirements.
  • Prepare IEPs, 504 Plans.
  • Students are responsible for self-identification, providing documentation, and obtaining disability services.
  • Deal directly with student (18+ yrs.old); protect student’s right to privacy (FERPA).
  • Provide access to any service, program, or activity sponsored by the institution.
  • Provide accommodations in order to meet established standards/requirements.
  • Provide reasonable accommodations based on documentation upon student request.

Legal mandate

Foster success

IDEA is to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment to eligible students with disabilities, including special education and related services. 504/ADA are to ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability is denied access to, benefits of, or is subjected to discrimination in any program or activity provided by any public institution or entity.

All infants, children and youth requiring special education services until age 21 or graduation from high school are covered. A list of disabilities is provided in IDEA, and includes specific learning disabilities.

Civil rights, non-discrimination

Equal access

504/ADA ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability will be denied access to, the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by any program or activity provided by any public institution or entity.

All qualified persons with disabilities who meet the entry criteria, or particular program criteria of the college and who can document the existence of a disability as defined by the ADA, are covered. Disability is defined as "Any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; having a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having an impairment."


Adapted from various sources.

Important Note

Students must be "otherwise qualified". Someone is considered to be "otherwise qualified" if, with or without reasonable accommodation, they meet the same standards -- academic, professional, technical, and behavioral standards -- as do others. It means meeting established criteria (e.g. admissions, course expectations, graduation, code of conduct).

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