Secondary vs. Post-Secondary Rights and Responsibilities

The Office of Disability Services coordinates accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Its main purpose is to provide reasonable academic accommodations and to assure access to programs and activities that promote a supportive learning environment while enabling students to achieve their educational objectives. Students and parents should be aware of how these services may vary from their high school experiences. The following chart identifies the primary differences in student rights and responsibilities between secondary and post-secondary education.

Students' rights covered under IDEA Students' rights covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
District responsible for providing evaluation Student responsible for submitting documentation
Evaluation - children scale (i.e., WISC) Evaluation - adult scale (i.e., WAIS-III)
District responsible for implementation of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Student responsible to self-disclose disability and request accommodations
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) created by team approach No individual plan. Educational plan created by student and Disability Services staff
District must prove plan is appropriate Student responsible to notify the Office of Disability Services if there are problems
Curriculum can be fundamentally altered Curriculum content cannot be altered
Parents actively involved Parents have access to some information only with student's consent


Adapted, with permission, from:
Pennsylvania College of Technology.  Handbook for parents of students with disabilities; Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities from U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, May 2004; Toto, I Have A Feeling We’re Not In High School Any More by Dan Burke from The University of Montana-Missoula Disability Services for Students, 2003