Requesting Accommodations in Post-Secondary Education

The following information is part of the college readiness workbook. You can download this and other parts of this workbook for your personal use. Each document is fillable.

When a student with disabilities transitions from high school to a post-secondary educational program, their educational rights change.  High schools are required to help students be successful in their education, whereas post-secondary programs are required to ensure access to the materials through reasonable accommodations.  An Individualized Education Program (IEP) ends when a student leaves secondary education. The protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are ongoing throughout the lifespan.

In postsecondary education, it is the responsibility of the student to disclose their need for accommodations to the campus disability office.  While disclosure is not mandatory, a student must disclose their disability-related needs to qualify for accommodations.

How to Request Accommodations from a Post-Secondary Program

  1. Begin by locating the campus disability services office on the school website. Type “disability” into the search bar.  Often, the first result will be the office that provides accommodation for students with disabilities. 
    Name of Office:                                                                Phone:       
  2. Call the office to make an appointment and request any forms you can complete beforehand and how to obtain them (e.g. by mail, or downloading from the school website).  Make your appointment before the start of classes.  It may take 6-8 weeks to process your request, so start early to have accommodations in place by the time you need them.  Note that some accommodations, such as Braille or interpreter services, may take more time than others to arrange.
    Appointment Date:                                             Time:                           Contact:                        
  3. Documentation submitted to the college should provide clear evidence of need and demonstrate a history of use of the accommodations requested.  If providing a psycho-educational evaluation as documentation, most campus disability offices require a dated evaluation within the last three years.  While a high school IEP or 504 plan does not “transfer” to the postsecondary program, the disability office may use them as guidance in determining appropriate accommodations.

    Collect and check the documentation of what you need:
    • Most recent Individualized Education Program (IEP)
    • Most recent 504 plan, Accommodations Plan, or Service Plan
    • Most recent educational evaluations
    • Diagnosis and/or treatment plan
    • Doctor’s notes, including suggested accommodations
    • Make copies of the completed request forms for your home file
    • Other    

      Remember to check the school website for any disability-specific or need-specific documentation requirements.  For example, a student may be required to provide the results of a hearing assessment with expected progression or stability of the hearing loss, when requesting accommodations for a hearing disability.
  4. Meet with the disability office staff to request and discuss accommodations.  Complete the How to Decide on a Post-Secondary Program worksheet to help you prepare for this meeting, including organizing your questions and concerns. 

    Write down any additional questions to help you remember during the meeting.
  5. When you receive written notice of the decision regarding your eligibility for accommodations and the list of approved accommodations, make enough copies to share with your instructors and keep a copy with you in class, in the event of a substitute instructor.  Put the original in your home file for safekeeping.
  6. If accommodations become ineffective or you are not receiving approved accommodations, contact the disability services office immediately for assistance.

All accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis.  If your request for accommodations is denied, contact the disability services office to determine the process for appeal and equitable resolution.

How to Request Disability Supports in College
The 411 on Disability Disclosure

Disclaimer: All content is for informational purposes only. The information on this page is not a substitute for legal advice. When it comes to the law and policy matter, please consult an attorney or advocate on your child’s behalf.