Legal Rights and Responsibilities

This is a chart which explains the differences in the law from secondary to post-secondary education. It is vital that students understand that the onus of responsibility for advocating for their legal rights shifts to them at the university level.

Secondary vs. Postsecondary Education.  Whose responsibility is it?

ISSUE SECONDARY SECTION 504/IDEA POSTSECONDARY SECTION 504/ADA
School Student
School Student
School/Parent Student/College
School/Parent Student
Placement Team Student
Placement Team Student

Source: Brinckerhoff, L.B., Shaw, S.F., & McGuire, J.M.

What are the differences between secondary and postsecondary disability laws?

QUESTION SECONDARY POSTSECONDARY
IDEA: To provide a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to students with disabilities. 504: 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. To ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability will be denied access to, or benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by 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. All qualified individuals with disabilities who meet the entry age level criteria of the college and who can document the existence of a disability as defined by the ADA.
School districts are responsible for identifying, evaluation, and planning educational services at no expense to the parent or individual. Students are responsible for self-identification and for obtaining disability documentation from a professional who is qualified to assess their particular disability. The student, not the institution, assumes the cost of the evaluation.
School districts are responsible for identifying students with disabilities and providing special instruction, individualized education plans, and/or accommodations. Students are responsible for notifying the Disability Support Services staff of their disability and of their need for accommodations. Accommodations (not special education) are provided on a semester by semester basis in order for students with disabilities to have equal access to the institution’s programs, services, and activities.
IDEA is basically a funding statute, enforced by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services in the U.S. Department of Education. ADA/504 are civil rights statutes, enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Justice, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Section 504 (Subpart E) is a civil rights statute enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Justice, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Source: Kay McVey, Faculty Development Specialist PROJECT CONNECT, Henderson State University