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What rights do college students with disabilities have?

College students with a disability have certain rights as they continue with their education after high school. It is important to know that if you had an IEP (Individualized Education Program) in high school, your IEP does not go with you to college. Instead of providing special education to students with disabilities, colleges must make sure that students with disabilities are treated fairly.

Colleges cannot discriminate against students with disabilities. There are federal and state laws that stop schools from doing this. These laws protect students with disabilities from being denied admission to a school because of a disability or being discriminated against by the school they attend.

Once a student with a disability starts college, these schools must provide academic accommodations and support based on the student’s needs. Some examples of this help may include books on tape, note takers, readers, extra time for tests, or special computer tools. However, these schools do not have to provide students with personal equipment such as wheelchairs.

The steps a student must take to get these services depends on the school. First, a student must tell the school about the disability if requesting services. Contact the school’s office for students with disabilities, or ask an adviser where to start.

Students who experience discrimination because of a disability should contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The phone number in Ohio is 216-522-4970. Complaints can also be filled out online at:

This article was written by Katie Feldman and appeared in The Alert: Volume 32, Issue 1. Click here to read a full PDF of this issue!

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