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What rights do college students with disabilities have?

If the student had an IEP (Individualized Education Program) in high school, will it follow them to college?

College students with a disability have certain rights as they continue with their education after high school. However, your IEP does not go with you to college. Generally, colleges do not provide special education.  Instead of providing special education to students with disabilities, colleges must make sure that students with disabilities are treated fairly including receiving accommodations.

What protects students with disabilities from being discriminated against?

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.

What must the college provide?

Once a student with a disability starts college, these schools must provide academic accommodations and supports 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.

How does the student request these services?

The steps depend 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:

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