Accommodations: Understanding the Difference Between High School and College
Welcome to UWA
The University of West Alabama welcomes you to the UWA Tiger Family. If you are preparing to send your first child off to college or if this is just your most recent university attendee, the question remains the same…Am I ready for this? Absolutely you are and we are here to assist you along the way!
As part of the UWA family, your student will have the resources necessary for success in and out of the classroom. Your student’s path to success is aided by your support as they embark on their journey toward growth and independence. In addition to your encouragement, it is our goal to help provide opportunities for success as they grow in their confidence and ability to self-advocate. There will likely be challenges along the way and instinct will tell you to intervene, but we ask that you to allow your student to succeed and fail on their own as this will help create a more resilient, resourceful, and confident student that will make us all proud.
Differences Between K-12 and University Accommodations
Many of our students are accustomed to K-12 accommodations that are based on an IEP. The accommodations that we are able to offer at the university level can be very different from the ones they are used to because colleges and universities are not governed by the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Colleges and universities operate under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and all applicable sections under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
The other major fundamental difference is that in K-12 the school district attempts to identify students who many need extra assistance to succeed, whereas at the college level, students are expected to self-identify and be their own advocates so they can acquire the skills needed to propagate their own success. The university’s role becomes one of a partner that assists the student rather than a leader making decisions for them.
What This Means For You and Your Student
The Office of Retention and Student Advocacy here at UWA is committed to creating as level a playing field as possible without creating fundamental alterations to the coursework required to graduate once a student self-identifies and contacts our office for assistance. It is crucial to their success as a student that they initiate the conversation with our office as early as possible, as once they have entered into the interactive process, we can begin determining the best strategies and accommodations to help them succeed while enrolled at the University of West Alabama.
At a Glance
|Federal Laws||Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)||Section 504 (particularly subpart E) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)|
|Purpose of Legislation||To ensure that all eligible students with disabilities have available a free appropriate public education (FAPE), including special education and related services (IDEA). To ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by any program or activity provided by any public institution or entity (504/ADA)||To ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination by any program or activity provided by any public institution or entity (504/ADA)|
|Eligibility for Services||All infants, children, and youth (0 through 21 years) with disabilities (as defined by the state Administrative Rules for Special Education, and/or the ADA)||Anyone who meets the entry level-age criteria of the college and who can document the existence of a disability as defined by Section 504 and ADA|
|Necessary Documentation||School districts are responsible for providing trained personnel to assess eligibility and plan educational services||Students are responsible for obtaining disability documentation from a professional who is qualified to assess their particular disability|
|Receiving Services||School districts are responsible for identifying students with disabilities, designing special instruction, and/or providing accommodations||Students are responsible for telling Disability Services staff that they have a disability, and for requesting accommodations for each class. Accommodations (not special education) are provided so students with disabilities can access the educational programs or courses used by other students|
|Self-Advocacy||Students with disabilities theoretically learn about their disability, the importance of self-advocacy, the accommodations they need, and how to be a competent self-advocate||Students must be able to describe their disability, identify strengths and weaknesses, and identify any accommodations needed and how to be a competent self-advocate|