Transition from High School to College

Differences Between High School and College for Students with Disabilities

Legal Differences
High School

  1.  Services are provided under IDEA or Section 504, Subpart D.
  2.  The IEP is mandated and followed.
  3. The student has a right to an education paid for by the state. Therefore, special programs are created to meet students’ needs.
  4. Parents are actively involved in planning and decisions.
  5. Accommodations are provided to ensure the success of the student.
  6. School districts are responsible for identifying and evaluating disability at no cost to the student or family.
  7. Parents sign documents for students.
  8. High school personnel talk freely with parents.


  1. Services are provided under ADA and Section 504, Subpart E.
  2. The high school IEP ends; there is no IEP at the college level.
  3. A college education is a privilege rather than a right, and special programs are not required.
  4. Students are considered adults and must advocate for themselves.
  5. Accommodations are provided to ensure equal access, and success is the responsibility of the student.
  6. The student must self-identify and provide appropriate and current documentation based on the college’s requirements. The college is not responsible for the payment of evaluations/documentation.
  7. Students sign all documents (if age 18 or over).
  8. The Buckley Amendment requires that the student give written permission to college personnel to talk to parents.