High School vs. College Accommodations | Webster University

High School vs. College Accommodations

Transitioning from High School to College with a Disability

Each year, students with disabilities pursue degrees in higher education. During their high school careers, some students choose to use accommodations that help them reach their educational goals. However, IEPs and 504 plans don’t follow students to college. So, what happens?

Applicable Laws

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990)
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
IDEA is about success. ADA is about access.


Student Responsibilities

HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE -- Webster University, Home Campus
Student is identified by the school and is supported by parents and teachers. Student must self-identify to the Academic ADA Coordinator in the Academic Resource Center. Student must provide documentation.
Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the school. Primary responsibility for arranging accommodations belongs to the student. However, even after accommodations are approved, ARC team members are available to support students and advocate for students' needs in the pursuit of academic success.
Teachers approach students if they believe students need assistance. Professors are usually open and helpful, but students must initiate contact if they need assistance. Students are responsible for communicating often with faculty members about their accommodations and are responsible for their academic success.


Parental Role

Parent has access to student records and can participate in the accommodation process. Parent does not have access to student records without student's written consent.
Parent advocates for the student. Student advocates for self.



Teachers may modify curriculum and/or alter pace of assignments. Professors are not required or expected to modify curriculum design or alter assignment deadlines.
Students are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed, and often retaught, in class. Students are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing, which may not be directly addressed in class.
Students seldom need to read anything more than once, and sometimes listening in class is enough. Students need to review class notes, text, and other materials regularly.


Grades and Tests

IEP or 504 plan may include modifications to test format and/or grading. Grading and test format changes (i.e., multiple choice vs. essay) are generally not available. Accommodations to how tests are given (extended time, test proctors, etc.) are available when supported by documentation.
Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of materials. Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material.
Make-up tests are often available. Make-up tests are seldom an option; if they are, students must request them.
Teachers often take time to remind students of assignments and due dates. Professors expect students to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (course outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected, when it is due, and how students will be graded.


Study Responsibilities

Tutoring and study support may be a service provided as part of an IEP or 504 plan. Tutoring does not fall under disability services. Students with disabilities must seek out tutoring resources, which are available to all students.
Students' time and assignments are structured by others. Students manage their own time and complete assignments independently.
Students may study outside of class as little as 0 to 2 hours a week, which may mostly be last-minute preparation. Students need to study for at least 2 to 3 hours outside of class for each hour in class.