College Disability Services

What should I know about college disability services?

Offices of disability services provide students with disability accommodations and services so they are able to access class curriculum. All colleges and universities receiving federal funding have to provide disability services in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Here are some examples of potential services and accommodations provided:

  • Access to readers and scribes
  • Access to note takers and class notes
  • Exam accommodations
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Priority scheduling
  • Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)
  • Various assistive technology and software

Common Terms/Acronyms

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): prohibits discrimination on the basis of employment, state and local government, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications.

Section 504: Prohibits postsecondary institutions receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against students with disabilities.

Summary of Performance (SOP): Academic and functional skills summary students get prior to exiting high school. The SOP can be shared with postsecondary education institutions.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The form required to get financial aid from postsecondary education institutions.


What should students know about college disability services?

  • Colleges provide accommodations to students with disabilities
  • These accommodations are usually coordinated through a disability services office
  • Students need to register with the disability services office to get accommodations
  • Colleges aren’t required to provide the same level of services and supports students might have gotten during high school
  • Students will be required to provide evidence of disability to get accommodations
  • Not all colleges will provide the same levels of supports
  • There are no IEPs in college
  • Potential services and accommodations provided (listed above)

How do I contact college disability services?

Each college will have their own disability office. If you can’t find information online, reach out to the admissions office or main phone line for the college.


How can I partner with college disability services for Pre-ETS?

If students need accommodations in postsecondary education, they need to disclose their disability to the disability services office. Partnering with college disability services during Pre-ETS will help students learn what they need to know about supports and accommodations provided. Sometimes this process can be tedious and the process can be different for each college or university. Students and families may not know what documents they need to provide, or how soon they should set up an appointment with the office. Involving college disability services earlier can help make the transition to college smoother.

Where can I find more information about college disability services?