IEP in College

For students, especially those with special needs, college is an exciting and challenging new chapter in their lives. However, a physical or mental impairment need not prevent you from excelling academically at a four-year university. 

The truth is the IEP is a tremendous instrument that can help you realize your most significant potential. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a formal document that details the particular modifications and assistance services a student with a disability requires to participate in and complete higher education. Keep reading this post about IEP in college.

This blog post will explain the Individualized Education Program (IEP), how it operates, and how to apply for one so that you can succeed in higher education. Follow along to learn more about the IEP and how it can help you succeed in college if you are a student with a disability who wants to further your education or if you are a parent or teacher who wants to understand better how to support students with disabilities in higher education.

Does IEP Matter in College?

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are a must in the United States for kids who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A team of educators creates IEPs, and other specialists (IDEA) create the IEPs.

In college, the IDEA does not apply. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act still require most schools and universities to provide accommodations and support to students with disabilities. While the law may not require IEP, it might still help document a student’s condition and past adjustments. It can also assist the college or university comprehend the student’s needs and develop an appropriate support plan.

It is crucial to highlight that the process for acquiring accommodations and support in college differs from that of elementary and secondary school. The student must self-disclose their impairment and request accommodations instead of being identified and provided services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, a college or university can use the IEP as a reference to understand the student’s needs better.

Regarding the accommodations and support they provide for students with disabilities, not all colleges and universities are created equal. Students need to investigate the resources and services offered at potential schools and universities and to have a clear grasp of their requirements and the adjustments they will need to succeed.

In conclusion, an IEP is not legally necessary in college, but it can help give documentation of a student’s condition and past accommodations. It can also assist the college or university comprehend the student’s needs and develop an appropriate support plan. However, the student must self-disclose their handicap and request college-level adjustments.

How To Get an IEP in College

The procedure for acquiring an IEP in higher education differs from that of elementary and secondary schools. Students in grades K 12 determined to benefit from special education services have their individual needs assessed, and an individualized education program (IEP) is created. In higher education, the onus is on the student to begin the procedure.

This is how a college student can get an Individualized Education Program (IEP):

  • Self-disclose: As a first step, a student with a disability should inform their school that they have a handicap. It means the student is responsible for disclosing their handicap to the educational institution.
  • Provide documentation: The student is responsible for providing the institution or university with paperwork detailing the nature of their handicap. A diagnostic report or medical records are two examples of such documentation. The student should also include details regarding how the student’s impairment prevents them from participating in college activities in the record.
  • Meet with Disability Services: Following disclosure and the submission of supporting evidence, the student should schedule an appointment with the school’s disability services office. The student will meet with a representative from the disability services office to go over the student’s situation and determine what, if any, adjustments are needed for the student to be successful in college.
  • Develop an Accommodation Plan: After the discussion, the school will establish an individualized support plan for the student. The plan will outline the particular modifications and strategies for delivering them to the learner.
  • Implement and Monitor: The next step is to implement the plan and monitor how well the accommodations work. It is the student’s responsibility to request accommodations, and the disability services office must see that the student’s approved accommodation plan gives to them.

Be aware that the procedure and the special accommodations available may differ from one university to the next. Students should investigate their potential schools’ facilities and support systems and have a firm grasp on their requirements and the accommodations they will need to thrive in higher education. So, now you know the steps of getting an IEP in college.

In conclusion, a student needs to self-disclose their condition to the college or university, submit proof of the disability, visit the disability services office, design an accommodation plan, execute and monitor the accommodations, and get an IEP.

Defend Your Student’s Rights

Renee has represented clients in matters with Special Education and Teacher license issues, including State Complaints and Due Process Hearing regarding IEPs, Office of Civil Rights Complaints regarding 504 Plans, Special Education, and Disciplinary Issues with School Governing Boards.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Common Accommodations in College for Students With IEP

The following are examples of standard adjustments for college students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs):

  • Extended time for tests and assignments: This accommodation provides students with IEPs additional time to finish examinations and works to level the playing field with their non-disabled classmates.
  • Use of a computer or assistive technology for writing and testing: This accommodation permits students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to use voice recognition software, text-to-speech software, and other tools to aid them in writing and taking tests.
  • Note-taking assistance or a note-taker: This accommodation gives students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) a note-taker to help them record relevant information during lectures and class discussions.
  • Preferential seating: This accommodation permits children with IEPs to sit in a place suited to their educational requirements.
  • Reduced course load: This accommodation allows students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to take fewer courses per semester or at a slower pace to meet their particular learning requirements.
  • Specialized tutoring: This accommodation provides students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) with customized tutoring services, such as one-on-one or small group instruction, to assist them in succeeding in their curriculum.

These are some frequent accommodations. However, capacities differ based on the student’s specific needs and can be adapted to each student. So, those are some of the college IEP accommodations. 

In addition, it is essential to emphasize that the student’s IEP team, comprised of the student, parents, teachers, and other experts, is responsible for identifying the student’s necessary accommodations. Still, you might be wondering how to get accommodations in college.

Best Colleges for IEP Students

Many post-secondary institutions offer specialized services and programs for students enrolled in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). 

Colleges that may be ideal for students with IEPs include:

  • Landmark College: Landmark College is a school in Vermont that caters to students with special educational needs and offers individualized education programs (IEPs) to those who qualify. Extended time on exams and assignments, note-taking assistance, and individualized tutoring are just some of the support services and accommodations available at this university.
  • The College of Saint Rose: The Center for Achievement and Wellness at New York’s College of Saint Rose provides academic accommodations, counseling, and other support services for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
  • George Mason University: The Office of Disability Services at George Mason University in Virginia offers a variety of accommodations and support services to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), such as extra time on examinations and assignments, note-taking assistance, and specialized tutoring.
  • The University of Arizona: The University of Arizona’s Disability Resource Center offers numerous academic support services to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), such as extra time on tests and assignments, note-taking assistance, and specialized tutoring.
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington: To help students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) succeed academically, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington operates a program called the Office of Disability Services.

It is essential to research and compare the different support services and accommodations offered by other colleges, visit the campus, and talk to current students and staff to get a sense of the culture and community. Still, these are some examples of colleges with a reputation for having a sound support system for IEP students. 

Also, students with IEPs should collaborate closely with their IEP team to ensure that the college they enroll in will be able to accommodate the student’s unique requirements.

What Laws Mandate That Colleges Must Comply With IEPs?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal statute that forbids discrimination based on disability in federally funded programs and activities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires colleges and universities to provide reasonable accommodations to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). 

Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to academic or other programs necessary to ensure that students with IEPs have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the college’s programs and services.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 bans discrimination based on disability in any activity or program that receives federal financial assistance. You should know the college disability accommodations. It applies to all colleges and universities that receive federal funds and assures students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) have the same opportunity to participate in and benefit from college programs and services as their non-disabled classmates.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal statute that ensures students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) get a “Free Appropriate Public Education” (FAPE). FAPE refers to special education and related services that suit the student’s particular needs and are provided at no cost to the family. It applies to all states and assures students with Individualized Education Programs have the same educational opportunities as their non-disabled peers.

In summary, the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and IDEA require colleges and universities to provide students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) with reasonable accommodations, a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), and a law-compliant environment. 

The federal agencies responsible for enforcing compliance with these laws in colleges and universities are the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS). A student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) who believes their rights have been violated can file a complaint with the OCR or OSERS.

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