Disability Services


Information for Parents

Differences between High School and BW

FAPE Requirements

High School:  Section 504 requires a school district to provide a free and public education (FAPE) to each child with a disability within the district's jurisdiction.  The school is required by law to identify the individual's educational needs and to provide related aids and services to meet those needs.

University:  Is not required to provide FAPE.  We are required to provide the appropriate academic adjustments to ensure equal access to education.

Success vs. Access

High School:  Applicable law is Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) which is about about student success. 

University: Applicable law is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which is about providing equal access.

Required Documentation

High School: Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan is used to determine academic accommodations for students.  The school provides the evaluation at no cost to the student or their family.  The documentation focuses on determining whether or not a student is eligible for services based on specific categories in IDEA.

University: The IEP and 504 plan are typically not sufficient forms of documentation.  Documentation guidelines are different and specify information needed for specific disability categories.  Students get an evaluation at their own expense.  Documentation must provide DSS with information on the functional limitations and demonstrate the need for the accommodation(s) requested.

Parental Role

High School: Parents have access to student records, can email the teachers for progress or grades, can advocate for the student and participate in the accommodation process.

University: The parent does not have access to student records without the student's written consent per the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA.  The student becomes a self-advocate and participates in the accommodations process.  In addition, parents are no longer able to contact faculty and request information about the student's progress in the course or grades. 

Plan vs. Accommodation

High School: Plan is formulated for the student and teachers receive a copy so they have a thorough understanding of the disability.  A yearly meeting is required of teachers and typically an auxiliary service person to discuss progress and set goals. 

University: Instructors receive an emailed Letter of Accommodation (LOA) which outlines academic modifications the student needs to have equal access.  Faculty are not provided access to specific diagnostic data unless provided by the student.  The student is responsible for meeting with Disability Services and instructors to discuss any areas of concern.   

Grading and Testing

High School: IEP or 504 plan may include modifications to test format, unlimited test time and grading.  Testing in high school is often frequent, covering small amounts of materials and teachers provide students with reminders of assignment due dates.

University: There is no unlimited time for tests and test format changes are not available.  Accommodations on how tests are given (extended test time and a reduced distraction test environment) are available when supported by the documentation.

Course Instruction

High School: Teachers may make modifications to the curriculum and alter the pace and due dates of assignments.

University: Professors are not required to modify essential academic requirements of programs and instruction that fundamentally alter educational programs or compromise academic standards.  Students are assigned substantial amounts of work that may or may not be addressed in the course.  Students are responsible for reviewing class notes, texts, materials and submitting assignments on the due dates listed on their course syllabi.

Tutoring and Academic Support Services

High School: Tutoring and academic support may be a services included in the IEP or 504 plan.  There is typically someone who assists the student with self-management of tasks, assignments and priorities.

University: Tutoring and academic support services are not academic accommodations provided to students.  It is the student's responsibility to make appointments and utilize available academic support services.  BW has tutoring available for most subjects but not all.  Students are responsible for their self-management, though Academic Coaching is available as a resource to help with prioritizing and time management.


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