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Your Student's Experience in College vs. High School

Students may find that the accommodations that they receive from CMU are not the same as the accommodations that they have received in the past. The reason for this is that the laws that provide accommodations in secondary institutions are different than those that apply to post-secondary institutions.

At the secondary level, the goal of accommodations is to provide access and success. However, at the post-secondary level, the goal of accommodations is to provide access in order to grant equal opportunity.  

In order to receive accommodations, students must submit the appropriate disability documentation, including a history of the disability, to the Student Disability Services office.

Provision of ADAAA mandated accommodations

High School


High schools are required to identify students with disabilities.

Students are required to self-identify and provide documentation of disability.

IEP is developed by a team of professionals, and classes are arranged for the student.Students are responsible for developing their own academic goals, as well as self-advocacy.  The IEP is a K-12 document only.
Student accommodations are determined on a yearly basis.Students must request accommodations.
Parental involvement is mandatory.Parental involvement is limited as students are recognized as adults.
Students attend classes 5 days/week, 6 hours/day.Students spend 12-16 hours per week in class.
Public school district is responsible for costs for provision of public education and accommodationsStudents are responsible for paying university tuition and personal accommodation needs.
Teachers may provide one-to-one feedback on daily classroom performance.Professors expect students to meet syllabus requirements and are available for meetings with students during office hours.
Parents and teachers may closely monitor students' study habits.Students are responsible for developing study habits that lead to their own success. 


U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (2011). Students with disabilities preparing for postsecondary education: Know your rights and responsibilities. Washington, D.C.; U.S. Department of Education.