Federal Proposal Would Ease Path From Special Ed To College
Lawmakers are looking to make it easier for students with disabilities to transition to college.
Legislation introduced by a bipartisan group of senators late last month would ensure that individuals with disabilities have the information they need to choose the right school and that they don’t have to go through too many extra steps to access supports once they get there.
The bill known as the Respond, Innovate, Succeed and Empower, or RISE, Act, S.1585, spells out that students who already have documentation of a disability can continue to use that same documentation when they enter higher education. If passed, the measure would free individuals who have received special education services from having to undergo additional diagnostic testing, lawmakers said.
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“The RISE Act will help eliminate unnecessary barriers for students with disabilities and ease their transition to higher education,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., the bill’s sponsor. “No student with a documented disability should have to jump through extra hoops or incur extra costs to prove their disability.”
The legislation, which would amend the Higher Education Act, would also increase transparency of school policies and data so that students with disabilities can best identify a college that meets their needs. And, the bill calls for the federal government to provide technical assistance to guide colleges and universities on how to serve those with disabilities.
In addition to Casey, the RISE Act was introduced by Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind., Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.