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Support Our Students with Disabilities

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Students with disabilities should consider the services that postsecondary schools offer prior to selecting a college or university. Public elementary and secondary schools must comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires them to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education to students with disabilities. Postsecondary institutions, however, can offer a spectrum of services to students with disabilities and remain in compliance with Federal laws. The spectrum of services is broken into three tiers as follows:

  • Tier I / Basic / Minimal. This level of services complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws. Students at these schools are expected to self-advocate. Types of accommodations that students might receive at these schools include extended time and text-to-speech software. The ADA requires schools to protect students with disabilities from discrimination, but it does not spell out in detail how schools are to do that. At a minimally compliant school, a Dean who does not specialize in providing services for students with disabilities might approve accommodations for students. Here is a link to a U.S. Department of Education website that presents information regarding compliance with laws that protect students with disabilities at the postsecondary level:

  • Tier II / Coordinated Services / Moderate. Schools at this level would exceed the minimal standard in the laws designed to protect students with disabilities. These schools might provide special tutoring at no cost, special skills classes, and remedial classes. Schools at this level would typically have at least one person certified to provide services to students with learning disabilities.

  • Tier III / Structured Programs / Proactive Programs / Fee-based. This is generally the highest level of support provided. This level provides comprehensive services to students with learning disabilities or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In addition to services at the Tier II level, services here would include diagnostic services and special counseling. These schools often charge an administrative fee. These programs would generally be ideal for students who relied heavily on accommodations in high school and are unlikely to perform well in college without extensive support. Advocacy is one of the services that students might receive early in their college life when receiving services at this level. Ideally these services are slowly removed as the student progresses through college and learns how to self-advocate.

Social support. Social support services can be added to any of the levels above. Some students have challenges communicating with others because of the nature of their disability, such as autism. Since social skills can be important in college and in employment, and to an extent inside the classroom, these services can be beneficial to certain students with disabilities.

You will find resources to assist students with disabilities at For additional information about finding schools that are the right fit for all types of students, contact Educ8Fit Consulting at: or

(703) 850-9319. In addition, you can contact us for a free initial consultation at: College Admission Counseling | Educ8fit Consulting | United States, contact.

Contact me, follow me on LinkedIn, and like me on Facebook!

Phone: (703) 850-9319

Personal LinkedIn: Jim Houser | LinkedIn

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