Differences in the Law Between High School and College

  • The process of deciding who is eligible to receive accommodations and what those accommodations may be differs substantially as students move from high school to college. In high school, the school rather than the student or the student's family are often involved in identifying and diagnosing students with disabilities/impairments and often initiate the whole process for the student. In college, the student must self-identify themselves to SAA and formally request accommodations and services. The student must take responsibility for initiating this process.
  • Furthermore, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governs the circumstances under which universities provide accommodations to students with disabilities/impairments.
  • Neither Section 504 nor the ADA requires a college or university to alter a fundamental requirement of its academic program for a student with a disability/impairment.
  • In contrast to the IDEA, whose goal is to ensure student success, the goal of Section 504 and the ADA, as they apply to college students, is to ensure that students with disabilities/impairments have access to the programs and activities that the college offers and that those students are not discriminated against on the basis of their disability/impairment.
High SchoolCollege
Free and appropriate education guaranteed by lawThe law does not guarantee admission to a college or university
School is obligated to seek out and identify students with disabilitiesThe student is responsible for locating the SSA office and inquiring how they can receive services
Obligation to evaluate students with disabilitiesNo obligation to evaluate students with disabilities/impairments
Must alter course content if necessaryNo obligation to alter content of courses or evaluation system
Student's progress is monitored by school staffStudent's progress is his/her responsibility
School will seek out students to provide accommodationsStudent must self-identify and self-advocate for accommodations

SAA Contact Information

Student Accessibility and Accommodations (SAA)
Email: accommodations [at] emmanuel.edu (accommodations[at]emmanuel[dot]edu)
Fax: 617-975-9322
Noelle Deady, Associate Director
gallin [at] emmanuel.edu (gallin[at]emmanuel[dot]edu)
Phone: 617-732-1681
Caroline Talton, Accommodations Coordinator
taltonc [at] emmanuel.edu (taltonc[at]emmanuel[dot]edu)
Phone: 617-735-9923
Student Accessibility and Accommodations (located within the Academic Resource Center)
Cardinal Cushing Library, G06 (Ground Level), 400 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115