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RISE Act to Ease College Transition for Students with Disabilities

  • Published: 2017-06-09 : United States Senator Orrin Hatch (hatch.senate.gov).
  • Synopsis: The RISE Act amends the Higher Education Act and addresses several existing issues within the law that serve as unnecessary barriers for students with disabilities and their families

Main Document

Quote: "Hatch's legislation would allow students with disabilities to use certain forms of documentation from K-12 education and other settings to qualify for special education or accommodations in higher education."

On June 6th 2017 Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)--along with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH)--introduced the Respond, Innovate, Support, and Empower Students with Disabilities (RISE) Act, a bipartisan proposal that will help students with disabilities transition to college life.

Hatch's legislation would allow students with disabilities to use certain forms of documentation from K-12 education and other settings to qualify for special education or accommodations in higher education.

"Students with disabilities deserve every opportunity to succeed," Hatch said. "We can lend a helping hand by removing the obstacles that keep these students from realizing their full academic potential. Over the course of my Senate service, I have long sought to champion the rights of those with disabilities. In that spirit, I authored the Americans with Disabilities Act that fundamentally changed the way we treat disability accommodations. The RISE Act upholds this legacy by eliminating barriers for students with disabilities so they can reach their educational goals."

Background:

The RISE Act, which amends the Higher Education Act (HEA), addresses several existing issues within the law that serve as unnecessary barriers for students with disabilities and their families.

Currently, students who have already been diagnosed with a disability in their K-12 years or in other settings must frequently go through new testing to re-qualify for disability services during their post-secondary educations. Instead of forcing these students to expend the time and energy to go through new diagnostic testing, the RISE Act would allow previous documentation to be accepted as proof of a disability in specified cases.

Likewise, the RISE Act would make school policies and data more transparent for students and families so they can make informed decisions on the college that best fits their needs. The bill also provides additional support for technical assistance to colleges and universities to better serve individuals with disabilities.

The RISE Act is endorsed by the following organizations:

  • The National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • AIM Institute for Learning and Research
  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • American Association of State Colleges and Universities
  • American Council on Education
  • Association of American Universities
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Decoding Dyslexia Network
  • Eye to Eye
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
  • National Down Syndrome Congress
  • Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children
  • The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates

Related Information:

  1. The Continuing Need To #RethinkDiscipline - White House Report - Rethink Discipline initiative aims to support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools - The White House
  2. Student Loan Repayment Relief for Borrowers in Canada - As of November 1st 2016, Canadians will not have to repay their Canada Student Loan until they are earning at least $25,000 per year - Employment and Social Development Canada
  3. Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities - U.S. Department of Education - Guidance documents designed to support states, local education agencies, and charter school personnel to understand their responsibilities under IDEA and Section 504 - U.S. Department of Education


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