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RISE Act to Ease College Transition for Students with Disabilities

Author: United States Senator Orrin Hatch : Contact:

Published: 2017-06-09

Synopsis and Key Points:

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 Digest

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."


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:

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