How does a student establish college eligibility for disability support services?

As part our College Q & A guide, we decided to ask your questions to the experts. Here are their answers. 

Ed Garcia Assistant Professor/Counselor Austin Community College

At the college level students must self identify. They must contact the appropriate office and self identify. Usually offices that assist student with disabilities will be called “Office for Students with Disabilities,” “Resource Center for Students with Disabilities,” or “Office for Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.” When students self identify and attempt to qualify for services they will need to complete some sort of application process. In addition, make sure you have documentation, documentation, documentation! Make sure you have documentation of your disability.

Deborah Slocum School Counselor College Counseling from a Caring Perspective

A student establishes college eligibility for disability support services by meeting with the professionals in the disabilities office of the given college. A student makes an appointment and brings with him/her the required documentation. Most colleges will make readily available for the student the expected documentation; typically documentation required includes psychological testing, dated within the past 3-5 years including ability and achievement testing. In addition to these batteries, depending on the disability, other documenation may be required. The student may also be asked to bring his/her most recent Individualized Education Plan or 504 Plan but the college is NOT required to provide the same accommodations as provided by the student’s high school. The college may use a recent plan as a guideline but will often evaluate the provided testing themselves and arrive and their own decision as to what accommodations should be provided.

Tam Warner Minton Consultant College Adventures

Colleges require recent testing (check with each college, some are within 3 years, some 5 years) in order to establish accommodations or admittance to a comprehensive support program. Every college is different…some colleges you’ll want to apply to the comprehensive program as soon as you are accepted, others want the applicaton to the program at the same time you submit for admissions. If you are requesting accommodations but not a comprehensive program, send your request after you accept your spot.

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