Differences in accessibility for K-12 school and college/university

Welcome to Accessibility Services! Accessibility services are for students that have a disability as defined by the ADA. As you transition to college, it is important to know and understand the differences between services you may have been provided in high school compared to services that will be provided at the college level. The Accessibility Services Handbook provides a detailed explanation of policies and procedures at Bushnell University. Below is a summary of some of the differences between K-12 and college.


In K-12 education IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act were some of the laws that applied to accommodations and services you may have received. In college the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA Amendment Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are some of the laws that apply to the accommodations you may receive.

Required Documentation

Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and 504 plans are common forms of documentation used in K-12 schools. Colleges require different types of documentation and often do not accept an IEP or 504 plan as a form of documentation. Documentation must provide information on specific functional limitations of a disability and demonstrate the need for specific accommodations. This documentation needs to come from a provider who has the correct credentials to provide the diagnosis. Any evaluations must be paid for at the student’s expense. Colleges do not provide evaluations for students.

Student Role

In K-12 schools, teachers and parents are responsible for communicating and meeting a student’s needs. In college the students must start communicating their needs on their own. When a student begins taking college courses it becomes their responsibility to advocate for themselves. This means that the student will request accommodations and provide proper documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator. Students will work with the Accessibility Coordinator every semester to make sure that their accommodations are in place for the current semester.

Next Steps

Detailed information on the procedures for requesting academic accommodations can be found in the Accessibility Services Handbook. Below is a short summary of procedures for new students.

  1. Fill out an Academic Accommodations Request Form 2-6 weeks before classes start or as soon as possible. There are two ways to fill out and return this form. The easiest way is to fill out an electronic Academic Accommodation Request Form. This can be found on the my.bushnell.edu website. If this is not possible a student can print and fill out the Accommodations Request Form. This form can then be turned in to the Accessibility Services Mailbox #34 in Pomajevich Hall or scanned and emailed to mandersen@bushnell.edu
  2. The Accessibility Coordinator will request that the individual turn in documentation of their disability as defined by the ADA.

Documentation must include:

  • Clearly stated diagnosis (DSMV or ICD Code included).
  • Date of onset and treatment.
  • The functional limitation in the higher education setting is clearly described.
  • The evaluators’ professional credentials are included and appropriate for the diagnosis.
  1. Upon receiving a request for academic accommodations, the Accessibility Coordinator will request to set up a time to meet with the student.

During this meeting the accessibility coordinator will:

  • Request any needed documentation
  • Get to know the student
  • Engage in the interactive process to help the students access course materials.

Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions or would like more information about Accessibility Services at Bushnell University, please contact the Accessibility Coordinator. You can do this by calling 541-684-7282 or emailing mandersen@bushnell.edu

We look forward to hearing from you!