Students RISE to Higher Education

Purpose of Proposed Legislature:

Providing students with disabilities better access to accommodations in Higher Education.


There is concern about how accessible universities are to students with disabilities. Universities and colleges need current documentation of disabilities for students to receive accommodations. They do not accept IEP and 504 plans from K-12 education. S.2550, the RISE (Respond, Innovate, Support, and Empower Students with Disabilities) Act of 2021 will amend the Higher Education Act (HEA). It will clarify the documentation a university or college must accept when considering whether an enrolled student has a disability. This bill will allow previous documentation used in K-12 education to receive special education or accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This documentation will be enough to prove that an individual has a disability in the context of higher education.


  • The average cost of a new evaluation for a student with a learning disability ranges from $500-$2500.[1]
  • In an analysis from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, only 6 out of 400 colleges on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, gave any information about disability services.[2]
  • In the 2015-16 academic year 19% of all enrolled undergraduates and 12% of all enrolled graduate students reported having a disability.[3]
  • According to the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey (ACS), in 2021 13% of the population reported having some form of disability.[4]


  • Students entering colleges must get costly testing done to prove they qualify for disability services.
  • Finding information about disability services available at universities can be hard for students with disabilities, and their families.[5]
  • There is not enough training or support for faculty about disabilities and how to support students with disabilities.


  • The RISE Act would make colleges accept a past Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan as proof of a disability when a student is seeking accommodations.
  • The RISE Act would make colleges adopt transparent policies about disability services. It will also make them share the information with students and families.
  • The RISE Act will give $10 million to the National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities. This is an existing program under the Higher Education Act (HEA).

Call to Action:

What can you do? Contact your local legislators! You can make phone calls, send emails or write letters. Tell them what you think about the RISE Act. Click on the button below, enter your information, and find contact information for your local legislators.

Your voice matters!!

[1] Learning Disabilities Association of America (2013). Adult learning disability assessment process.

[2] Learning Disabilities Association of America (2013). Adult learning disability assessment process.

[3] National Center for Education Statistics, October 2022.

[4] American Community Survey. U.S. Census Bureau, October 2022.

[5] S.2550 The RISE Act (2021). U.S. Senator Bob Casey