July 29th, 2021

NCLD Applauds Congressional Leaders for Reintroducing Important RISE ACT Legislation for Students with Disabilities


[WASHINGTON, DC, July 29, 2021—] The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and 23 national disability, civil rights and education partners today announced their support for the reintroduction of the Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower Act in Congress.

The NCLD applauds the reintroduction of the RISE Act of 2021 today by these key Members of Congress, who have maintained federal legislative support for the learning disability community: Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Dr. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Todd Young (R-IN) and Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA), and Kim Schrier (D-WA).

If passed, the bill would improve the process for students who qualify for disability services by requiring colleges to accept a wider variety of forms of documentation, such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 plan, notice from a doctor, or an evaluation by a psychologist.

The current process for students to receive accommodations is restrictive because many colleges limit the documents individuals can provide to prove their disability, causing some students to pay out-of-pocket for costly new evaluations.

“Learning disabilities are real and they are lifelong. For too long, the process for receiving disability accommodations has placed the burden on students and families to navigate the complex higher education system,” says Lindsay E. Jones, President & CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. “We applaud these legislators for their leadership on this important civil rights issue, and we look forward to working with Congress to make the Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower Act a reality.”

“I am about to enter my second year of college without accommodations for my ADHD because my school is forcing me to prove again that I have a disability,” says Malachai Pruett, NCLD Young Adult Leadership Council member. “The Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower Act would mean that students like me won’t have to jump through hoops to have a level playing field. We won’t have to suffer, watching our grades slip simply because we can’t afford to get re-evaluated for conditions we already have shown our schools we have.”

The RISE Act of 2021 provides solutions in three important areas for students with disabilities:

  • Accommodations: Requires that colleges accept a student’s IEP, 504 plan, or prior evaluation as sufficient proof of their disability when seeking accommodations
  • Training: Authorizes more funding for a technical assistance center—The National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD)—that provides students and families with information about available disability services and offers faculty training and resources on best practices to support students with disabilities
  • Information: Requires colleges to report on how many students with disabilities are being served, the accommodations provided, and the outcomes for these students

Key facts about Students with Disabilities:

  • 94% of students with learning disabilities received accommodations in high school, but only 17% received accommodations in postsecondary education
  • 43% who didn’t receive accommodations in postsecondary education reported that they wished they had
  • The cost of an evaluation for an individual with a learning disability can range between $500 and $2,500

Supporting Organizations:

The Advocacy Institute ⋅ AHEAD ⋅ AIM Institute for Learning and Research ⋅ American Association of People with Disabilities, ⋅ Association of University Centers on Disabilities ⋅ Autistic Self Advocacy Network ⋅ Center for Learner Equity  ⋅ Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates ⋅ Council for Exceptional Children ⋅ Decoding Dyslexia Network ⋅ Education Reform Now ⋅ Eye to Eye ⋅ Higher Education Consortium for Special Education ⋅ InnovateEDU ⋅ Learning Disabilities Association of America ⋅ National Alliance on Mental Illness ⋅ National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities ⋅ National Association of School Psychologists ⋅ National Disability Rights Network ⋅ National Down Syndrome Congress ⋅ RespectAbility ⋅ Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children ⋅ TeachPlus  



The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is the leading organization representing the learning disability community. NCLD improves the lives of all people with learning disabilities and attention issues by empowering parents, enabling young adults, transforming schools, and creating policy and advocacy impact. Learn more and read the latest news at

For more information, please contact:

Lindsay Kubatzky,
Policy Manager


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