March 30th, 2023

Remove Barriers for College Students with Disabilities by Supporting the RISE Act

Did you know that nearly 19% of college students have a disability? While students with disabilities can receive accommodations throughout their K-12 journeys, many have experienced difficulties obtaining accommodations in higher education institutions.

The Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act amends the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) to ensure that students with disabilities thrive in college. The RISE Act will help streamline the process of qualifying for disability services and require colleges to accept various forms of documentation, including an Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 Plan, a doctor’s notice, or a psychologist’s evaluation.

Did You Know?


of students with learning disabilities received accommodations in high school, but only 17% received accommodations in postsecondary education.


of students who didn’t receive accommodations in postsecondary education reported that they wished they had.

Between $500-$2500

is the average cost of an evaluation for an individual with a learning disability.

If passed, the RISE Act 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 IEP, 504 plan, notice from a doctor, or an evaluation by a psychologist. Currently, the process for students to access accommodations is restrictive due to many colleges only accepting  certain documentation, which has resulted in some students having to pay out-of-pocket for costly new evaluations.

The RISE Act does three important things 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.

NCLD looks forward to working with the 118th Congress to push the RISE Act forward but we need your support.

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Supporting Organizations (Updated 4/6/23):

National Center for Learning Disabilities, The Advocacy Institute, All4Ed, AHEAD, AIM Institute for Learning and Research, American Association of People with Disabilities, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, The Arc of the United States, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Autism Society of America, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, CareSource, CASE (Council of Administrators of Special Education), CAST, Center for Learner Equity, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination, CommunicationFirst, Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities Education Taskforce, Council for Exceptional Children, Council for Learning Disabilities, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Decoding Dyslexia Network, Education Reform Now, The Education Trust, Eye to Eye, Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities,Institute for Higher Education Policy, Japanese American Citizens League, Learning Disabilities Association of America, The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Dauphin County, PA, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment (National PLACE), National Disability Rights Network, National Down Syndrome Congress, National Down Syndrome Society, National Education Association, National Urban League, The Parents’ Place of MD, PAVE, Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK), RespectAbility, SchoolHouse Connection, Show and Tell, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, Teach for America, Teach Plus, University of California Student Association, and UnidosUS.

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