Skip to content

Casey continues fighting to reduce barriers to higher education faced by students with disabilities

Casey: “Students with disabilities deserve as fair a shot as anyone at pursuing higher education”

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, introduced two bills that would make American higher education far more accessible for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities currently face unique, challenging, and often unnecessary barriers to enrolling in and completing higher education programs. Chairman Casey’s bills remove some of these barriers and provide additional funding to ensure that students with disabilities have a fair shot at pursuing higher education.

“Students with disabilities deserve as fair a shot as anyone at pursuing higher education, but too often face disproportionate and unnecessary barriers throughout the process,” Chairman Casey (D-PA). “Today, I’m introducing bills that would take down some of those barriers and invest in programs that make sure students with disabilities can achieve their educational goals and realize their full potential.”

Casey’s new Higher Education Grant Flexibility Act, would allow many students with disabilities who are taking a reduced course load as an approved disability accommodation to receive the same federal financial aid as other full-time students Right now, many students with disabilities with reduced course loads are required to prorate their financial aid, which threatens their Pell Grants and other federal aid programs, and forces students to choose between the accommodations they need and the full amount of financial aid they were awarded. Casey’s bill would make it possible for students with disabilities to utilize the disability accommodations they are entitled to by law without financial consequences.

Chairman Casey’s Expanding Disability Access to Higher Education Act, would provide federal programs aimed at helping first-generation and low-income students pursue higher education through TRIO programs with $50 million to enroll and support eligible students with disabilities. TRIO programs include Upward Bound, Student Support Services, and the McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, and provide eligible students with support such as mentoring, career development services, and preparation for postsecondary education. Eligible students with disabilities would benefit greatly from these programs, but the resources and skills needed to support their unique needs are often not present. Casey’s bill will help TRIO programs obtain those resources and capacities.

Chairman Casey has long been a champion in the Senate for students with disabilities. Last March, he introduced three bills to make education more accessible for students with disabilities and to help ensure their safety at school. Those bills would make transitions to postsecondary education smoother, campus emergency procedures more accurate, accessible, and inclusive of students with disabilities, improve training for school security and staff, and develop stronger federal oversight and support. 

Read more about the Higher Education Grant Flexibility Act here.

Read more about the Expanding Disability Access to Higher Education Act here.