Casey, Hatch, Cassidy Introduce Legislation to Ease College Transition for Students with Disabilities

Casey, Hatch, Cassidy Introduce Legislation to Ease College Transition for Students with Disabilities

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the RISE Act in a push to ease the burden of transitioning to college life for students with disabilities. The act, which amends the Higher Education Act (HEA), would clarify that documentation used in K-12 education and other settings to receive special education or accommodations would be acceptable as proof of a disability for students in higher education.

“The RISE Act clears the path for students with disabilities to get the support they need to thrive and succeed in college,” Casey said. “No student with a documented disability should have to incur additional costs to prove it when they get to college and I commend the disability community and higher education for working together with me on solving this critical issue.”

“I’ve always sought to champion the rights of those with disabilities. An important part of these efforts was the Americans with Disabilities Act, a bill I authored  that fundamentally changed the way we treat disability accommodations,” Hatch said. The RISE Act carries on this legacy by removing obstacles for students with disabilities and ensuring they have every chance to succeed in pursuing educational opportunities.”

“Obtaining resources that should already be available to you should not be a struggle," said Dr. Cassidy. "Making sure students with disabilities have easy access to the services that will help them succeed should be a priority."

The RISE Act addresses several existing issues within the Higher Education Act that serve as unnecessary barriers for students with disabilities and their families. Currently, students who have already been diagnosed with a disability in their K-12 years or in other settings must go through new testing to re-qualify for disability services during their post-secondary educations. Instead of forcing these students to expend the time and energy to go through new diagnostic testing, the RISE Act would allow previous documentation to be accepted as proof of a disability.

The RISE Act would also make school policies and data more transparent for students and families so they can make informed decisions on the college that best fits their needs. Finally, the bill also provides additional support for technical assistance to colleges and universities to better serve individuals with disabilities.

The RISE Act is endorsed by the following organizations:

The National Center for Learning Disabilities - AIM Institute for Learning and Research - American Association of People with Disabilities - American Association of State Colleges and Universities - American Council on Education - Association of American Universities - Association of Public and Land-grant Universities - Association of University Centers on Disabilities - Autistic Self Advocacy Network - Decoding Dyslexia Network - Eye to Eye - Learning Disabilities Association of America - National Alliance on Mental Illness - National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities - National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities - National Down Syndrome Congress - Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children - The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates