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Arysta Sweat
Student Disability Services Coordinator
E-mail: arysta.sweat

Phone: 775.327.2336

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Transitioning from High School

The information below provides an overview of similarities and differences between K-12 and college accommodation processes. More detailed information may be found at the U.S. Department of Education’s “Transition of Students with Disabilities” page.


In college, students are still covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but are covered under different parts of Section 504 and not covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) once they leave high school. Students in college do not receive IEPs or 504 Plans.

IDEA focuses on student success and the degree of modification and accommodation under IDEA is much greater than that obligated under Section 504 and the ADA. Section 504 and the ADA are intended to protect against discrimination and focus on equal access for individuals with disabilities, but fundamental alterations to courses or programs are not required.

Parental/Guardian Involvement

Parents of K-12 students are legally entitled to be included in the accommodations process. In college, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires students, even those under the age of 18, to provide written consent if they wish to share information regarding accommodations to an outside party, including a parent or guardian. More information may be found at the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA FAQ.

Identification and Costs of Evaluation

In grades K-12, the school is responsible for identifying students with disabilities and assuming the costs of evaluation involved in identifying a disability.

In college, students must “self-identify” to receive accommodations. At GBC, students must register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and provide documentation establishing the presence of a disability. IEPs and 504 Plans from high school may or may not be sufficient documentation.

Implementing Accommodations

The process for notifying instructors about a student’s approved accommodations varies from college to college. At GBC, we will notify instructors upon the request of the student, but the student should reach out to the instructor to confirm receipt of the notification. The notification to the instructor will not identify the student’s disability.

Request for notification of instructors must be requested each semester, as well as requests for accommodation updates.

Accommodation Offerings

Colleges are not required to provide accommodations that fundamentally alter the nature of a course or an essential learning outcome. For this reason, some accommodations offered at the K-12 level are rarely offered at the college level:

Accommodations approved for use in GBC courses include:

  • Extended time on exams and quizzes
  • Use of note-takers for class lectures
  • Audio recordings of lectures
  • Taking exams in a distraction-reduced room

For More Information Contact

Arysta Sweat
Student Disability Services Coordinator
Phone: 775.327.2336

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Why Great Basin College

Great Basin College wants to be your choice for higher education. GBC offers associate and baccalaureate level instruction in career and technical education and academic areas. About 4,000 students are enrolled annually online from across the country and on campuses and centers across 86,500 square miles, two time zones, and ten of Nevada's largest counties. We border Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and California. We are GBC!

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