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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2020 05:52 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Improving College Transition for Students with Disabilities
In the near future I plan to re-introduce legislation that seeks to improve the transition to post-secondary schools for students with disabilities by incorporating parts of Senator Bob Casey’s federal RISE (Respond, Innovate, Succeed and Empower) Act.

Over the past couple of decades, Pennsylvania has made more of an effort to support inclusion in our school districts, which has led to more of our students receiving an appropriate education in their home schools. Similarly, this effort has shown how many of these students can find success and excel to the top of their classes. This has now led to increased students with disabilities graduating into post-secondary schools across our state which is a good thing to be sure. However, many of our students and families have found the transition into post-secondary schools to be daunting.

For example, students are sometimes faced with the challenge of proving that they have a disability, despite providing academic and IEP records. This has led to redundant and unnecessary evaluations, often at the families’ expense. This bill would require our postsecondary colleges to adopt policies that would allow existing documentation in an IEP, 504 plan, or a record of a disability from another institution of higher education, or documentation provided from the military to be accepted as proof of a disability.

Additionally, our institutions of higher education will be required to adopt policies that are transparent and easily accessible for students and their families to understand what disability-related accommodations and supports are available.

The bill also seeks to strengthen transition planning in Pennsylvania. Currently, PA requires transition planning for students with disabilities to begin at age 14, a stronger requirement than what is prescribed by federal law. This bill requires that such planning should be in line with the students’ graduation goals and must provide recommendations that are specifically related to the post-secondary experience.

Please join me in seeking to continue the advancement of students with disabilities as they navigate our colleges and universities on the way to greater accomplishment and independence.

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Introduced as HB85