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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 13, 2022 12:10 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller and Rep. Arvind Venkat
To: All House members
Subject: Improving College Transition for Students with Disabilities
Over the past few decades, Pennsylvania has made a concerted effort to support inclusion in our school districts, which has led to more students with disabilities receiving an appropriate education in their home schools. Through this, we have seen many students find great success, excelling in their classes, which has led to increased numbers of students with disabilities attending higher education institutions. However, many of our students and their families have found the transition into post-secondary institutions to be daunting.

One challenge some students face is in proving that they have a disability, despite providing academic records, including records of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). This has led to redundant and unnecessary evaluations, often at the families’ expense. Other students encounter a lack of clear information regarding institutional policies and procedures for determining appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.

That is why we are re-introducing legislation that seeks to improve the transition to college for students with disabilities in Pennsylvania by incorporating parts of Senator Bob Casey’s proposed federal RISE (Respond, Innovate, Succeed and Empower) Act.

First, it would require that postsecondary institutions in Pennsylvania adopt policies that would allow existing documentation, such as an IEP, a 504 Plan, a record of a disability from another higher education institution, or documentation from the military, to be accepted as proof of a disability.

Second, our higher education institutions will be required to adopt policies that are transparent and easily accessible to students and their families that explain how the institution determines eligibility for disability-related accommodations.

Finally, the bill seeks to strengthen transition planning for students pursuing post-secondary education, by requiring that such planning includes goals and recommendations directly linked to the student’s anticipated needs in the post-secondary environment.

Please join us 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 HB342