What changes when my son/daughter enters college?

High School – Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

  • School district responsible for identifying children with disabilities
  • Evaluation of disability the school’s responsibility
  • Parents consent to evaluations and advocate for their child
  • Child’s information accessible to the parent
  • Disability defined by specific categories

College – Equal access and the opportunity to compete

  • Student must self-identify as having a disability and provide adequate documentation
  • Evaluation of disability the student’s responsibility
  • Student responsible for advocacy (e.g., accommodation requests, communicating functional impact of disability, etc.)
  • Student information protected under FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
  • Disability defined as a significant limitation to a major life function

Essentials for a successful transition to USC

Students should:

  1. Register on-line with DSP prior to or early in the semester
  2. Visit the DSP website and become familiar with registration requirements, procedures, documentation guidelines, etc.
  3. Ask questions by calling (213) 740-0776, e-mailing or stopping by the office in GFS 120
  4. Provide current documentation that adheres to documentation guidelines
  5. Follow policies and procedures
  6. Clearly communicate and present accommodation letters to all professors early in the semester

Potential areas of confusion in the transition from high school to USC

  • Self-Identification – In K-12 education, the school district must identify children with disabilities and provide appropriate services to help them achieve free appropriate public education. In the post-secondary setting, it is the responsibility of the student to self-identify to receive accommodations. Some students may not realize this and expect the college to come to them
  • Documentation – In K-12 education, the school district may provide evaluations and documentation for the child. This documentation may not be current (e.g., an IEP for a dyslexic child may have been generated in the 2nd grade and continued on through high school without further updates). At USC, documentation needs to be current, meet certain guidelines, and be submitted by the student or student’s clinician
  • Access to Student Records (FERPA) – Parents do not have access to their child’s information unless their child provides a release. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects student information. DSP staff will not discuss a student’s case with a parent or outside party unless a “Release Authorization” has been completed by the student. A “Release Authorization” can be completed by the student on-line as part of the registration process
  • Generating new accommodation letters every semester – Each semester, all students planning to utilize their granted accommodations must generate a new accommodation letter and distribute to their faculty or departmental contact person. If new accommodations are requested, students must submit an Additional Accommodation Request Form in their MyDSP account.
  • Self-Advocacy – In K-12 education, parents and school personnel are the primary advocates for the child. In the post-secondary setting, the onus is upon the student to make their needs known. Initiative, independence, and self-knowledge are all important for success at USC. DSP personnel will advise accordingly as students develop and refine their advocacy skills, learn more about themselves, and their disability