Student Accessibility Services

Parents and Family

University Life

Although the transition from high school to college is a challenge for any student, college life poses unique challenges for students with accommodation needs. These students have often received varying levels of support throughout high school but are now expected to navigate the university on their own. In order to be successful at the post-secondary level, students with accommodation needs must be able to advocate for their needs, take on responsibility for their learning, and understand the requirements that they must meet in order to be successful in their educational endeavors.

The information and resources provided will be helpful in facilitating a smooth transition to higher education. While Student Accessibility Services (SAS) cannot promise your student will succeed, we are committed to ensuring that your student has equal access to all USF programs and services and facilitate opportunities for success. SAS is excited to be a partner with students during their journey at the USF.

The Role of Parents

As parents, it is important to understand the challenges that your student faces with the transition and to support them throughout the process.  The best way to help your student succeed is to help them understand their accessibility needs, as well as their strengths, interests, and preferences.  In addition, encourage your student to work closely with faculty, staff, and administrators who are here to help.

Work with your student to develop self-advocacy skills.  Help them to articulate what his/her accessibility needs are and how it affects their life.  A student should be able to talk about their strengths and difficulties in a clear manner and have an in-depth understanding of their needs.

Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA)

Because of The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), your experience as a parent or guardian will be different from the K-12 system. At the high school level, the relationship was between the school district and the parents; at the college level, the relationship is between the college and the student. Once your son or daughter enrolls in a post-secondary institution, whether they are 18 years old or not, they become the sole guardian of all records maintained by that institution.

Your student may choose to fill out the SAS Release of Information Form which may be used to request documentation to be sent to SAS from your student’s physician or previous school.

For additional information on student privacy rights including providing or restricting access to student records so that parents, guardians, spouses may be included in your student’s affiliation with the University, please review our Student Privacy Rights website for applicable forms and instructions.

Individual Education Plans (IEPS) and 504 Plans

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans often differ significantly from the accommodations and services provided at the post-secondary level. One difference is that IEPs and 504 plans do not always contain the evaluation/assessment scores that qualify a student with a learning disability for accommodations and services at the higher education level. If evaluation/assessment scores are not available or your student needs to be assessed for a disability, please contact us to discuss your options.

The second difference is the role of the school in the provision of accommodations. At the high school level, the school is responsible for identifying students who need accommodations or services. However, in higher education students are responsible for identifying themselves to the accessibility office and state their requested accommodations. Once accommodations are approved, SAS partners with your student and their faculty to ensure effective and appropriate accommodations are facilitated to provide equal access.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

We suggest that you visit the U.S. Department of Education Web site – “Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities.”