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FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) for Families


Entering college can sometimes be an overwhelming and confusing experience for many students. The Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) is committed to making the transition from high school to college as easy as possible.

We receive many questions around some common themes from families who have college students with disabilities, and from students themselves. We have collected the most commonly asked questions and answered them, referencing Cabrillo's policies, procedures and practices, as well as federal law. We hope this clears up some questions before issues may arise. If not, please contact us at the numbers listed below.

Question:  Are the services my child received in high school, on his or her 504 or Individual Education Plan (IEP) automatically guaranteed in college?

Answer:  College services are not automatic. Each college (following relevant federal, state and local law) determines a student's eligibility for accommodations, including which auxiliary aids are appropriate. For detailed information about auxiliary aids and services, we recommend the U.S. Department of Education publication, Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities.


Question:  What is the difference between IDEA, which mandated IEPs for my child in the K-12 system, and the laws relevant for adults with disabilities in a college environment?

Answer:  Under IDEA, a child with a disability in the K-12 system is entitled to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, which is detailed in the IEP or 504 plan. This standard does not apply to adults in a college environment. A post-secondary institution serving adults is required to follow Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other relevant laws. ADA requires that an "otherwise qualified individual with a disability" not be discriminated against in a public setting on the basis of their disability. The focus shifts, therefore, from creating a unique learning environment in the K-12 system, to providing accommodations in the college environment.

For more detailed information, we recommend reading the U.S. Department of Education publication, Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities.


Question:  Can a parent advocate for her/his adult child now that s/he is a college student?

Answer: In college, students formally advocate for themselves, as they are adults. DSPS staff will meet with students to hear their concerns and help them identify what actions they, the students, may decide to take.


Question:  Can a parent or school district provide documentation of a disability for a student enrolling in college?

Answer:  We are happy to accept previous documentation. In college, the student, alone, is responsible for providing the documentation to DSPS.


Question:  Can students expect, as part of their accommodations in college, that fundamental alterations to any particular program or course of study will be permitted, as was the case in K-12?

Answer:  In college, an accommodation will not alter the fundamental nature of, or requirements for, any course or program.

Question:  Who takes responsibility that all appropriate services are delivered to my child now that s/he is in college?

Answer:  While the college provides many types of information about college services for students with disabilities, ultimately it is the student's responsibility to seek out services.


Question:  As a concerned parent, whom might I hold responsible for my child's progress or lack of progress?

Answer:  The student alone is responsible for his or her progress.


Question:  Is it the college's responsibility to make contact with the student's parents on a regular basis or as a result of any situation (i.e. disciplinary) that may arise?

Answer:  The college will not initiate contacts with parents. When students enroll in college they are considered to be, and are treated as, responsible adults by both faculty and staff. If a parent calls for information about their child's status, the parent will be encouraged to speak directly with the student.

Question: 
If I believe my son or daughter's disability will have an impact on his/her attendance in classes, will DSPS be able to give an appropriate accommodation for this?

Answer:  DSPS has no authority to decide on matters which are part of the instructor's domain such as attendance, class assignments, or timelines.

Question:
  Is the college responsible for providing classroom or one-on-one aides for my child, as was done in high school?

Answer:  The college is not responsible for providing classroom or one-on-one aides to any student enrolled at the college. Prior to registering for classes, it is important for any aides provided by parents or outside agencies who accompany students in the classroom to meet with the counselors in DSPS. This provides an opportunity for all to fully understand the aide's role and responsibilities.

We hope these questions and answers have been helpful and informative. We encourage you to contact the Disabled Students Programs and Services for further information.

Office Numbers:

(831) 479-6379 or (831) 479-6370 
(831) 479-6421 (TTY for hearing impaired)

Office Hours:

Spring and Fall semesters:

Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Summer and Intersession:  7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.


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