NCLD Commends Congressional Leaders for Reintroducing The RISE Act

WASHINGTON, DC – March 30, 2023 – The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), alongside over 50 national disability, civil rights, and education partners, commend bipartisan Congressional leaders for reintroducing Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower Act in the 118th Congress. This legislation is pivotal for students with disabilities to receive the accommodations needed to thrive in their postsecondary education.

Students with disabilities face too many hurdles as they transition from high school to postsecondary education. The current process for students to receive accommodations is restrictive because many colleges require costly new evaluations despite documentation such as an IEP or 504 plan that the student received services or accommodations for a disability in K-12 education. While 94% of students with a learning disability received accommodations in K-12, only 17% received them in college. If passed, the bill would improve the process for students who qualify for disability services by requiring colleges to accept a wider variety of forms of documentation, such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 plan, notice from a doctor, or an evaluation by a psychologist.

“There are unnecessary barriers for a student with a learning disability to receive accommodations in postsecondary education. Obtaining a new evaluation to re-prove an existing disability is expensive, time-consuming, and stigmatizing for young adults,” says Dr. Jacqueline Rodriguez, CEO, National Center for Learning Disabilities.

“The RISE Act is such an important legislative solution to removing these barriers, and we commend these Members of Congress for their leadership in addressing this issue.”

“Students with disabilities have the right to an accessible education.” says Rachelle Johnson, Ph.D Student at the Florida State University and NCLD Board Member. “By passing the RISE Act, students around the country would have improved access to the accommodations they need to thrive, which ensures their academic performance is a reflection of their actual knowledge instead of a reflection of an inequitable system.”

The RISE Act addresses three key issues:

  • Accommodations: Requires that colleges accept a student’s IEP, 504 plan, or prior evaluation as sufficient proof of their disability when seeking accommodations;
  • Training: Authorizes more funding for a technical assistance center—The National Center for College Students with Disabilities (NCCSD)—that provides students and families with information about available disability services and offers faculty training and resources on best practices to support students with disabilities; and
  • Information: Requires colleges to report on how many students with disabilities are being served, the accommodations provided, and the outcomes for these students.