Cassidy, Young seek improved higher ed transition services for students with disabilities

U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Todd Young (R-IN) on May 22 cosponsored bipartisan legislation to provide students with disabilities and their families with improved access to information for selecting, enrolling, and succeeding at the right college or university.

“This legislation takes an important step to simplify the college enrollment process for people with disabilities, which will help more students access higher education and open doors of opportunity,” Sen. Young said.

Sens. Cassidy and Young introduced the Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act, S. 1585, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to clarify that students with previous documentation of a disability could continue using that documentation as proof to receive special education and/or other related accommodations when they transition from high school to higher education, according to a summary provided by the senators’ offices.

Dyslexia, for instance, is a lifelong condition, said Sen. Cassidy, a licensed medical doctor.

“So requiring families to re-pay to re-establish something that is a permanent part of someone’s neurobiology is nonsensical and costly,” he said. “We must remove barriers so students can access the resources they need to succeed.”

The bill also would improve the transparency of school policies and data for students and families to enable them to make better informed decisions about higher ed and would provide colleges and universities with more support for technical assistance to better serve people with disabilities.

The measure is being reviewed by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.