How Can I Get My Son’s IEP Updated for College?

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teen boy at lockersMy son’s IEP was last updated in 3rd grade. He is now a senior at a private christian school. How can I get his IEP updated for college?

There are several issues in your question.

Private Schools and IEPs

Does a private school have to provide an IEP for a child with a disability?

Answer: No. IDEA 2004 does not apply to private schools.

Private Placement and IEPs

Does the public school have to provide that child with an IEP?

Answer: Variable and complicated. Begins with child find laws.

The Child Find mandate applies to all children who reside within a State, including children who attend private (including religious) schools.

Colleges and IEPs

Does a college have to provide a child with a disability with an IEP?

Answer: No.

IEPs are based on IDEA 2004 which only applies to public schools, not higher education. When your child graduates from high school with a regular diploma or reaches the age of 22, his entitlement to rights under IDEA ends. IDEA rights do not follow your child into college.

What Law Applies in College?

Answer: Section 504 and ADA AA.

Parents should consider having a 504 plan from the public school in the last two years prior to attending college, since college disability offices recognize 504 and ADA, but not IDEA.

More information and resources are on the College and Continuing Education page at

Transition to College and Continuing Education

On, left column, scroll down to Transition and read links on that page.

You will find an outstanding article by Marilyn Bartlett, Transitioning from High School to Post-Secondary Education.

Dr. Bartlett is the famous Bartlett in the landmark case, Marilyn Bartlett v. NY State Bar, Board of Law Examiners.

  1. One of my children is in the midst of college acceptances. He had informational interviews at several colleges, disability support centers, etc. I cannot stress enough that parents and students must know what colleges require for disability documentation and plan ahead. This is very important that documentation is current and within the timeline of the colleges. I was advised years ago (thanks to Wrightslaw and some great advocates) to have my son privately tested again within two years of graduation. That assessment opened the doors for some great discussion with disability support services staff and directors. Sometimes, high school officials may not know the full requirements so educate yourself and teach your child to self advocate.

    • Is it true that colleges only recognized a 504 plan then the IEP….if so is his public school required to provide it by law ?? Our son will be going into his sophomore yr fall 2018..TY

      • I am not sure what you are asking that the school must provide. Yes, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) & Section 504 which is part of what, is what follows a student to college. Most colleges have a center or department that provides services, & can tell you the procedures for getting services.

      • It is important to plan ahead. You can call/email college disability support centers and talk to the directors/staff members with your questions even now, though your son is in in sophomore year. During the college visits, plan to meet with the disaiblity support center staff and ask questions, etc. My child started visiting college disaiblity support centers in middle school. I then was able to carefully plan, with my child and the high school school, a track towards college based on my child’s goals, strengths, etc. Go to the source, talk to the college disaiblity centers–they are full of great resources and information to guide you along with the high school counselor but do both as you will get a good sense of one’s options and documentation required.

  2. My son is going to be 5 in March and attends a specialized preschool for deaf and hard of hearing through public school system. He has only been there for a year and was a late diagnosis of being hearing impaired. He wasn’t diagnosed and fitted with hearing aides until he was 18 months old. My question is I think it would be beneficial for him to stay at this school an additional year and the teachers agree but head of Special Ed says he will be Kindergarten age and can’t. I need proof that he is not ready for Kindergarten but unsure on tests and other proof I can gather to present at the IEP in January. Does anyone have suggestions? I had one person suggest I have him retested and refuse to let him wear his hearing aides. He knows his preacademics but can’t comprehend more that 2 steps at one time when teacher talking.

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