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Expert Q&A

Are colleges required to provide testing and accommodations for students with learning disabilities?

My daughter, who is now 28 years old, has returned to college. She went to an alternative high school and only took basic math there because she had such difficulties with math. She just took Basic College Algebra and failed it even though she went for tutoring twice a week. I have always thought she (and her father and two brothers) had a math disability.

Should the college have to provide testing and accommodations? They really have not wanted to discuss this with her.

Dear Mary:

Colleges and universities are governed by different rules than students with disabilities in elementary and high school. The law requires that in order for a student to receive accommodations based on their disability, they must provide documentation that establishes that they have the disability and why the accommodation is necessary for them, based on their disability. The college or university then must consider this information if they agree that the documentation establishes the disability and that the accommodations being requested are “reasonable.” If they disagree, they must advise your daughter. She then has the right to appeal that decision or file a complaint with the federal government because they are not recognizing her disability or providing her with the needed accommodations.

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