Dual Enrollment and Students with Disabilities:
What You Need to Know

Professors Must Treat All Students the Same

Professors will not know who is a dual-enrollment student and who is not. All college professors will see you as a college student and are not notified that you are a dual enrollment student. Being a dual enrollment student means that you will be expected to complete the college course as designed. This may mean that the subject matter and grading criteria are much more difficult or more of an adult content than what you are accustomed to in high school.

Everyone enrolled in a college course is a college student, regardless of their age. You may begin dual enrollment while you are under the age of 18. Regardless of your age, you will have the same responsibilities as other college students. As a college student you are expected to follow Valencia’s college policies and adhere to posted deadlines. You are also expected to follow Valencia’s code of conduct, which may be different from your high school code of conduct. Regardless of your age, your faculty may not want to work with your parents and prefer to work directly with you if you have questions or concerns Dual Enrollment the course.

All students in college courses are expected to do the same work, cover the same material, and meet the same course outcomes. All students, including those with disabilities are required to submit their assignments in the manner the professor requires. The professor expects that all students complete the course as it is originally designed. In high school, your IEP and 504 plans may stipulate that your teachers teach you in a different manner than your non-disabled peers as an accommodation/ modification. They may also change the class curriculum to accommodate you. This is different from how colleges accommodate students. College professors teach all students in the same manner but provide academic accommodations such as additional time on exams. This does not change the nature of the course.

Being a dual enrollment student does not guarantee additional accommodations. As a dual enrollment student, you have the privilege of taking college courses while still enrolled in high school. As a student with a diagnosed disability, you have the right to request academic accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities. You will be approved for accommodations based solely on your documentation and the essential elements of the course, not your status as a dual enrollment student.

Your faculty member does not know how many courses you are enrolled into. Your faculty will assign work without considering how many other courses you have. Due to this, you could have several assignments due the same week…or even the same day. Time management will be an especially important skill to be a successful college student. Work with an academic advisor to determine how many courses you should enroll into each semester. Many students want to start out as full-time college students, enrolling into 12.00 credits/ approximately 4 courses. While four courses may not sound like a lot compared to 6 or 7 courses in high school, remember that college courses may require 2 or 4 times as much work as your high school courses. If you struggle with writing, time management or academics in general, you may want to consider a lighter load.

The Disability Laws are Different

The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) does not apply to colleges and universities. As a student with disabilities in high school, you are provided with accommodations via IDEA. This law allows your high school to provide you with modifications and accommodations, which are considered reasonable. This may include additional time on assignments, alternative assignments and alternative assessments. In college, you are provided with accommodations via a different set of laws which allow the college to determine an accommodation request to be unreasonable if it changes the essential elements of the course.

Any IEP created and utilized in K-12 does not apply at Valencia College. While your IEP or 504 plan shows a history of you being accommodated as a student with a disability in high school, it does not guarantee that you will be approved for the same accommodations in college. In addition, it is your responsibility to identify yourself as a student with a disability and request accommodations for your dual enrollment courses. Until you do this, you are not recognized as a student with a disability at Valencia. In addition, your college faculty will not provide you with academic accommodations until you are approved for accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities.

The laws colleges and universities must follow are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The chart below shows the difference between the ADA/ Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and IDEA:

IDEA (High School)
ADA/ Section 504 (College)
Law of Entitlement: Guarantees SUCCESS
Civil Rights Law: Guarantees ACCESS
Every Child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the "least restrictive environment" possible. 
Students must be "otherwise qualified" to enter college, without consideration of disability. Students participate in the general curriculum of the college.
Requires yearly meeting of general education teachers, special education teachers, and auxiliary service personnel to discuss progress and set goals. 
The student is responsible for meeting with disability services and with instructors to discuss needs and concerns.
Often involves significant modification of the curriculum and of assessments (e.g., students may learn only the major concepts of a unit, may be able to take shortened tests, or be exempt from certain assignments.) 
Instructors are NOT required nor encouraged to fundamentally alter the content or goals of their courses or the types of tests that are given, though they may be required to make changes that do not affect essential content or goals.

The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) must meet with you prior to the approval of accommodations. Though you may have an IEP or 504 plan in high school, you will not begin to receive accommodations until you are approved for accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities. Steps on how to complete this process can be found here. Your 504 plan or IEP may be used to show the history of your disability, but does not explicitly meet Valencia’s documentation guidelines, which can be found here. Therefore, while you may qualify for some accommodations with your IEP or 504 plan, these accommodations may not be approved in college.

Student Must Request Accommodations

Students, not the college, are responsible for requesting accommodations. In high school, your school was responsible for identifying you as a student with disabilities and providing you with academic accommodations. In post-secondary education, students must affirmatively request accommodations they need through the Office for Students with Disabilities office.

Your faculty member will not accommodate you until you register with the OSD and present a letter of accommodation (LOA). The ADA does not require professors to notice or identify disabilities and does not require any accommodations to be given until the student has gone through the OSD process. Once you are registered with the OSD, you will be required to request a Letter of Accommodation each semester you want to use academic accommodations. The OSD team will discuss this process during your intake.

Accommodations will not be applied retroactively. It may take multiple weeks to complete the OSD intake process. If you begin this process too late, you will not receive your accommodations until well into the semester. Your accommodations begin once the faculty member receives the Letter of Accommodation and is given sufficient time to make arrangements for these accommodations. For example, if the Letter of Accommodation is not requested until the Friday of the exam, even if the OSD can get the Letter to the faculty prior to the test, they need time to make these arrangements . No accommodations will be applied retroactively to past assignments. Due to this, we recommend that you begin the OSD registration process as soon as possible. Detailed information on this process can be found here.

Students take the lead. Parents may support students, but as college enrollees, students must be the primary communicators in this process. We strongly encourage you to regularly communicate with your faculty. Valencia faculty love working with their students, but students must reach out to their faculty to discuss course questions or concerns. Faculty will most likely not communicate with your parents.

The Accommodation Process is Different

Approved accommodations may be different than what is listed in your documentation. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, college academic accommodations do not have to be exactly what you request or what is listed in your disability documentation. Accommodations are required to address the functional limitations of your disability and may be different than your preference.

All approved accommodations must be reasonable. Under the ADA, accommodations must only be reasonable, and must not fundamentally change the nature of the curriculum or the course. This means that we cannot approve an accommodation if it changes the nature of your course.

Your faculty member, not the OSD has the final decision about whether an accommodation is reasonable. Some accommodation requests rarely (if ever) change the nature of a course. Examples of these accommodations may include additional time on an exam or a notetaker for course lectures. However, some accommodation requests can radically change a course’s design or what your faculty member is trying to teach. While you have the right to make an accommodation request of this nature, your faculty member (as the course designer), will make the final decision about if this is reasonable in his/ her course.

College Courses Are Designed Differently

No two courses are the same. In K-12, the academic curriculum is set by the State. In post-secondary education, individual Colleges and Universities have more say about what will be taught in each course and how. Due to this, two sections of the same course can be taught in dramatically different ways.

College will be more difficult than high school. College professors have an obligation to maintain academic rigor in their courses and apply high standards to all students.

College courses may cover mature subject matter. College courses involve free inquiry and critical thinking and may cover adult subject matter. You will be expected to engage in the subject matter, even as a dual enrollment student.

There is no option to move into another section or course once the semester starts. OSD does not "transfer" students from one section to another because of disability issues. Students may drop a course without penalty prior to the drop/ refund deadline. Students may also withdraw from a course for a “W” final grade prior to the withdrawal deadline. The drop and withdrawal deadlines provided at the start of the semester are the only options for leaving a course. We highly encourage you to consult with your dual enrollment advisor and your professor before dropping or withdrawing from a course.

Some K-12 Accommodations Will Not Be Permitted

You could have vastly different accommodations in college. Due to the differences in the IDEA and ADA, some accommodations that you receive in Middle or High School may not be reasonable in a college course. For example, you may have received alternative assessments (tests) in all your courses in high school, this may not be permitted in any (or all) of your courses in college.

You could have two sets of accommodations at once. You may receive different accommodations in your K-12 courses and your college courses---at the same time. Due to this, it is important to stay organized so that you do not confuse your accommodations.

Not all accommodation requests may be approved. OSD will consider all requests, but requests to eliminate deadlines, change teaching methods and styles, or create separate schedules or assignments are not likely to be approved (even if they are listed in your documentation). In addition, requests for these types of accommodations require a separate interactive process.

Non-disability requests will not be considered. Needs unrelated to disabilities, such as job duties or personal commitments, will not be a basis for accommodations.

Access information on policies, accommodations and student responsibilities.

 Student Handbook