Cassidy, colleagues introduce bill to remove barriers for students with disabilities

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Sen. Bill Cassidy

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act to help ease the burden of transitioning to college for students with disabilities.

The legislation would amend the Higher Education Act (HEA) to clarify that students with previous documentation of a disability would be able to continue using that documentation as proof when they transition to higher education. This would help ensure students who receive special education or accommodations because of a disability do not need to spend time and money to go through unnecessary new diagnostic testing.

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

The RISE Act would also make school policies and data more transparent for students and families so they can make informed decisions on the college that best fits their needs. The legislation provides additional support for technical assistance to colleges and universities to better serve people with disabilities.

The RISE Act is endorsed by the following organizations:

  • The National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • AIM Institute for Learning and Research
  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Decoding Dyslexia Network
  • Eye to Eye
  • Higher Education Consortium for Special Education
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  • National Down Syndrome Congress
  • Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children
  • The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates.