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Disability Services

Information for Students

If you are attending college classes while still enrolled in high school or if you are transferring from another post secondary institution, you will need to meet with a Disability Services coordinator to plan your transition, provide documentation, and obtain information on college services available at Minnesota West. As a college student you will be responsible for identifying your needs and requesting services while you are attending college.

Students Currently Enrolled in High School

If you are enrolled in high school and would like to attend a college or university there are several options for you.

The Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEO) is the name of a law that enables high school students who are at least sophomores to take college or university courses. Sometimes these courses are offered in the high school and sometimes students attend regular college or university courses. Credits can be applied toward high school graduation and can be applied to a college or university degree. The State of Minnesota pays the tuition and most fees. To be eligible to attend students must meet admissions requirements for PSEO students.

Some schools have special programs with other names such as "transitions" or "concurrent enrollment," but they are all set up by law to "promote rigorous academic pursuits and to provide a wider variety or options to high school pupils."Students may also enroll in courses on their own. In this case, students meet the regular admissions requirements, pay tuition and fees and register for courses at the college or university. In either case students with disabilities are responsible for seeking reasonable accommodations through the college's disability services office. If you have an individualized education plan (IEP) from your high school, be sure to contact the disability services coordinator as soon as possible.

Transfer Students

If you are transferring to another institution, contact the disability services office at your new institution for advice on how to register for services. You may be able to obtain copies of your documentation from your previous institution to provide to your new institution. Otherwise, you may be asked to sign release forms for transferring this information directly between the institutions. For specific procedures on transferring disability and accommodation information, contact your new institution's disability services office.

Student Responsibilities and Advocacy

Students with disabilities who want services are responsible for contacting Disability Services to request services. Prior planning is the key to insuring the proper delivery of services. On your first visit to Disability Services, your services coordinator will meet with you to discuss the services you may need and the procedures for setting-up those services. Your disability information is maintained separate from your academic record in compliance with federal and state data practices laws. You are responsible for providing Disability Services with current documentation as it relates to your disability and the services you are requesting.

Self-advocacy is critical to success in higher education. Colleges and universities are restricted from seeking out students with disabilities due to privacy laws. You are responsible for requesting the services you believe you need; the college generally does not provide accommodations unless or until you ask. The ability to advocate will benefit you in your life and career. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Know Yourself and Your Disability
    Before you can advocate for yourself, you need to know how to talk about your disability in a way that other people will understand.

  • Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
    Colleges and universities cannot close their doors to you solely because you have a disability. The college must provide services that will allow you an equal opportunity to access and participate in school activities. Please refer to Disability Services for information about the college's legal responsibilities.

  • Know Where to Go for Help
    A very important part of being successful in college is knowing when you need help and where to find it. Writing down the names and phone numbers of the people on campus who can help you, including staff at Disability Services, is a good idea.

  • Take Action
    Develop a plan for communicating your needs. While Disability Services can assist you, developing your own communication skills may be very helpful. Consider practicing before talking with your instructors. You might practice explaining to a counselor or a trusted friend the accommodations you believe you will need.