U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro (NY-19) this week announced the introduction of the Respond, Innovate, Support, and Empower (RISE) Act, a bipartisan bill that eliminates barriers and expenses for students with disabilities seeking to access support services in college.
According to a media release from Molinaro’s office, the introduction of the bill comes as new data from the Department of Education found “an overwhelming majority” of students with disabilities do not receive vital special education services from their colleges.
Students with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities are currently required to obtain “expensive and redundant evaluations” before colleges will grant access to special education services, the release said. The RISE Act allows college students to use a variety of existing documentation, including a 504 Plan and Individualized Educational Plan, as proof of a disability when seeking accommodations on campus.
The bill also requires colleges to inform students, families, and faculty about available accommodations for students with disabilities and authorizes $10 million in funding for the National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities. The center provides information to students and families about their rights in higher education and how to access accommodations.
“The bipartisan RISE Act eliminates hurdles and expenses that students with disabilities face when seeking reasonable accommodations in college,” Molinaro said in the release. “Every student, regardless of ability, should have the tools and support they need to succeed.”
Molinaro introduced the bipartisan bill alongside U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oregon; Dr. Larry Bucshon, R-Indiana; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington; Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut; and Kim Schrier, D-Washington, according to the release.