McMorris Rodgers, Bonamici Lead Bipartisan Bill to Help Students with Disabilities Access College Support Services

Washington, D.C – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) reintroduced the bipartisan Respond, Innovate, Support, and Empower (RISE) Act to ease the transition from high school to college for students with disabilities by making it easier for them to access the support services they need.

“Everyone, no matter their ability, should have access to higher education and the opportunity for a better life,” said Rodgers. “But far too often, people with disabilities struggle to access the services and accommodations they need to succeed in college. The RISE Act will address the challenges these students face by ensuring information on disability services is readily available for parents and students and by removing barriers to accessing these accommodations.”

The RISE Act will allow college students to use existing documentation of a disability when seeking accommodations on campus, saving families hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Currently, students are required to obtain expensive new evaluations before being granted access to special education services.

“Students with disabilities face many barriers to earning a degree or credential after high school, even without the additional burden of unnecessary paperwork and fees,” said Bonamici. “Congress can help students with disabilities as they transition to higher education by making college support services more accessible—services for which these students already have a documented need. The RISE Act will reduce expensive and unnecessary requirements that students with disabilities face when entering college, increasing the likelihood that students with disabilities are able to complete higher education.”

The RISE Act would:

  • Include 504 plans and individualized education programs (IEPs) as qualified documentation;
  • Authorize an additional $10 million in funding for the National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities; and
  • Improve reporting on academic outcomes for students with disabilities.

Rodgers and Bonamici were joined in introducing the RISE Act in the House by Representatives Larry Bucshon (IN-08), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Kim Schrier (WA-08), and Marcus Molinaro (NY-19). Companion legislation was also introduced by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

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