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Senators Hassan, Shaheen Join Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Tear Down Unnecessary Barriers for Students with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower (RISE) Act to help ease the transition from high school to college for students with disabilities. The legislation would amend the Higher Education Act (HEA) and 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 that 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.


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


“It makes no sense that students who experience disabilities, when transitioning to higher education, must again go through the process of obtaining documentation for their accommodations,” said Senator Hassan. “This bill would help cut red tape and empower students who experience disabilities to more easily access and transition to higher education. I am glad to work with my colleagues across the aisle on this commonsense bill, and I urge the Senate to pass it.”


“I’m glad to be part of this bipartisan legislation to break down barriers facing students with disabilities. Our legislation would make a commonsense fix to the Higher Education Act so students with documented disabilities can use the same documentation for when they transition to higher education without a need for redundant testing to reaffirm their disability. Students and their families are resilient in tackling challenges in the education system, and the last thing they should have to endure are unnecessary administrative road blocks,” said Senator Shaheen.


Senator Hassan is leading efforts to ensure that individuals who experience disabilities receive the support that they need to be fully included in their communities. Senator Hassan successfully secured nearly $3 billion in dedicated federal funding to support students with disabilities in the American Rescue Plan. Former President Trump also signed into law bipartisan legislation that Senator Hassan introduced to make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter, as well as Senator Hassan’s bipartisan legislation to expand access to government services and information by requiring that all new federal websites are mobile-friendly. Senator Hassan has also cosponsored legislation to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).