Action Alert: April 18, 2023


April 18, 2023 | by Amber Smock

The Removing Barriers to Higher Education Success Act (SB 99)

Witness slips needed

Access Living friends and allies,

Today at 4 pm Central, the Illinois House Higher Education Committee will consider Senate Bill 99 (also known as SB 99) which would remove barriers that college students with disabilities face in receiving accommodations. Basically, SB 99 would allow the students’ K-12 Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Plans to serve as disability documentation. Please file a witness slip in support of the bill!

How to Fill Out the Witness Slip:

Go to the link and fill out your name and contact info. For the “Representation” box you can write “Self” or the organization that you represent.  Be sure to click “Proponent” (this means you support the bill) and then “Record of Appearance Only.” That’s it! Witness slips show the legislators that there is general support for the bill. Please file your slip NO LATER than 4 pm Central Time.

What is the issue?

Despite having lifelong disabilities, many students are required by their colleges to obtain evaluations before entering college. This process can be very time consuming and costly. It is especially frustrating for students who have had their disabilities documented with their K-12 schools through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. 

What can be done?

The Removing Barriers to Higher Education Success Act (SB 99) can be a solution to this issue. SB 99 clarifies that prior documentation used in high school to receive special education or accommodations, such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan, would be sufficient to demonstrate that an individual has a disability to a public college or university.

What doesn’t the bill do?

This bill does nothing to change the types of accommodations that are offered at the college level. Those specifics will remain a conversation between the individual and the school.

How can you help?

SB 99 is modeled after a bill that recently became law in Arizona. Hopefully, Illinois can be the second state to remove the burdensome red tape for college students with disabilities and ensure that they have access to the accommodations they deserve. You can fill out a witness slip  or contact your State Representative here.