Equity in higher education is of primary importance to the state of Colorado. Equity takes many forms and includes students with disabilities. Every public and private institution of higher education has an on office which focuses on supports, services and accommodations for students with disabilities. If you are a student with a disability seeking to attend a college or university in Colorado, we encourage you to contact your institution for specific information regarding the services they provide.
Improving Outcomes for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education:
In 2022, Colorado passed House Bill 1255: Concerning Measures to Improve Postsecondary Education Outcomes for Students with a Disability. The bill includes two main directives for the Colorado Department of Higher Education:
1) To collect data from Colorado institutions of higher education on the number of students with disabilities as to analyze access and outcomes; and
2) To appoint an Advisory Committee charged with making recommendations to the Colorado General Assembly and Institutions of Higher Education focused on improving outcomes for students with disabilities.
The Advisory Committee will include their recommendations in the form of two reports due in June 2023 and June 2024. Both of those reports will be posted on this site when available.
Federal policies and guidance can be found on ADA One:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act apply to almost all colleges, universities, and trade schools. The laws mandate an equal opportunity for students with disabilities – they’re entitled to benefit from all the services of those institutions and to use campus facilities.
Scholarship Resource for Students with Disabilities:
The below initiatives are specific to Colorado:
Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education
In 2016, Senate Bill 16-196 created a pilot program to establish inclusive higher education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Arapahoe Community College. Visit the above link for more information.
2021 Colorado Inclusive Higher Education Annual Report
Colorado Office of Employment First
The Colorado Office of Employment First was born from the 2016 Senate Bill 16-077 “Employment First Advisory Partnership” (a partnership of multiple state agencies including the Department of Higher Education). Employment First is a philosophy that individuals with significant disabilities have the right to engage in employment at or above minimum wage in an integrated environment, which allows for meaningful interaction with co-workers without disabilities. The Office of Employment First is the lead organization in Colorado to provide training, technical assistance, communication, coordination and evaluation/monitoring on Employment First initiatives in Colorado.
Guide for Low-Cost Internet, Mobile Plans, and Digital Literacy
This guide explains how people with disabilities can receive low-cost internet and cellphone service. It also includes how to get free or low-cost devices and enroll in programs that foster digital literacy. The guide serves as a blueprint to ensure people with disabilities can:
- Find low-cost internet service providers and phone carriers
- Receive certain discounts
- Boost their digital literacy
- Use current technology regardless of their income and employment status