Mark DeSaulnier

From the office of:

Mark DeSaulnier

Sending Office: Honorable Mark DeSaulnier
Sent By:


Request for Cosponsor(s)

Co-sponsor the Improving Access to Higher Education Act

Aim Higher
Legislative Campaign


Endorsing Organizations: Teacher Education Division of CEC, Association of University Centers on Disability, American Foundation for the Blind, Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, National Council for Learning Disabilities, National Down Syndrome


Dear Colleague:


Please join me as an original co-sponsor of the Improving Access to Higher Education Act – the first-ever comprehensive legislation specifically addressing the needs of students with disabilities in higher education. This bill would amend the Higher Education
Act (HEA) to promote college access and completion for students with disabilities.  Regardless of disability, the more you learn, the more you earn, and all students need some form of credential to find a job and succeed in our knowledge-based economy. Since
the early 1990s and the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), federal law has been clear – individuals with disabilities must have equitable opportunities to fully participate in society, live independently, and gain economic self-sufficiency.
Despite some progress, higher education policy is still not cutting it.


Forty years of positive shift in K-12 policy and practice, spurred by implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), has improved access to the general curriculum, classroom inclusion, and academic achievement of students with
disabilities. Yet, higher education policy has not kept pace with K-12 system improvements, resulting in a lack of higher education options for students with disabilities upon high school graduation. While the 2008 reauthorization of HEA made small steps toward
meeting the needs of some students with disabilities, too many students with disabilities continue to face barriers to credential completion. In 2005, just

46 percent
of students with disabilities who graduated from high school enrolled in postsecondary education, with only 40 percent of those students going on to finish a degree or receive a work certificate within eight years. For students with disabilities
who enroll in a four year institution, odds of completing a degree fall to just 34 percent.


This is why I am introducing the Improving Access to Higher Education Act, the latest legislation introduced as part of the House Democratic Caucus’

Aim Higher
legislative campaign. Thanks to higher expectations for educational achievement, decades of improvements in service delivery, and a national focus on inclusion, more students with diverse abilities are graduating from high school than ever before.
Federal policy must be modernized to better support students with disabilities in enrolling and successfully completing their credential, and the Improving Access to Higher Education Act would do just that.


To become an original co-sponsor of this bill, please e-mail Nathan Auck ( If you have any questions,
please contact Nathan or Kimberly Knackstedt ( with the Committee on Education and the Workforce Democratic staff.




Mark DeSaulnier

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Education, Family Issues, Labor
Related Bill Information
Bill Type: H.R.
Bill Type:
Special Note:
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