Students who attend public colleges and universities are protected against disability discrimination by Title II under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many campuses are equipped with offices and services for college students with disabilities. The goal of these offices and services is to address accessibility, accommodation, and assistive technology for a diverse range of needs.
To begin receiving accommodations you must first register as a student with disabilities, this is done with the disabilities service office in your school. Disabilities offices have instructions for how to register for services on their website. Remember the name of the office does not necessarily need to have the word “disability” in its name, you can also look for words such as access, equity, or accommodations. You also need to provide evidence of a disability to get accommodations but remember that disclosing your disability to your school is completely optional.
Examples of disabilities are, but are not limited to:
- Neurological conditions
- Sense organ impairments
- Musculoskeletal impairments
- Emotional or mental illness
- Respiratory conditions
- Digestive ailments
- Learning disabilities
- Organic brain syndrome
However, you will need to disclose this information if you wish to receive academic adjustments. All colleges receiving federal funding must ensure equal access to students with disabilities, meaning they have to provide “reasonable” accommodations.
Here are some typical academic adjustments institutions provide:
- Sound amplification aids
- Speech to text software
- Accessible testing locations
- Note-taking services
- Priority class registration
- Sign language interpretation
- Course substitutions
In college, there are programs that provide additional assistance if you or anyone you may know is a current or former foster youth. Programs such as NextUP and Guardian Scholars can offer personalized support throughout your college journey. Being in a community of students and dedicated staff can ensure you get the help that you need. Here’s a breakdown of the programs and how to apply:
What is CAFYES?
- CAFYES(Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support) is now known as NextUP. NextUp is a program offered to community college students to provide support services. These services include resources for financial support, transportation, textbooks, supplies, food, and emergency housing.
Who is eligible to apply?
- Former or current foster youth students that attend a California community college may apply if:
- You are a California resident
- You were established or continued as a dependent in court on or after your 16th birthday
- Proof of written verification of foster status(i.e. Court dependency letter)
- Under the age of 26 years old
Where should I apply?
- Students who are interested in applying for this program should visit their local EOPS office for more details.
Guardian Scholars Program
What is the Guardian Scholars Program?
- Guardian Scholars is another program that also caters to foster youth but on a larger scale. This program is available to students who attend community college, a CSU, UC campus or a private university. Services include individualized counseling, housing assistance, financial resources, and community-building workshops/events! The name of this program may vary by campus, but please contact your student services department to point you in the right direction.
Who is eligible to apply?
- Identify as a current or former foster youth that has been in the foster care system or has a status as an Independent, homeless or emancipated
- Able to provide a status verification letter
- Under the age of 26 years old
- Maintain a good academic standing
Where should I apply?
If you are interested in applying, you can visit your campus website and type “Guardian Scholars” in the search bar, or you can contact your Student Affairs department for more details.
NextUP and Guardian Scholars have helped thousands of students across California on their pathway through higher education. Although each campus offers its own particular services, their ultimate goal is to support the personal and academic goals of current or former foster youth students. Find out more information through the links below!
For community college students, click here
For CSU students, click here
For UC students, click here
For private universities, visit the campus website for their eligibility and selection process.
Here are a few examples of program benefits:
LMU Guardian Scholars
Trojan Guardian Scholars
Torero Renaissance Scholars
As a college student, you may feel completely fine one day. The next day, you may feel overwhelmed when it comes to calculating various college costs and fees. Fortunately, there are statewide programs that can help students like yourself with course materials, textbooks, and much more. Student success programs such as EOP, EOPS, and TRIO were developed to streamline a supportive pathway with additional resources. Here’s a breakdown of the programs and the services they provide:
What is EOP?
The Educational Opportunity Program was created to assist students, in order for them to receive support services to ensure academic success. Support services include but are not limited to tutoring, financial assistance, personal counseling, academic advising, graduate school prep, and more.
Who is eligible for EOP?
Undergraduate students who are:
- A California resident
- A First-generation college student(Neither of your parents has received a bachelor’s degree)
- Academically disadvantaged and/or come from a low-income background
- Enrolled full-time(Part-time students need to request approval)
Why is EOP important?
- EOP provides grants to students who participate
- Access to extensive workshops for academic and personal success
- Networking opportunities for community events
What is EOPS?
Extended Opportunity Programs and Services is a support program that is offered to community college students to encourage college completion. EOPS offers similar benefits to EOP, such as tutoring, individualized counseling, and financial support.
Who is eligible for EOPS?
Community college students who are:
- A California resident
- Eligible for California College Promise Grant Fee Waiver
- Enrolled full-time (12 units of more)
- Have completed less than 70 degree-applicable units
- Academically disadvantaged
- Pursuing an Associate’s degree
Why is EOPS important?
- EOPS provides financial assistance for textbooks, reduced student bus pass/parking permits and meal vouchers
- Participants receive priority registration for classes
- Opportunities for professional development and networking
What is TRIO?
TRIO is also a statewide program that aims to directly support students throughout college. This program was created to promote social, academic, personal and professional development.
Who is eligible for TRIO?
An undergraduate student that is:
- A US Citizen, Permanent Resident, or a U.S National
- A first-generation college student
- Able to provide proof of physical or learning disability
Why is TRIO important?
- TRIO can offer graduate school advising and exam prep, career counseling, and professional development skills
- Students are able to receive priority registration
- Students also have the opportunity to receive a peer mentor for navigating student life on campus
These programs collectively provide various ways for students to be successful throughout college. To apply for the TRIO program in any college system, you can contact the student services department at your campus for program eligibility, forms, and deadlines. If you or a colleague is interested in applying for EOP, click the following links below.
To apply for a EOPS at a community college, click here
To apply for CSU EOP, click here
To apply for UC EOP, click here
While California has established statewide programs so undocumented students can safely apply for financial aid, such as California Dream Act, there is a lack of coordination and consistency in how these and other resources are made available to students. The resources vary widely across campuses, and can even be different within the same segment of higher education. This can often confuse or misinform students about critical information. Colleges and universities need to ensure they provide consistent and adequate information and support services for undocumented students that are readily available on their campuses.
The interactive map below serves as a guide to find information about campus centers for undocumented students, support programs, website address with relevant information, and contact information of undocumented allies/liaisons. This information is critical to improve access and success for undocumented students in higher education.
California Undocumented Student Resources Map
Source: Campaign for College Opportunity and CA Undocumented HIgher-Ed Coalition
As students and educators go online, the digital divide between low income, BIPOC students, and other students has never become more apparent. According to a 2019 report by the Public Policy Institute of California, only ¨between 54% and 67% of low-income, rural, African American, and Latino households had broadband subscriptions in 2017, compared to 74% for all households¨. This means there are students without any internet connection to access their school work. In addition, in many of these cases, there is also no home computer, and if there is, it is being shared by multiple people.
California, however, has stepped in to make online learning accessible to everyone. About 56,700 laptops and 94,000 hotspots have been sent to districts across the state so far and the California Department of Education announced that it will be granting $5 million to local districts to purchase 20,000 more devices or hotspots. This will be a huge beneficiary to Black and Latinx students specifically in rural areas who typically lack this access even before the virus.
If you or someone you know needs internet access or an electronic device as we go digital, below are some resources you can access. In this list, you can find different internet providers that have lowered their cost for students, along with where you can find low-cost computers. In addition to these resources, feel free to contact your college to see if they have a loaner program for students regarding laptops or other electronic devices. You deserve all the tools to have a successful semester!
Human-I-T believes that through social entrepreneurship, opportunities are created for our world to become more inclusive, sustainable, and bold. We inspire and empower people through technology and information to achieve their full potential. This isn’t just our mission. It’s our purpose.
Low-Cost Internet, Affordable Computers, Free Digital Training – Download flier here
Other reduced-cost or free internet access:
Information on low-cost computers:
Northern California: in English and Spanish
Southern California: in English and Spanish