SAS Info for Parents

Welcome to the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at Cerritos College! We understand that the transition from high school to college can be a significant change, especially for students with disabilities. Our mission is to support students with disabilities access their curricula, programs, and college activities in order to facilitate learning, development, and promote success. Since accessibility is the shared responsibility of the campus community, SAS collaborates with faculty and staff to identify and minimize barriers through the design of universal and inclusive learning environments. SAS is committed to providing students equitable opportunities to pursue their individual, educational, and career goals.


As your child steps into college, it's not just a big step for them but also for you. Let's embark on this exciting journey together, with you playing the role of a co-pilot, supporting and facilitating their success. Explore the tabs below to learn how you can stay involved, understand coursework, determine accommodations, and navigate FERPA.

Parental Role in Post-Secondary Education

Students can easily apply for services with SAS through its user-friendly Student Portal. The process is straightforward and ensures that your child receives the support they need.

  • Registration with SAS: Start by  submitting a “SAS New Student Application” through the SAS Student Portal. Early registration is crucial for a smooth accommodation process.
    • Gather Information: Provide relevant documentation of disability to the SAS office. This information helps us better understand a students need and what may be reasonable for Cerritos College programs. 
  • Meeting a SAS Specialist: Once registered, students are assigned to a dedicated SAS Specialist.
How does SAS notify them about their appointment?

Students will receive an e-mail communication to schedule a “New Student Intake” to discuss their specific needs and determine appropriate accommodations. You can help by reminding them to check their e-mail. 

Privacy Matters: FERPA Explained

When your child steps into the world of postsecondary education, FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) shifts their rights to them, granting them increased privacy control. But don't worry! In cases where your child is enrolled in both high school and college simultaneously, there's room for information exchange between the two schools.

For Our Under 18 Students: FERPA Rights at High School Level

If your student is under 18, you still maintain FERPA rights at the high school level. You can review and inspect any records sent by the postsecondary institution to the high school, ensuring you stay in the loop.

Navigating SAS Appointments Together

While we welcome your involvement in SAS appointments, it's essential to clarify the roles. Students are the key decision-makers regarding academic accommodations, course schedules, and educational goals. Parents and advocates can be supportive figures, offering encouragement without taking charge of the discussion.

What Involvement Looks Like at College Level: A Friendly Reminder

At the college level, it's a shift in dynamics. Your role is to stand by your child's side, offering support rather than steering the ship. During appointments, Specialists and students will communicate directly about disability impact, past accommodations, and available services within the context of college level course requirements. As a parent or advocate, your role is to be present, listen, and provide gentle prompts—encouraging your child to lead their path towards independence.

Hands-off Educational Decision-Making

When it comes to educational decisions, the student takes the lead. Accommodation choices, plans, and SAS services are their domain, ensuring they're in control of their academic journey.

Communication and Progress Updates

While we understand the desire for updates, SAS procedures prohibit direct communication with parents. Students are responsible for following up and monitoring their own progress. Your understanding and collaboration in respecting their autonomy contribute significantly to their academic success.

FERPA Release: A Gate to Records, Not Decisions

Remember, a FERPA release provides access to academic records but doesn't grant decision-making rights. We appreciate your understanding in fostering their independence and academic achievements. Thank you for being a crucial part of this exciting journey!

Students play an active role in determining their accommodations. This may be challenging, but it's a vital skill and a legal requirement (FERPA).

Here's how you can help:
  • Gather materials for their application or for their first student intake meeting with a SAS Specialist.
    • That can include gathering copies of their IEP, 504 Plan, or other medical documentation. 
  • Create a list of questions for them to ask during their appointment with a SAS Specialist.
    • A good one is: will my accommodations look different in college?
    • What about career questions? They can schedule a time to meet with a SAS Career Counselor. 
    • Do they know if they would like to transfer, complete a certificate, or an AA? Have them schedule a meeting with a SAS Counselor. 
  • Encourage independence and self-determination. That means, you might need to create a reminder for yourself to take a deep breath and let them lead the way. 

Understanding the boundaries and how communication works with SAS is essential for everyone involved.

Here's what you need to know:

Unmodified Curriculum: Course content remains consistent for all students, adhering toTitle 5 of the California Education Code.

Negotiating Accommodations: Parents cannot negotiate accommodations, require updates, or communicate directly with SAS or instructors on behalf of the student.

Parental Involvement: With written consent by the student, parents can be involved in the conversation but cannot make decisions on behalf of the student.

SAS Support: SAS supports parental involvement but has no obligation to include parents if it hinders the ability to work directly with the student.

Embrace change by preparing yourself for the journey ahead. As a co-pilot, your involvement is crucial. 

Explore topics like communication with the school, engaging with teachers and counselors, and understanding your child's accommodations.
  1. Do I know my child's goals and aspirations?
  2. Am I fostering their independence towards academic, personal, and professional success?
  3. Is my child enrolled in the right courses?
  4. Am I modeling behaviors that reinforce their success?
  5. Have we discussed accommodations and the differences in college?


The transition from K-12 to college involves a shift in roles for parents. While parents are crucial, FERPA grants students the autonomy to request and manage their accommodations. 

Here's what to expect:

FERPA Waiver: 

When it comes to accessing your child's information, things shift a bit in college. We follow FERPA rules, and for us to share details, a FERPA waiver is needed. While this waiver grants you access to some limited academic record information, it doesn't give you the green light to make decisions for the student. Also, SAS won't be able to provide information directly to you unless that waiver is in place. We totally get how crucial parents are, but keep in mind – appointments and requests need to come straight from your student.

Student Advocacy:

Encourage your student to advocate for themselves, communicate needs to SAS, and request services each semester. Support them by collecting necessary documents, such as an IEP or medical provider letter outlining accommodations.

Communication with SAS:

While you can't negotiate accommodations or request updates directly, encourage your student to take the lead in discussions and appointments with SAS. You're welcome to be present during meetings, but the student remains responsible for decisions.

Educational Decision-Making:

Students are in charge of decisions related to their education and SAS services. Your role is to support and encourage them in their decision-making process.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that this journey may feel different, and we're here to provide a friendly guide to help you navigate the transition from high school to college.

What is FERPA?

  • FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) protects student privacy. Only students, unless specified by law, can access their records.

Can I attend appointments with SAS on behalf of my child? 

  • While parents can be invited to meetings, students are responsible for making decisions and communicating with SAS. Parents cannot attend on behalf of the student. 

Can I request updates on my child's progress? 

  • SAS cannot provide progress updates to parents. Students must follow SAS procedures and monitor their own educational progress. 

How does FERPA work for minors attending college? 

  • If a student is attending a postsecondary institution – at any age – the rights under FERPA have transferred to the student. However, in a situation where a student is enrolled in both a high school and a postsecondary institution, the two schools may exchange information on that student. When the student is under 18, the parents still retain the rights under FERPA at the high school and may inspect and review any records sent by the postsecondary institution to the high school.  While a FERPA waiver grants you access to some limited academic record information, it doesn't give you the green light to make decisions for the student. SAS won't be able to provide information directly to you unless that waiver is in place. We totally get how crucial parents are, but keep in mind – appointments and requests need to come straight from your student.

What is "Directory Information" under FERPA? 

  •  "Directory Information" includes non-sensitive details like name and participation in activities. Schools may disclose this information without consent unless specified otherwise. 

Encourage Self-Advocacy:

  • Remind your child to speak directly with professors and SAS for their needs.
    Promote Independence:
  • Motivate your child to lead meetings with SAS Counselor and take charge of their academic journey.

Support and Listen:

  • Schedule time during the week to check-in and ask them about their college experience, what they are learning, their progress, and encourage them to do their best as they become more independent. 

How are K-12 and college different for students with disabilities? 

  • K-12 focuses on success, with IDEA and Section 504 ensuring Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE). In college, the focus is on providing access through ADA and Section 504, with accommodations aiming to ensure equal access. 

Who arranges services for students in K-12 vs. college? 

  • In K-12, teachers and parents coordinate services, while in college, students initiate and arrange accommodations themselves. 

Are individualized education plans (IEP) or 504 plans developed in college? 

  • No, higher education institutions do not develop comparable individual education plans. Instead, reasonable accommodations are provided based on documented eligibility. 

How do parents monitor student progress in college? 

  • In college, parents have limited contact with instructors, and written FERPA consent is required to access student information. Monitoring progress becomes the responsibility of the student. 

What is the role of personal aides in K-12 and college? 

  • In K-12, personal aide services are arranged by the school district, while in college, the institution is not responsible for personal aide services, such as 1:1 behavioral support in-class, assistance with changing, eating, or other services that are of a personal nature

How does the level of independence change from K-12 to college? 

  • In college, students are more independent in planning homework, managing their workload, and self-advocating for services. The schedule is more unstructured, with increased personal responsibility. 

What are the key differences in communication between parents and teachers in K-12 vs. college? 

  • In K-12, routine communication between parents and teachers is common. In college, parents have limited contact with instructors, and students must advocate for themselves. 

How do students access services for disabilities in college? 

  • Students in college must initiate the request for services, providing documentation to verify eligibility, and arrange required accommodations through the disability office. 

Are course objectives modified for students with disabilities in college? 

  • No, in college, reasonable accommodations aim to provide equal access without modifying essential course objectives. Students are responsible for meeting the standards of the course. 

What support services are available for students with disabilities in K-12 and college? 

  • In K-12, school-based services address demonstrated needs, including special education classes, co-teaching, and personal aides. In college, accommodations such as alternative testing arrangements and assistive technology are provided based on eligibility. 

How does the college daily schedule differ from high school? 

  • College schedules vary, with no bells or fixed structure. Students must self-monitor and plan their time efficiently based on the self-selected schedule. Students can meet with one of our SAS Counselor to select courses, but students must manage their own schedules.  

What changes in course selection and expectations can my child expect? 

  • College offers diverse courses and formats. Students need to self-guide their course planning and expect instructors to focus more on independent learning than guided instructional approaches, differentiated instruction, and 1:1 teaching support.  

What resources are available for my child in college? 

  • College campuses offer expansive services. Students should identify and access support services for health, counseling, and more. 

How does college life differ in terms of responsibilities? 

  • College emphasizes student responsibility, including problem-solving, decision-making, and seeking assistance when needed.

What life skills should my child develop for college? 

  • College life may involve adjusting to a new city, living independently, budgeting, cooking, and managing day-to-day activities.

How can my child build a support network in college? 

  • College activities, organizations, clubs, and support groups provide opportunities to build new networks, replacing the high school support system.