Question 5: What happens to the IEP process when the student reaches the age of majority?

When a student reaches the age of majority (age 18 in most states), the state may provide that all rights accorded to the parents under Part B of the IDEA will transfer to the student, with the exception of the right to notice which is both retained by the parents and transfers to the student. Beginning at least one year before the student reaches the age of majority, the IEP must include a statement that the student has been informed of those rights under the IDEA, if any, that will transfer to the student on reaching the age of majority. The school district must notify the student and the parent of the transfer of rights one year prior to the age of majority.

These requirements do not apply to students who have been determined to be legally incompetent under state law. If the state has a legal means to determine if a child who has not been legally determined to be incompetent is not able to provide informed consent, that state may establish procedures for appointing a parent or other person to represent the educational interests of the student. The regulations clarify this to apply only if the state has additional laws and procedures that allow for a lesser determination of competency for specific purposes. Like the guardianship procedure, however, these "lesser determinations of competency" are legal processes leading to some legal judgment about the individual's capacity to provide informed consent.