with Disabilities Act (ADA)
ADA extended the law to cover private institutions of
higher education as well as those receiving federal funding.
Colleges and universities have experienced more rigid
of the law with the passage of the ADA due to an increased
awareness of people with disabilities about their rights
to equal access to programs and services.
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 contains more specific
information about compliance issues in post-secondary education
than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
504 of the Rehabilitation Act
of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that … "No
otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the
United States … shall, solely by reason of … disability,
be denied the benefits of, be excluded from the participation
in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program
or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
person with a disability includes … "any person who
(1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially
limits one or more major life activities [including walking,
seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working,
caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks], (2) has
a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having
such an impairment."
"qualified person with a disability" is defined as one …
"who meets the academic and technical standards requisite
to admission or participation in the education program or
covered by legislation include (but are not limited to)
AIDS, blindness, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy,
head injuries, hearing disabilities, specific learning disabilities,
loss of limb(s), multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy,
emotional disabilities, speech disabilities, spinal cord
injuries, and vision disabilities.
the provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
of 1973 … the College may not discriminate in the recruitment,
admission, educational process, or treatment of students.
Students who have self-identified, provided documentation
of disability, and requested reasonable accommodations are
entitled to receive approved modifications of programs,
appropriate academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids that
enable them to participate in and benefit from all educational
programs and activities.
college or university may not:
Limit the number of students with disabilities admitted
Make pre-admission inquiries as to whether or not an applicant
has a disability
Use admission tests or criteria that inadequately measure
the academic level of students with visual, hearing or
other disabilities because provisions were not made for
Exclude a student with a disability from any course of
study solely on the basis of his/her disability
Counsel students with disabilities towards a more restrictive
career than students without disabilities, unless such
counsel is based on strict licensing or certification
requirements in the profession
Measure student achievement using modes that adversely
discriminate against students with disabilities
Institute prohibitive rules that may adversely affect
the performance of students with disabilities
for Students Include:
such as readers for students with blindness, low vision
or learning disabilities, qualified interpreters and notetakers
for students who are deaf or hard or hearing, and notetakers
for students with learning disabilities or orthopedic disabilities
or substitutions of courses in major fields of study or
degree requirements on a case-by-case basis (such accommodation
need not be made if the institution can demonstrate that
the changes requested would substantially alter essential
elements of the course or program)
time to complete exams
individually proctored, read orally, dictated, or typed
formats and methods for students to demonstrate course mastery
software programs or other assistive technological devices
to assist in test taking
of such learning aids as tape players and word processors
college must provide the accommodation. Students are
not required to assume the responsibility for securing a
necessary accommodation. A college is required to provide
reasonable accommodations for a student’s known disability
so that the student has an equal opportunity to participate
in the courses, activities, or programs. The Office of Civil
Rights (OCR) ruled that a college may not charge students
for necessary accommodations.
of accommodation is not undue hardship. Providing an
auxiliary aid or incurring an expense to ensure access would
not constitute undue hardship to a college. In determining
what constitutes an undue hardship, the OCR views the entire
financial resources of a college or university rather than
any single department.
must be accessible. A classroom’s location must be changed
to provide accessibility for a student with a mobility disability.
A college does not need to make every classroom accessible,
but must provide for the participation of students with
disabilities when "viewed in its entirety."
time. Extended time is a reasonable accommodation for
a student whose documentation specifically requires it.
A college is required to ensure that the student is provided
additional time to complete tests and/or course work in
order to provide an equal opportunity for that student.
form of exam. The form of an exam must be altered if
the testing procedure puts a student with a disability at
a disadvantage based on the student’s documented disability.
There may be an exception when the purpose of the test is
to measure a particular skill.
must be documented. A college may refuse to grant a
student’s request for an accommodation that is not specifically
recommended in the student’s documentation.
in alternate format. If a student with a visual disability
is enrolled in a class, all handouts must be provided in
an appropriate alternate format and made available to students
on the same day they are distributed to students without
information confidential. Faculty/staff do not have
the right to access diagnostic information regarding a student’s
disability. Faculty/staff need only know the accommodations
that are necessary to provide an equal opportunity for the
liability. An individual faculty member who fails to
provide an accommodation to a student with a documented
disability may be held personally liable.
freedom. Academic freedom does not permit instructors
to decide if they will provide special aids and services
for students with documented disabilities in the classroom.
services and aids. A college is not required to provide
personal services such as attendant care or personal aids
such as wheelchairs or eyeglasses.
from: Thompson, Ann and Bethea, Leslie. (1996).
A Desk Reference Guide for Faculty Staff and College
Students with Disabilities. Mississippi State University
- Project PAACS.
programs/events at the College must be accessible. When
planning conferences, events, and activities, designate
someone to be responsible for handling requests for accommodations.
In registration brochures, invitations, or fliers, use the
following access statement:
disability-related accommodations, please contact [name,
department, address, phone number] at least 2 or more
weeks before the [event/workshop] [to allow sufficient
time to make necessary arrangements]."
such as course syllabi, college bulletins, program brochures,
class schedules, newsletters, and instructional publications
must be provided in alternative formats (Braille, large
print, tape, computer disk) upon request; Disability Support
Services, 240-567-5058, can provide assistance with document
conversion. In these publications please print the following
publication/material is available in alternative formats
upon request. Please contact (name, department, address,
phone number, email)."
call or visit the Disability Support Services office at
the Rockville Campus in CB122, 240-567-5058 Voice, 301-294-9672
TTY or email DSS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For services on the other campuses, contact the designated
DSS counselor at Takoma Park/Silver Spring on 240-567-1475
or at Germantown
on 240-567-7767 or 240-567-7770.
with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know
Your Rights and Responsibilities," is available
from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights,
(1-877-433-7827) or (1-800-872-5327) and online at http://www.ed.gov/ocr.