There are a few important pieces of federal legislation that impact disability accommodations on college campuses:
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973)
This civil rights act specifically addresses discrimination against persons with disabilities. The law is applicable to all institutions or businesses that receive any federal funding, including colleges and universities.
It provides for academic modifications, auxiliary aides, and accommodations for students with disabilities in post-secondary education.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - 1991
Based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, this landmark legislation further outlines non-discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, communications, and transportation. This act impacts campus facilities, communications (publications and website), and employment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amended (2008)
The amendment reestablishes the intended broad application of the original act to include all forms of disability and to provide protection from discrimination for this group.
All of the federal laws listed above protect students with disabilities from discrimination and ensure equal access. As a private institution, we are most closely bound by Section 504, although the definitions from the ADA Amended legislation apply to anyone covered by Section 504.
There are significant differences in services for students attending K-12 and postsecondary schools. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for the enforcement of the above laws in regard to students with disabilities in postsecondary settings.
- Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities—Publication from the Office of Civil Rights
- Making the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities—Publication from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)