Some of the same laws that guarantee support for K-12 students with disabilities have effect for students in their post-secondary education. Both the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (amended in 2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protect students with disabilities from discrimination in colleges and universities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to both public and private colleges and universities, although the requirements are somewhat different for each. Title II of the ADA prohibits all state and local government entities from discriminating against people with disabilities. Title III of the ADA prohibits private colleges and universities from discriminating against people with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits any program that receives federal financial assistance from discriminating against students because of their disabilities. Private colleges and universities controlled by religious groups are not covered by the ADA but they are covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act so long as they receive federal financial aid for their education. Thus, in practice, almost all colleges and universities are covered by some federal law ensuring fair treatment of students with disabilities.
Under federal law, colleges and universities may not deny a qualified individual with a disability admission because of his or her disability; exclude a qualified student with a disability from any course, course of study or other educational program or activity because of his or her disability; or counsel a qualified student with a disability toward more restrictive career objectives than other students.
Under the ADA colleges and universities (but not those controlled by religious entities), must provide students with disabilities reasonable modifications for their disabilities. Institutions must provide reasonable modifications in their practices, policies and procedures, and to provide auxiliary aids and services for persons with disabilities, unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods or services they offer or would result in an undue financial or administrative burden on the institution.
Most colleges or universities will have an office dealing specifically with students with disabilities. We are experienced in providing guidance and advice to students and schools regarding registering a disability, appropriate medical documentation, creating appropriate modifications, and ensuring that students receive the accommodations to which they are entitled.
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