Colleges and universities are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2009. These laws influence disability related services in higher education and are civil rights statutes designed to prevent discrimination against students with disabilities.
These laws have four important implications for students with disabilities.
- The right to be in higher education if they are qualified for admission
- Once admitted, the right to access all programs
- The eligibility for accommodations relating to their disabilities
- The right to confidentiality of all disability-related information
Section 504(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states the following:
No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Section 504 is a civil rights law. Its purpose is to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination for reasons related to their disabilities. It specifically applies to any program or activity offered by an institution receiving federal funds.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAA) of 2009 is a:
broad affirmation of the administrative regulations of Section 504. In contrast to Section 504, its application is not limited to agencies receiving federal funding. Like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADAAA is a federal anti-discrimination statute, which seeks to provide equal access opportunities. The ADAAA does not guarantee equal results, establish quotas, or require preferences favoring individuals with disabilities over those without disabilities.
Title II of the ADAAA defines the term "qualified:"
In order to be an individual protected by Title II, the individual must be a "qualified" individual with a disability. To be qualified, the individual with a disability must meet the essential eligibility requirements for receipt of services or participation in a public entity's programs, activities, or services with or without (1) reasonable modifications to a public entity's rules, policies, or practices; (2) removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers; or (3) provision of auxiliary aids and services.