Eligibility for Services

A person is eligible for accommodations if he/she:

  • is considered a person with a disability
  • has identified himself or herself to the College
  • has presented appropriate documentation regarding the disability to the College and needs accommodations

The Rehabilitation Act

Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is generally regarded as the first civil rights legislation for people with disabilities on the national level. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a program access statute. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity offered by an entity or institution receiving federal funds. Section 504 states (as amended): "No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States ... shall, solely on the basis of disability, be denied access to, or the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity provided by any institution receiving federal financial assistance."

Under Section 504, institutions were required to appoint and maintain at least one person to coordinate the efforts to comply with the requirements of Section 504 (Section 504 Coordinator). This individual or office has the ongoing responsibility of assuring that the institution/agency or organization practices non-discrimination on the basis of disability and should be included in any grievance procedures developed to address possible instances of discrimination brought against the institution.

The 1990 American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA is a federal civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. There are four sections in the law: employment, government, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The ADA adds more protection for disabled persons to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The ADA is designed to remove barriers that prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities.

Definition of Disability under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

The ADA uses the terms impairment, major life activity, and substantial limitation in its definition of disability. Before you can apply the ADA definition to individuals, it is vital you understand what these phrases mean within the context of disability.

A major life activity is any function, including but not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Other examples may include sitting, standing, lifting, and reading.

A substantial limitation is defined as a person's inability to perform or be significantly limited in the ability to perform a major life activity compared to an average person in the general population. Three factors to consider in determining whether a person's impairment substantially limits a major life activity are:

  • Nature and severity of the impairment
  • Duration or expected duration of the impairment
  • Permanent, long term, or expected impact from the impairment

Types of Impairments

A physical impairment is a physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the body systems.

A mental impairment is any mental or psychological disorder such as:

  • Mental retardation
  • Organic brain syndrome
  • Emotional or mental illness
  • Specific learning disabilities