The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 brings the issue of disability access to the forefront at institutions of higher education. The requirements of the ADA are very similar to those outlined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, but the ADA is more comprehensive and it applies to both public and private institutions regardless of whether or not the institutions receive federal financial assistance.
The University of Akron is obligated to make reasonable accommodations in programs and activities to provide equal access to qualified persons with disabilities. A qualified person with a disability is a person who can satisfy "the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient's education program or activity." Traditionally, many people with disabilities have been denied educational and social opportunities due to architectural and attitudinal barriers. The University of Akron is committed to removing these barriers and assuring equal access to all students as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Many campuses have begun to develop policies and practices to improve educational opportunity for people with disabilities. While removing architectural barriers is of great importance, such changes improve program access only for people with limited mobility. The ADA requires programs to move beyond these obvious improvements and to address the needs of all people with disabilities, including those that are highly individualized.