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Office of Accessibility

What to Expect as a College Student with a Disability: Differences in Legislation

 Comparison of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

 

IDEA

Section 504

ADA

To whom does the law apply?

Public schools (pre-school through high school). Applies to any program (including colleges) or activity that is receiving federal financial assistance. Extends Section 504 to apply to public or private employment, transportation, accommodations and telecommunications, regardless of whether federal funding is received.

What is the purpose of the law?

Requires public schools to provide free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment.  Ensures that persons with disabilities have, to the maximum extent possible, the opportunity to be fully integrated into mainstream American life. Ensures that all persons with disabilities have broader coverage than Section 504 in all aspects of discrimination law.

Who is covered under the law?

The IDEA identifies 15 specific disabilities. Only those who are educationally disabled, in that they require special education services, ages 3-21 years. All qualified persons with disabilities regardless of whether special education services are required in public, elementary, secondary or postsecondary settings. All qualified persons with disabilities and qualified non-disabled persons related to or associated with a person with a disability.

Who has responsibility to identify individuals with disability rights under this law?

The school district has responsibility to find children with disabilities between birth and age 21. Once found, the district has the additional responsibility to evaluate the child at no expense to the parent. The individual with a disability must self-identify and provide appropriate documentation. The individual must pay the cost of the evaluation. The individual with a disability must self-identify and provide appropriate documentation. The individual must pay the cost of the evaluation.

How is "disability" defined in the law?

The IDEA identifies 15 specific disabilities. Section 504 does not list specific disabilities but establishes the criteria of "any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, having a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having an impairment." The ADA uses the same criteria as Section 504. HIV and contagious and noncontagious diseases are included.

How are services provided to individuals with disabilities under this law?

Necessary special education and related services are defined by the student's multi-disciplinary team and written in a document called the IEP. Services, auxiliary aids and academic adjustments may be provided in the regular education setting. Services, auxiliary aids, and accommodations are provided for through the institution's ADA coordinator based on the documentation provided by the student.

Who enforces this law?

Due process procedures provided for within the IDEA that allows for fair hearing of complaints and an appeals process through Federal Courts. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services promulgates regulations governing the enforcement of the IDEA. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education. Primarily the U.S. Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Federal Communications Commission.

How are services funded under this law?

Some federal funds are available to cover the costs of compliance with IDEA regulations. School districts typically combine local, state and federal funds to cover the full cost of implementing IDEA regulations. No federal funding is available to the school or college implementing Civil Rights statute. No federal funding is available to the school or college implementing Civil Rights statute.

Adapted from http://www.umw.edu/disability/faq/documents/ComparisonofIDEA.pdf

 

 

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