The rights of qualified students with disabilities are protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), both of which are laws aimed at ending discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 dictates the behavior of higher education institutions receiving federal funding towards individuals with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that ”No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of his or her 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.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, and reinforces non-discrimination towards qualified individuals with Disabilities. Colleges and universities have experienced more rigid enforcement of the law with the passage of the ADA partially due to an increased awareness of people with disabilities about their rights to equal access to programs and services.