Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.S.92-112), as amended (P.L.93-16) mandates equal opportunity for qualified persons with disabilities in education programs and activities for all recipients of federal financial assistance. Section 504 is a civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, obligates colleges and universities to make certain adjustments and accommodations, and offers to persons with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all education programs and activities.


Academic Requirements For Students With Disabilities


Modifications and reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities may include the following:


  • Changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirement

  • Substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements

  • Adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted.


Thus, for example, a person with a learning disability may be granted more time to fulfill degree requirements than is normally granted by a department.


It is important to remember that modifications and reasonable accommodations should not be based on generalizations regarding categories of disability, but should be made on an individual case-by-case basis. If a disabled person cannot fulfill a program-related essential requirement, then the person is not “otherwise qualified” within the definition of this term.


Students seeking accommodations should write a letter to the Department Chair asking for a specific accommodation. Documentation from a health practitioner needs to accompany the letter of request. The Academic Dean will make the decision, along with the program Chair regarding what is an essential academic requirement and if the modification requested is a reasonable one. It is important to note that these laws and regulations are not intended to dilute the quality of education offered, and contain no requirements that essential program requirements be modified or waived.


A Request for Accommodation FORM can be found HERE