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