Instructional and Student Responsibility
Disability Services are made available to postsecondary students through a different process from secondary education. For secondary education, it is the responsibility of the schools to provide "free and appropriate education" in the least restrictive environment for each child regardless of the handicapping condition and to initiate proceedings where evaluation shows the student need. This responsibility is mandated in the P.L 94-142, the Education of the Handicapped Act and Amendments of the 1975. On the postsecondary level, the responsibility lies with the student to request support services.
When the student presents documentation identifying their needs, and ideally the recommended accommodation, it is then the responsibility of the college to provide what is needed. This is based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-112), together with the implementing Regulations of 1977, which prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of handicap. The regulations apply to postsecondary education, training, and employment programs that receive federal funds in the form of student aid, research grants and other programs, and must not discriminate against students with a hearing or any other disability.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 has further strengthened the provision of support services to students with disabilities and the responsibility postsecondary institutions have in meeting the needs of students with disabilities who apply for admission and accommodation. In general, the ruling of the ADA specifies that students with disabilities are to receive same or equal services as their peers. Exactly how accommodations are provided vary widely with the individual’s specific needs and with available resources.