Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is Section 504?
A. Section 504 is a law that makes it illegal for programs that receive federal funds to discriminate against people with disabilities. Most colleges and universities receive federal money; therefore they are covered by this law. Section 504 requires schools to make their classes, programs, and activities accessible to students with disabilities.
Q. What does “disability” mean under Section 504?
A. Under Section 504, a disability is any physical or mental condition that seriously limits a “major life activity.” Major life activities include taking care of one self, working with your hands, walking, seeing, and hearing. They also include speaking, breathing, and learning.
Q. Who decides what academic accommodations are appropriate for a student and how is that decision made?
A. As a team, all of the Disability Counselors review a student’s disability documentation. Official documentation may include a comprehensive psychological, vocational rehabilitation evaluation and/or medical documentation. The documentation should include information used in rendering a diagnosis, to determine if a condition meets the standard established by the ADA of substantial impairment of a major life activity. It must also demonstrate the functional impact of this condition on the student in an academic setting. Reasonable accommodations are approved to address the impact of the condition, taking into consideration the student’s request, past history of accommodations and the nature of the course or degree program.
Q. I suspect that a student in my class may have a disability. I have not received accommodation forms from Disability Counseling. How do I make a referral for this student?
A. Disclosing a disability can be difficult for some students. The instructor can meet with the student and discuss the academic difficulties they have noticed and suggest various on campus resources including Disability Counseling that may assist them. A statement should also be placed on the syllabus indicating that if a student has a disability they should contact Disability Counseling. For further assistance with the referral, instructors can contact the Disability Counselor at their campus.
Q. I have a student in my class who claims to have a disability and has requested accommodations. I have not received any official paperwork documenting the need to accommodate from Disability Counseling. Do I need to accommodate?
A. Without official documentation from Disability Counseling, you are not require to accommodate the student. Ask the student if they are registered with Disability Services. If they are not, refer them to the Disability Counselor on your campus for the procedure to get registered. Even if the student claims to already be registered, they must present you with their accommodation letter.
Q. Should faculty evaluate students with disabilities any differently than they do the rest of the class?
A. All students, including those with disabilities, should be evaluated at the same level. The requested accommodations are not in place to give students an extra advantage. Accommodations are designed to level the playing field and compensate for any deficits to the academic setting that a student with a disability may experience.
Q. I am having academic difficulties and I am not sure if I have a disability. How am I assessed?
A. If a student thinks they have a disability and has not been evaluated, they must seek and pay for an evaluation. The College is not responsible for evaluating students or paying for the evaluation. Disability Counseling has a list of local professionals who administer disability evaluations. The College does not recommend any one particular psychologist.
Q. I have a disability, how do I request services?
A. Students must self-identify and provide the appropriate documentation to Disability Counseling to be eligible for services. The student’s documentation will be reviewed prior to receiving services. Official documentation includes a comprehensive psychological, vocational rehabilitation evaluation, school or medical documentation. The type of documentation required will vary according to the student’s disability.
Q. Will disclosing my disability become part of my permanent records/transcript?
A. All documentation submitted to Disability Counseling is kept confidentially and are separate from a student’s academic record.
Q. What are some of the academic accommodations that a student with a disability can receive?
A. Academic accommodations that students can receive are based upon their disability and the impact it has on them in an educational setting. Some of the most common academic accommodations are extended time for testing, low distraction setting for testing, note taking, sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices and adaptive computer equipment.
Q. Are there any scholarships for students with disabilities?
A. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal program that assists students in college. However, to find out if you are eligible for funding through Vocational Rehabilitation, contact your local VR office. For other funding opportunities go to http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/disabled.phtml