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Eligibility: Who Qualifies

How does the Americans with Disabilities Act effect Higher Education?

The Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADAAA) 2008 provides comprehensive Civil Rights protection and is designed to remove barriers which prevent persons with disabilities from accessing the same educational and employment opportunities as persons without disabilities. The law also provides access to public accommodations, state and local government services, transportation, and telecommunications. The Americans with Disabilities Act also prohibits discrimination against a qualified individual with a disability with regard to admission to educational institutions or vocational training programs (public or private); employee compensation; job training; and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.


Definition of a Disability

The Definition of Disability is provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008, Section 4. Please see details here.

Note: Individuals who are current illegal users of drugs are not protected under the ADA. The legal use of a controlled substance under medical perspective is permitted. Addiction is considered a disability. A person who is addicted to drugs, but is not actively using drugs, is considered a person with a disability and is protected by the law. Alcohol is not considered a controlled substance.


No Requirement for Citizenship

The Americans with Disabilities Act covers all persons with disabilities in the United States, whether or not they are citizens and without regard to racial or ethnic origin.


Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodation is the provision of an auxiliary aid, or modification to the course or program which will allow access to the job duties, the educational process, program and degree, or activity. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires an institution of higher education to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified individual with a disability provided that accommodation does not create an undue hardship. Some examples of reasonable accommodation are making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; flexible timeline for program completion; acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment or modification of examinations or policies; provision of qualified readers, note takers, and/or sign language interpreters; provision of alternative print formats.