504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504)
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), as amended,
prohibits discrimination based on disability in any program
or activity receiving federal funding, including education.
The U.S. Department of Education gives grants of financial
assistance to schools and colleges and to certain other entities,
including vocational rehabilitation programs. The U.S. Department
of Education's Section 504 regulation is enforced by the Office
of Civil Rights and is in the federal code of regulations
at 34 CFR Part 104.
Section 504 covers institutions regardless of whether they
have open door, selective or competitive admissions practices,
and applies to all postsecondary educational programs and
activities that receive federal financial assistance. In brief,
colleges and universities must be free from discrimination
in their recruitment, admissions, and treatment of students.
If the postsecondary school provides housing to students without
disabilities, then it must provide comparable, convenient,
accessible housing to students with disabilities at the same
cost. A person who qualifies under this law:
a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits
one or more major life activities*
a record of such an impairment
regarded as having an impairment
life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking,
breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing
the provisions of Section 504, a college or university may
Limit the number of students with disabilities admitted
pre-admission inquiries as to whether or not an applicant
has a disability
a student with a disability from any course of study solely
on the basis of his/her disability
students with disabilities towards a more restrictive
career than students without disabilities, unless such
counsel is based on strict professional licensing or certification
prohibitive rules (such as barring of tape recorders or
other auxiliary aids) that may adversely affect the performance
of students with disabilities
and universities are not required to supply students with
attendants, individually prescribed devices such as hearing
aids and wheelchairs, readers for personal use or study, or
other devices or services of a personal nature.
However, colleges and universities must provide students with
academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that
are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an
equal opportunity to participate in the school's program.
Examples of auxiliary aids that may be required are taped
texts, note takers, interpreters, readers, and specialized
computer equipment. In addition, course examinations should
measure the student's achievement, not the student's impairments.
(U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, 2001)
for more information:
with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education:
Know Your Rights and Repsonsibilities available at www.ed.gov/OCR
U. S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights
Know Your Rights WEB PAGE available at www.ed.gov/ocr/disabilities.
Contact the OCR office at 1-800-421-3481 or by FAX at 202-205-9862;
or TDD: 877-521-2172 or by email to OCR@ed.gov.
Section 504: Protection from Discrimination or Help for
College Students with Disabilities at Wrightslaw.com available
Excerpted from Virginia's College Guide for
Students with Disabilities (2003 Edition).