January 24, 2023

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Your Rights as a College Student

Being a student comes with many challenges, but if you have a disability, it can be more difficult to get similar opportunities as your fellow students or become integrated into the culture of the school you're going to. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to protect your rights as a disabled college student.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law that prevents the discrimination of individuals with disabilities in various areas of public life, including in universities and colleges. The ADA allows people with disabilities to enjoy the same transportation, telecommunications, employment, and educational opportunities as other individuals who are not disabled.

The ADA has also set requirements for businesses and other organizations to provide accessible facilities and communication systems (reasonable accommodations) for people with disabilities. The Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your disability at college, you can contact the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education or the state's human rights commission.

Who is Covered Under the ADA?

To be covered under the ADA, you must have a physical or mental impairment that limits you from performing one or more major life activities, including writing, reading, or walking. Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate that you are capable of performing these activities with reasonable accommodations.

The ADA also provides protection if you are perceived to have a disability, even if you do not have one. For example, you are covered under the ADA if you are closely associated with someone with a disability, such as a family member. 

How Does The ADA Help Disabled Individuals at College?

The ADA prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities in social club recruitment, admissions, housing, academic programs, and financial aid. The law also requires learning institutions to provide reasonable accommodations to learners with disabilities so they can effectively pursue their education.

The ADA applies to all colleges and universities that receive federal financial assistance. If you have a disability and are attending or planning to attend college, you should understand your rights under the ADA.

Some common accommodations that may be offered to students with disabilities under the Act include extended time for tests and assignments, assistance with coursework, and preferential seating in classrooms. Other accommodations include:

  • Ensuring that buildings and classrooms are accessible.
  • Providing services such as interpreters for deaf students.
  • Offering course materials in alternate formats for blind students.

The exact accommodation you receive is subject to your specific needs. If you feel your college is not accommodating you, you can speak with the school administration. If your college administration refuses to make changes to provide you with reasonable accommodations, you should seek the assistance of a New York ADA attorney.

Contact Our New York ADA Attorneys

If you or a loved one is a college student with a disability, you are entitled to certain protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The New York ADA attorneys at Mizrahi Kroub LLP can provide the legal support needed to protect your rights. Join the hundreds of clients that have trusted us with their cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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