Making the transition from high school to college can be challenging, but even more so for those with a disability. While secondary schools are required to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE) under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, colleges are only required to provide appropriate academic adjustments to ensure they do not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These accommodations may include priority registration, note takers, course substitutions, extended test time, TTY in dorm rooms, and adaptive software/hardware for school computers.
Although a student is not required to disclose his/her disability to a college when applying, if he/she wishes to receive reasonable accommodations on campus, notification should be given as soon as possible to allow time to implement the required accommodations.
This also includes any requests made for modifications in housing needs. Under ADA, disabled students should expect comparable, convenient and accessible housing on campus at the same cost as non-disabled students. Additional requests, such as using a service animal on campus, are also protected under the act. Students also have additional rights under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which provides the right to have therapy animals in campus housing, as long as the student can show a relationship “between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides.”
All colleges are required to do their best to accommodate any accepted disabled student, but the following campuses have reputations for being particularly pro-active in providing environments that give disabled students not only great educations, but opportunities to thrive on campus as well.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Recognized for being the first to develop a wheelchair-accessible bus system and competitive wheelchair sports program, it also provides an array of assistive technology and personal attendant services to students.
Wright State University: A system of underground tunnels connects to nearly every building on campus to ensure disabled students are not subjected to inclement weather while traveling to classes. The Student Union also provides special lifts and trained attendants.
Edinboro University: Students have access to wheelchair maintenance and occupational therapy on campus as well as personal assistants in the dorms and dining areas. There are competitive sports opportunities, as well.
To find out more about these campuses, or to find the one perfect for your needs, be sure to use the college matching tools at WiseChoice.com. If you want to learn more about your disability rights, please visit the U.S. Department of Education website.
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