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Accommodation Information

A Clarification of Responsibility

Section 504, Subpart E of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that no (otherwise) qualified person with a disability shall be denied a benefit or opportunity or be excluded from participation solely on the basis of that disability. An individual with a disability is qualified if, with or without reasonable accommodation, they meet the same eligibility requirements and standards of behavior and performance demanded of anyone else. When exploring compliance under the law, it is not uncommon for a discussion of accommodation to focus on the issue of documentation of disability — “if they have proof of disability, then we will provide accommodation.” In fact, the documentation of disability and of the need for accommodation is only the first step in the process of receiving accommodation. The question of whether an accommodation is necessary for an institution of higher education (i.e., should be provided) may not hinge on whether or not the person has a disability, but rather on whether or not the accommodation needed is reasonable.

In some instances, an individual with a disability may need no accommodation to fully meet the eligibility criteria and standards required for inclusion. In some instances, the individual with a disability may meet the criteria and standards provided that a reasonable accommodation is provided or a modification is made. In some instances, an individual with a disability may be able to meet the eligibility criteria or standards only if an accommodation is made that goes beyond what is “reasonable.” In these instances, the person with a disability is not otherwise qualified and it is not discriminatory to exclude them from the benefit or opportunity.