Office of Academic Development
Disability Support Services
Arcadia University complies with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Ammendments Act of 2008.
According to the ADA Ammendments Act of 2008, a person with a disability is someone with a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Some examples of a major life activity include seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, learning, reading, concentrating, and interacting with others.
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, “No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States...shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...”
The regulation issued under this statute guarantees entrance of qualified students with disabilities into colleges and universities. To be qualified means that the student meets the academic and technical requirements for admission. Under Section 504, institutions of higher education are obligated to adhere to the following conditions:
- During the pre-admission phase, the University cannot inquire on disability status, place a limit on the number of qualified students with disabilities who can be admitted, or exclude a student from a course of study solely based on disability status.
- Reasonable accommodations and modifications in degree or academic course requirements must be made when such requirements discriminate against qualified students with disabilities. Accommodations and modifications are made on a case by case basis. Some of the most common accommodations include: testing accommodations, use of auxiliary aids or devices in the classroom, and waiver of certain course rules (such as use of recording devices)
- Students with disabilities who feel discriminated against have the right to process complaints through the University civil rights channels or to initiate legal proceedings on an individual basis.
Academic requirements that the University can demonstrate are essential to the program of instruction being pursued by students or to any directly related licensing requirement will not be regarded as discriminatory. (104.44 of Section 504). “…(R)equests of students need not be provided when: (1) the student is not qualified; (2) the accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration of the program; (3) the institution is being asked to address a personal need; or (4) the accommodation would impose an undue financial or administrative burden” (Heyward, 1995).
Procedure for Requesting Special Services
It is the student’s responsibility to initiate academic accommodations and services and to provide appropriate documentation in order to qualify for academic accommodations. To receive classroom accommodations or any other special services or consideration due to a disability, all students must initially identify themselves with the Office of Academic Development, Disability Support Services. Students should refer to the Disability Support Services webpages for more information regarding registration with the office.
For each subsequent semester that they are enrolled at Arcadia University, students must go to the Office of Academic Development, Disability Support Services, who will prepare the letters of accommodation for their classes. Ideally this should occur after a student registers for classes, but should occur at least three weeks before classes begin in order to put the necessary accommodations in place before the start of the semester. Students do not need to provide new documentation for every semester, unless they require accommodations that are not supported by their documentation on file.
Please refer to the "Guide for Students with Disabilities" located on the Disability Support Services webpages for more detailed explanation of accommodations, services, and policies.
The Office of Academic Development, Disability Support Services, will hold all information concerning a student’s diagnosed disability in confidence unless the student requiring special services requests that information be shared with certain faculty or other University personnel. For situations in which the student is requesting special services, communication with faculty and other appropriate University personnel may be necessary.
In the event that a student is having difficulty or is not receiving agreed upon accommodations, the student should contact the Director of Academic Development to resolve the matter. Any student wishing to file a grievance because of perceived discrimination, based on their disability, may do so based on the procedure outline in this handbook.