Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Congress passed Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1973. It is a civil rights statute designed to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It states that:
No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Section 504 requires colleges and universities to provide "reasonable accommodations" to students with disabilities in order for students to have an equal opportunity to participate in the institution's programs, activities and services. See Accommodations for examples of reasonable accommodations.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in July 1990. This mandate reinforces the concept of reasonable accommodations in education and greater access to employment, transportation, and public accommodations.