Information for Students
- Q. How does the ADA affect postsecondary schools?
A. Title II of the ADA covers state funded schools such as universities, community colleges and vocational schools. Title III of the ADA covers private colleges and vocational schools. If a school receives federal dollars regardless of whether it is private or public it is also covered by the regulations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requiring schools to make their programs accessible to qualified students with disabilities.
- Q. How does the ADA and Section 504 affect admissions requirements?
A. The postsecondary program cannot have eligibility requirements that screen out people with physical or mental disabilities. Application forms cannot ask applicants if they have a history of mental illness or any other disability. Institutions may impose criteria that relate to safety risks but these criteria must be based on actual risk and not on stereotypes or assumptions. It is also illegal for an institution to serve students with disabilities differently because it believes its insurance costs will be increased. (It is illegal for insurance companies to refuse to insure, continue to insure, or limit the amount of insurance solely because individuals with disabilities are to be included in a program unless the practice is based on sound actuarial principles or actual experience.)
- Q. Can a school charge me for the cost of providing an accommodation?
- Q. Do I have to provide documentation of my disability to request accommodations?
A. Florence-Darlington Technical College requires current medical documentation of a disability, as well as the student intake forms. For students with hidden disabilities, such as learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, or a chronic health impairment, it is reasonable and appropriate for a school to request documentation to establish the validity of the request for accommodations and to help identify what accommodations are required.
- Q. What kind of documentation might be necessary?
A. Documentation should be completed and signed by a medical professional familiar with the applicant and the applicant's disability such as a physician, psychologist or rehabilitation counselor. It should verify the disability and suggest appropriate accommodations. If previous documentation exists, it will likely be sufficient unless it is not current (usually no more than three years old). Students who received accommodations at a previous college or university may have the disability documentation from that school sent to FDTC to be considered. If no current documentation is available, it is the responsibility of the student to have new documentation prepared. This can mean paying to have an appropriate professional conduct a new evaluation. It would be prudent to get an evaluation the year before you leave high school. This information is confidential and not a part of the student's permanent record.
- Q. Are students with disabilities required to disclose their disability?
A. If you do not require any accommodations, you can choose to keep this information private. If you do need accommodations because of your disability, however, you must disclose in order to receive them. A school cannot provide any service, modification or accommodation when it does not know one is required. It is a student's responsibility to make his/her needs known in advance. This process is often facilitated by an Office for Students with Disabilities. It is then the school's responsibility to work with the student to make reasonable accommodations or provide appropriate services in a timely way.
- Q. Are schools required to make testing accommodations for students with disabilities?
A. Yes. Schools must establish a process for making their tests accessible to people with disabilities. Schools can do this by providing appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities. Remember, each student's needs are individual, but examples of accommodations include allowing a student extended time to complete a test or providing a distraction-free space, sign language interpreters, readers, or alternative test formats. With acceptable documentation, the Assessment Center at FDTC will accommodate students with impediments such as vision, hearing, speech, mobility, and learning. If you require assistance with testing, contact the Assessment Center at (843) 661-8050.
- Q. What should I do if my instructor refuses or neglects to make the accommodations I requested?
A. Sometimes individual instructors are not familiar with the requirements of ADA or Section 504, or the purpose of accommodating students with disabilities. It is not unusual to encounter instructors who feel classroom or testing accommodations give students with disabilities an unfair advantage over other students. It is a school's responsibility, however, to educate their faculty about the purpose of accommodations and their legal obligations, and to assist them with the logistics of providing accommodations. Florence-Darlington Technical College has an ADA Services office that serves as a liaison between students and faculty and can advocate for reasonable accommodations.