Disability Resource Center

Disability Laws

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA expands the scope of institutional and service provider responsibility for providing reasonable accommodations to the disabled. The ADA is a civil rights statute.

It promises protection from discrimination on the basis of disability. It promises equal access to opportunities for persons with disabilities. A "person with a disability" as defined by law is someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.

Students with disabilities are a rapid growing minority at UNCW, as elsewhere in American higher education. 

To assure equal opportunity to participate, both physical and programmatic access must be provided. This means more than the removal of architectural barriers and the provision of auxiliary services. It means that reasonable accommodations must also be made in the instructional process.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and applies to all programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. It requires an institution to make reasonable academic adjustments and accommodations to allow students with disabilities full participation in the same programs and activities available to students without disabilities.