Students in K-12 work with their schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA) or Section 504 to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Upon entering college, students are covered under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Section 504 is a federal guideline requiring various public entities to provided access to their services for individuals with disabilities. The ADA is an extension of Section 504 and protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. Students in college have much more independence and are individually responsible, instead of their parents, for self-identifying prior to requesting services.
ADA defines a disability as “a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” For a student, a disability would limit his/her ability to fulfill any degree requirements, employment opportunities on campus, or other campus related activities.