Two significant pieces of legislation address the needs of individuals with disabilities on the college campus. These are the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and mandates actions that must be taken to facilitate equal opportunity. The most important provision of the act is Section 504, which states that:
"No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States...shall, solely by reason of his handicap, 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."
Simply stated, this means that all college programs and activities must be accessible to people with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990. ADA extends and expands upon the rights guaranteed under Section 504.