Students with Disabilities – Definitions
As a student with a disability, you are “otherwise qualified” when you meet the same academic requirements and standards as non-disabled students. These requirements and standards must be considered necessary to maintain the integrity of a course, program or college policy. For example, some colleges require students to maintain a GPA of 2.5 to maintain eligibility for a certain program or to remain enrolled as a student. You would also be required to meet this qualification. You are also required to meet an instructor’s expectations for students in regards to class participation, work standards, attendance, and ability to demonstrate acquired knowledge.
These are changes that are made in the delivery of course material and/or in the assessment of your knowledge that will help you meet the standards of the course. Examples include notetakers, recorded textbooks, time extensions on course assignments, extended test time, sign language interpreter, assistive technology during class and exams, etc. Section 504 and the ADA states that students with disabilities may need appropriate accommodations or reasonable modifications in order to meet the academic requirements and standards.
Examples of modifications that may be offered include the extension of time permitted to complete a degree program (possibly due to carrying less than the required full-time credit load); or the substitution or waiver of courses that are part of the degree requirements. If a college refuses to modify academic requirements, the school must be able to prove that the change would be considerable and that the area requested to be altered is essential or necessary as offered. The college must prove the change would jeopardize the integrity of the course or program.