Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Two federal statutes govern the rights of individuals with disabilities and apply to students with disabilities attending Emerson College.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that no “otherwise qualified person” with a disability can be excluded from, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity within an institution that receives federal financial aid.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as any individual who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA applies to Emerson College, both as a place of public accommodation and as an employer.

Taken together, Section 504 and the ADA require institutions of higher education to provide equal access to educational opportunities to otherwise qualified persons with disabilities.