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Laws, Rights, and Responsibilities

In this section

Services for Students with Disabilities
Gateway Technical College is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to all college programs and activities. Policies and procedures have been developed to provide students with as much independence as possible, appropriate accommodations, to preserve confidentiality, and to make available academic support services. Students with disabilities at Gateway Technical will have the same opportunities available to all other Gateway students.

Disability Laws

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Rehabilitation Act was signed into Congress in 1973. This Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving Federal financial assistance, in Federal employment, and in the employment practices of Federal contractors.

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination of individuals with disabilities by federally funded programs and recipients of federal dollars. Gateway Technical College falls into this category and will provide programs and activities that are accessible.
  • Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act maintain the same definition of "impairment" and "major life activities". Therefore students must have a diagnosed disability that impacts physical, mental or learning abilities in one or more life activity areas.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. This prohibits discrimination of individuals with disabilities and to allow individuals with disabilities to have equal access and rights to the following: employment, state and local government activities, public transportation public/commercial accommodations and telecommunications relay services. It also applies to the United States Congress.

Gateway is subject to both the ADA and Section 504 requirements. Our buildings are accessible to students (and students are not subject to any disability screening), and Gateway will provide reasonable accommodations for students who meet criteria for services under Section 504.

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (formerly called P.L. 94-142 or the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975) requires public K-12 schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs. IDEA is specific to students in K-12, but these schools must also comply with Section 504 and ADA. If you have had an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in K-12, it would fall under IDEA to provide services.

IDEA requires public school systems to develop appropriate (IEP's) for each child identified with a disability. The specific special education and related services should be outlined in each IEP and reflect the individualized needs of each student.

Differences between the IDEA & ADA
If a student received services in elementary, middle or high school under IDEA, it does not necessarily qualify you for services in the college setting under Section 504. Often services and accommodations are different in college from what was provided in the K-12 educational system.

The IDEA is designed to give all students access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), and Section 504 prohibits discrimination of persons with disabilities. Both promote access for students with disabilities to a public education, but in different ways. Section 504 is primarily a civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination in all programs and activities that receive federal funding. The IDEA limits its protection to children who have a variety of specific disabilities listed in the law and who need special education and related services as a result of that disability.

Information from and and

Rights and Responsibilities of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities at Gateway Technical College have the right to:

  • Equal access to courses, programs, services, and activities offered through the College.
  • An equal opportunity to learn, and to receive reasonable accommodations and academic adjustments in an effort to diminish the effect of the disability on academic functioning.
  • Self-determine who will receive student released disability-related materials and information within and outside the College.
  • All other rights and privileges available to other students at Gateway Technical College.
  • Receive special needs services and reasonable accommodations once all appropriate documentation has been received and an Accommodations Plan is in place.
    (Note: Special Needs Services and accommodations are not retroactive)

Students with disabilities at Gateway Technical College have the responsibility to:

  • Self-identify as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is needed and to seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary in a timely fashion.
  • Complete an Accommodations Plan every semester that they are requesting services
  • Comply with the Student Code of Conduct as published in the Student Handbook and on the College web site (
  • Meet qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards for courses, programs, and activities.
  • Provide documentation (from an appropriate professional) on how the disability limits participation in courses, programs, services, and activities.
  • Follow college procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.
  • Adhering to Special Needs Department guidelines when using support services, assistive technology and accommodations.

Rights and Responsibilities of Gateway Technical College

Gateway Technical College has the right to:

  • Identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge, requirements, and standards for courses, programs, services, and activities, and to evaluate students on this basis.
  • Request and receive, through Special Needs Services, assurance of documentation that supports requests for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.
  • Deny a request for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services if the documentation demonstrates that the request is not warranted, or if the individual fails to provide appropriate documentation.
  • Select among equally effective accommodations, adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services.
  • Refuse an unreasonable accommodation, adjustment, and/or auxiliary aid or service that imposes a fundamental alteration of a program or activity of the College.
    Gateway Technical College has the responsibility to:
  • Refuse services to individuals who repeatedly display an unwillingness and/or inability to effectively utilize support services and accommodations.
  • Provide information to students with disabilities in accessible formats.
  • Ensure that courses, programs, services, and activities, when viewed in their entirety, are available in the most integrated and appropriate settings.
  • Evaluate students on their abilities and determine accommodation needs on an individual basis.
  • Provide or arrange for reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids and services for students with disabilities in courses, programs, services, and activities.
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records and communication except where permitted or required by law or when the student requests that such information be shared.