Comparison of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - IDEA, Section 504 and ADA affect people with disabilities. This chart illustrates different ways these laws apply to students as they transition from K-12 education to college.
- Coordinate academic support services
- Advocate for students with disabilities
- Promote student development and self-advocacy
- Serve as a resource on disability awareness and accommodations
Admissions and Enrollment
The number of persons with disabilities who may be admitted or enrolled will not be limited solely based on disability. Inquiries as to whether applicants for admission/registration are disabled are unlawful. Confidential post-admission inquiries regarding disabilities that may require accommodation are permissible.
NSU's policy is to:
- Comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990
- Ensure that no qualified person will, solely because of disability, be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by or at Northern State University
- Define disability status according to the definitions used by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- Offer educational opportunities, programs, and activities to each person who has met academic and technical standards for admission to Northern State University
- Provide the most integrated setting possible for all students
- Make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities; such accommodations must not fundamentally alter the nature of university programs or cause undue financial or administrative burden, and make reasonable accommodations that can be provided without lowering academic or other essential performance standards
The Office of Disability Services (ODS) will assist Northern State University in creating an institutional climate in which students with disabilities can thrive. Students will receive appropriate services without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, gender or disability. Students will view the ODS as a strong resource for disability awareness, advocacy and student development. ODS staff are strong proponents of equal access for all.
The mission of the Office of Disability Services is to provide equal access to university programs as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The ODS coordinates academic support services, advocates for students with disabilities (swd) and promotes student development and self-advocacy while serving as a resource on disability awareness and accommodations.
To be eligible for accommodation, students should:
- Contact the Office of Disability Services in the Student Center 240 as early as possible
- Submit any required medical or other diagnostic documentation of disability or limitations
- Participate in additional evaluations if required
- Make timely, appropriate disclosures and requests for accommodations
- Actively participate in the securing of accommodations and auxiliary aids
- If necessary, apply for funding for specialized support services from vocational rehabilitation agencies
Disability Documentation Policies
In accordance with the Americans and Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination and assured services and accommodations that provide equal access to the activities and programs of Northern State University (University). To establish that an individual is covered under the ADA, documentation must indicate that the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities. If academic or classroom-based accommodations are requested, learning must be one of the major life activities affected.
Documentation submitted must:
- Be appropriate to verify eligibility,
- Demonstrate a current substantial impact of one or more major life activities, and
- Support the request for accommodations and or auxiliary aids
To qualify for disability services through the Office of Disability Services (ODS), students are required to provide diagnostic documentation from a licensed clinical professional familiar with the history and functional implications of the impairments. Disability documentation must adequately verify the nature and extent of the disability in accordance with current professional standards and techniques, and it must clearly substantiate the need for all of the student's specific accommodation requests. All documentation must be submitted on the official letterhead of the professional describing the disability. The report should be dated and signed and include the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification. If the original documentation is incomplete or inadequate to determine the extent of the disability or reasonable accommodation, the University has the discretion to require additional documentation. Any cost incurred in obtaining additional documentation when the original records are inadequate is assumed by the student. If the documentation is complete but the University desires a second professional opinion, the University bears the latter cost. In general, it is not acceptable for such documentation to include a diagnosis or testing performed by a member of the student's family. Additionally, students requesting accommodations for the manifestations of multiple disabilities must provide evidence of all such conditions.
- Attention Deficit Disorder Documentation
- Head Injury Documentation
- Learning Disability Documentation
- Psychiatric Disability Documentation
- Other Impacting Disabilities
A student’s school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan will not be sufficient documentation due to the difference between the ADA/ADAAA and laws governing K-12.
Students without appropriate documentation may receive services and accommodations for the remainder of the semester that they make initial contact with the ODS.
Accommodations may be provided for students with either permanent or temporary disabilities.
The Office of Disability Services will ensure that disability-related documents are kept confidential and shared only with NSU personnel on a limited and need-to-know basis.
Note: You are strongly advised to give a copy of the guidelines to your treating clinician. Disabilities have a wide range of severity and effect. The more specific information we receive, the better we can determine appropriate accommodations for you.
Reasonable accommodations will be made, as necessary, to prevent discrimination against qualified applicants or students with disabilities. These accommodations may not affect the substance of the educational programs or compromise educational standards. However, they should be designed to provide the student with a disability with an opportunity comparable to that of any other student to participate successfully in university programs.
Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- Alternative testing (extended time, quiet testing location)
- Accessible classroom/location/furniture
- Advance notice of assignments
- Alternative ways of completing assignments (e.g., oral presentation versus written paper)
- Assistive computer technology
- Assistive listening devices
- Auxiliary aids and services (note-takers, lab or library assistants, readers, scribes)
- Captions for film and video material
- Course or program modifications
- Dining service accommodations
- Document conversion (alternative print format: braille, large print, tape, electronic, raised lettering)
- Early syllabus
- Financial aid accommodations
- Housing accommodations
- Priority registration
- Academic advising
- Referral services to campus, community, and state agencies
- Learning disabilities consultation and strategy instruction
- Taped lectures
- Flexible attendance policy (for medical purposes)
- Students with disabilities who require accommodation must seek assistance from the Office of Disability Services in a timely manner, usually prior to the start of classes or as soon as a disability becomes known. Those who desire an admissions modification must request it on the application form.
- The Office of Disability Services and the student with a disability will discuss the interaction between the disability and the academic environment and determine the reasonable accommodations. Consultation with faculty, staff, and outside professionals regarding essential elements and reasonable accommodations will occur in situations that are new, complex or sensitive.
- In cases where a determination of disability is reached, the Office of Disability Services will write individualized letters to faculty members certifying that the student is eligible for assistance through the Office of Disability Services by reason of a documented disability.
- Students with disabilities will be responsible for contacting the Office of Disability Services if reasonable accommodations are not implemented in an effective or timely way. The Office of Disability Services will work with NSU personnel and students with disabilities to resolve disagreements regarding recommended accommodations.
- Students with disabilities who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of the disability may file a grievance with the Affirmative Action office in Room 213 of Krikac Administrative Building or the Student Affairs office in Student Center 222.
It can take some time to apply for accommodations based on a student's disability. Delay on the part of the student in seeking accommodations or in meeting required conditions may result in limitations on the ability of the University to provide reasonable accommodations.
The Office of Disability Services is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law. Any information collected is used for the benefit of the students. This information may include test data, grades, biographical history, disability information, performance reviews and case notes.
Guidelines about the treatment of such information have been adopted by the Office of Disability Services and are rigorously followed and shared with students. These guidelines incorporate state and federal regulations, guidelines established by professional associations, and relevant aspects of the Board of Regents policies found in Access to Student Information and Standards and Procedures: Relation to the Use of Human Subjects in Research.
No one has immediate access to student files at the Office of Disability Services except staff from that office. Any information regarding disability gained from medical examinations or appropriate post-admissions/hiring inquiry shall be considered confidential and shall be shared with others within the institution on a need-to-know basis only. Disability-related information is to be treated as medical information is treated. For example, University faculty and staff do not have a right or a need to access diagnostic or other information regarding a student's disability; they only need to know what accommodations are necessary or appropriate to meet the student's disability-related needs. If a student has requested an accommodation, the student will be informed as to what information is being provided to the faculty or staff regarding the request. To protect confidentiality by assuring limited access, all disability-related information must be filed with the Office of Disability Services. Information in files will not be released except in accordance with federal and state laws, which require release in the following circumstances if a student:
- States he/she intends to harm himself/herself or another person(s).
- Reports or describes any physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults within the last three years (this includes the occurrence of abuse or neglect to the student if he or she was under age 18 at the time of the abuse);
- Reports the use of an illegal drug for non-medical purpose during pregnancy; or
- Reports or describes sexual exploitation by counseling or health care professionals.
A student's file may be released pursuant to a court order or subpoena. A student may give written authorization for the release of information when she or he wishes to share it with others. Before giving such authorization, the student should understand the information being released, the purpose of the release, and to whom the information is being released. Information will not be released without consent unless it is required by federal or state law. The Office of Disability Services may charge a reasonable fee for costs incurred in connection with the copying of information. The Office of Disability Services will retain a copy of all information provided. If a student wishes to have a record expunged, he or she must make a written request to the director of Disability Services and he/she will decide whether it is necessary for the office to retain the record.