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Disability Law

Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) define a person with a disability as anyone having a physical or mental disability which substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

Under Section 504 and the ADA, qualified individuals with disabilities cannot be discriminated against in regard to educational opportunities and employment. These acts require that all academic programs at Cape Cod Community College be made accessible to persons with disabilities. 4Cs's O’Neill Center for Student Access and Support determines appropriate academic accommodations based on a student's disability and individual needs.

Examples of possible accommodations include but are not limited to:

  • Extended test time in reduced distraction environment
  • Audio recording of lectures
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Classroom educational accommodation
  • Voice recognition programs and other assistive technology

Services not provided by the College:

  • Clinical diagnoses for disability are not provided
  • Personal aids such as wheelchairs or eyeglasses
  • Personal Care Assistance (students must provide their own PCA)

When implementing academic accommodations, Cape Cod Community College will not lower or substantially modify essential requirements of its curriculum. For example, disability services are not required to grant accommodations that change the content of an exam and/or alter the fundamental requirements of a class or program of study.

Following the requirements of Section 504 and the ADA, Cape Cod Community College will provide appropriate academic adjustments to ensure that qualified students have access to educational opportunities regardless of their disabilities.

More information is available at the following sites:

The chart below highlights some of the important differences between high school and college. Section 504 and the ADA, which apply to postsecondary education, are very different from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers grades K‐12. This means that some adjustment of the perspectives of students, parents, and instructors is necessary when making the transition from high school to college.


High SchoolCollege
Law is the individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA Laws are Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA and Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
IDEA is about success. ADA is about access.
Core modifications of classes and materials are required. No modifications are required – only accommodations.
Education is a right and must be accessible to you. Education is not a right. Students must apply to attend.
School district must identify the disability. Student must self-identify.
School district develops Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to determine school’s plan. Student must identify needs and ask for services. No IEP exists and it is not considered legal documentation.
School district to provide free evaluations. Student must obtain evaluations at their own expense.
Student is helped by parents and teachers. Student must get help from Disability Services Office and student support services on campus.
School is responsible for arranging accommodations. Student must self-advocate and arrange for accommodations.

Chart adapted courtesy of ©2010 Think College. Think College is a project of the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Contact Us

O'Neill Center for Student Access and Support
Location Maureen M. Wilkens Hall, Room 222
Hours Monday–Friday: 8:00am–4:30pm
(later times by appointment)
Phone 774.330.4337