Federal Laws Related to College Students

Disability Law is a Civil Right

Northeast is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities civil rights are protected by upholding the principles contained in both the spirit as well as the letter of laws. We prohibit any and all discrimination on the basis of disability and we provide appropriate academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, services, and reasonable accommodations to qualified students in all programs and activities which include accessing college websites and online instructional material. If you experience barriers to participating in programs, activities and services to include Northeast websites, please contact Disability Services (DS) office.

Northeast is committed to incorporating accessibility standards to help ensure individuals do not experience barriers accessing to their educational material and or participating in activities and services.

Three reasons are:

  1. It is the right thing to do.
  2. It is the smart thing to do.
  3. It is the law.

Definitions Pertaining to the Law

Impairment: Section 504 regulatory provision at 34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(2)(i) defines a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

Disabilities covered by legislation may include (but are not limited to) spinal cord injuries, cancer, psychiatric disorders, brain injuries, learning disabilities, speech impairments, visual impairments, deafness, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, loss of limbs, diabetes, AIDS, and severe orthopedic injuries. An impairment in and of itself is not a disability. The impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities in to be considered a disability under Section 504.

Major life activity: Major life activities include the major bodily functions such as normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, immune system, and reproductive functions, as well as other major life activities such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, standing, lifting, bending, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, communicating, eating, sleeping, working, concentrating, and thinking.


Northeast may not discriminate in the recruitment, admission, educational process, or treatment of students. Students who have self-identified, provided satisfactory documentation of disability, and requested reasonable accommodations are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations, appropriate academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids and services that enable them to participate in and benefit from all educational programs and activities.

Federal law specifies that colleges and universities may not...limit the number of students with disabilities admitted, make preadmission inquiries as to whether or not an applicant has a disability, use admission tests or criteria that inadequately measure the academic qualifications of qualified students with disabilities because required accommodations were not made, exclude a qualified student with a disability from any course of study, or establish rules and policies that may adversely affect qualified students with disabilities.

At the postsecondary level, the recipient is required to provide students with appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in a school's program. Recipients are not required to make adjustments or provide aids or services that would result in a fundamental alteration of a recipient's program or impose an undue burden. CFR 104.44

Title II-2.8000 of the ADA defines the term "qualified"

In order to be an individual protected by Title II, the individual must be a "qualified" individual with a disability. In college, a qualified student with a disability is a student who meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission or participation in the institution's educational programs or activities.

It is considered discriminatory to counsel students with disabilities toward more restrictive careers than students without disabilities, unless such counsel is based on strict licensing or certification requirements in a profession. Post-secondary institutions are required to make reasonable adjustments to permit students with disabilities to fulfill academic requirements.

Northeast is an open enrollment institution. Therefore, there are non-degree-seeking, degree-seeking SWD's who take courses for which it is evident that after having engaging conversations, reviewing physical demands checklist, program standards and course requirements, that even with accommodations and the provision of auxiliary aids, and services, the student cannot fulfill the required academic and/or technical standards.

The process to conclude that a student cannot fulfill required academic and or technical standards will include the disability services staff a) working with the student to clearly identify the manifestations of the student’s disability, as well as, those accommodations that have been effective for the student in the past and engage the student in seeking out reasonable accommodations; b) meeting with those in the academic program to get a clear understanding of course requirements and expectations regarding the participation and performance of students seeking input as to how we can reasonably accommodate; and c) consulting with external disability and/or academic experts in the field to address any gaps in knowledge regarding the nature of the disability and/or the range of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services that might be available.

If the student is unable to meet academic and technical standards of a program of study, then the student is not qualified to be accepted into the program. DS staff will assist student with exploring other career options, seeking assistance from campus and community based resources.

Faculty Resource Links

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.

The UCSF Faculty Training Series is an eight part online, video training series to guide faculty who work with students with disabilities. Designed for training professors at Colleges of Medicine, the training is applicable to Northeast faculty.

Disability Etiquette is a guide that provides tips on interacting with People with Disabilities

Faculty Frequently Asked Questions



Need help or additional information?

If you need assistance or more information, please contact:

Director of Disability Services

Phone: (402) 844-7343
Toll-Free: (800) 348-9033, Ext. 7343
Fax: (402) 844-7412
Office: CWC 1263