The rights of qualified students with disabilities are protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), both of which are laws aimed at ending discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that…”No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of…disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from the participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 contains more specific information about compliance issues in post-secondary education that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA did extend the law to cover private institutions of higher education as well as those receiving federal funding. Colleges and universities have experienced more rigid enforcement of the law with the passage of the ADA partially due to an increased awareness of people with disabilities about their rights to equal access to programs and services.
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities (from the Office of Civil Rights) - http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html