The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

How does the Americans with Disabilities Act Impact Higher Education?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provides comprehensive civil rights protection and is designed to remove barriers which prevent persons with disabilities from accessing the same educational and employment opportunities as persons without disabilities. The law also provides access to public accommodations, state and local government services, transportation, and telecommunications. The DR also prohibits discrimination against a qualified individual with a disability with regard to admission to educational institutions or vocational training programs (public or private); employee compensation; job training;and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.

Definition of a Disability

An "individual with a disability" is someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A person is considered to be a person with a disability if he/she has the disability, has a record of the disability, or is regarded as having the disability.


Note: Individuals who are current illegal users of drugs are not protected under the ADA. The legal use of a controlled substance under medical perspective is permitted. Addiction is considered a disability. A person who is addicted to drugs, but is not actively using drugs, is considered a person with a disability and is protected by the law. Alcohol is not considered a controlled substance.

No Requirement for Citizenship

The Americans with Disabilities Act covers all persons with disabilities in the United States, whether or not they are citizens and without regard to racial or ethnic origin.

Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodation is the provision of an auxiliary aid, or modification to the course or program which will allow access to the job duties, the educational process, program and degree, or activity. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires an institution of higher education to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified individual with a disability provided that accommodation does not create an undue hardship. Some examples of reasonable accommodation are making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; flexible timeline for program completion; acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment or modification of examinations or policies; provision of qualified readers, note takers, and/or signed language interpreters; provision of print formats and so on.

Rights and Responsibilities

Section 504 of The 1973 Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 continue to provide direction and guidance to the University as it reaches new levels of access in all areas. As such, both the University and student have rights and responsibilities.

Institutional Rights and Responsibilities

The University of Kansas (KU) through Disability Resources has the right and responsibility to:

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Every qualified student with a disability has the right to:


Every student with a disability has the responsibility to:


The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.