DSPS Student Responsibilites, Rights and Resonable Accommodations

Historically, students with disabilities in higher education received the support of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This legislation helped to establish services and programs for students with disabilities throughout the 1970's and 1980's. Section 504, which is still in effect, primarily placed the responsibility of access to higher education on public institutions, which received federal funds.

In July of 1990, the disability movement in the United States picked up momentum with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was a sweeping civil rights legislation, which provided the legal mandate for colleges, and universities to provide access for students with disabilities.

The ADA covers all aspects of disability in society including employment, education, telecommunications, private sector services, public sector services, transportation and more.

Students Rights and Responsibilities:

San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) is committed to providing students with disabilities academic accommodations to access the same educational opportunities available to all students.



Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in all employment situations involving programs or activities aided by federal financing.


Prohibits job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in all employment practices: hiring, firing, promotions, compensation, and in all other terms, conditions and benefits of employment, including vacations, pensions, and seniority.


" No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal
financial assistance... ".
Extends universal civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities, covering public and private sector employment, public accommodations, transportation, and telephone communications.


Reasonable Accommodations

Students are not required to assume the responsibility for securing necessary accommodation. The college is required to provide reasonable accommodations for a student's known disability so that the student has an equal opportunity to participate in the courses, activities, or programs. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) ruled that a university may not charge students for necessary accommodations.

Expense of accommodation is not undue hardship. Providing an auxiliary aid or incurring an expense to ensure access would not constitute undue hardship to the university. In determining what constitutes an undue hardship, the OCR views the entire financial resources of the university rather than any single department or college.

Classroom Accessibility

A classroom must be accessible. A classroom's location must be changed to provide accessibility for a student with a mobility impairment. The university does not need to make every classroom accessible but must provide for the participation of students with disabilities when "viewed in its entirety."

Extended Time

Extended time is a reasonable accommodation for a student whose documentation specifically calls for that accommodation. The university is required to ensure that the student is provided additional time to complete tests and/or course work in order to provide an equal opportunity for that student.

Alternate Formats of Exam

The form of an exam must be altered if the testing procedure puts a student with a disability at a disadvantage based on the student's documented disability. There may be an exception when the purpose of the test is to measure a particular skill. Accommodation must be documented. The university may refuse to grant a student's request for an accommodation which is not specifically recommended in the student's documentation.

Handouts in Alternate Formats

If a student with a visual impairment is enrolled in a class, the instructor must provide all handouts in the alternate format requested by the student. In addition, all handouts must be made available to students on the same day they are distributed to nondisabled students.

Material on Reserve in Library

The instructor must make course material on reserve in the library available in alternate formats for students with visual impairments enrolled in the course.

Diagnostic Information is Confidential

Faculty/staff do not have the right to access diagnostic information regarding a student's disability. Faculty/staff need only know the accommodations that are necessary to guarantee an equal opportunity for the student.

Personal Liability

An individual faculty member who fails to provide an accommodation to a student with a documented disability may be held personally liable.

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom does not permit instructors to decide if they will provide special aids and services for students with documented disabilities in the classroom.

Testing Accommodations

Accommodations for testing such as readers, scribes, or the use of adaptive equipmenmt must be provided for a student with a documented disability.

Personal Services and Aids

The university is not required to provide personal services such as attendant care, or personal aids such as wheelchairs or eyeglasses.

Accessible Programs

The university must operate its programs in the most integrated setting appropriate.

Admissions criteria

The university may not use as sole criteria for admission or rejection a test that has been shown to be discriminatory for persons with disabilities.

Job announcement Postings

Postings for job announcements must be readily accessible to students with visual impairments.

Bulletin Identify 504 Coordinator

The name of the Section 504 coordinator must be identified in recruiting materials such as application forms and school bulletins.

Student may File Grievance

A student with a disability may not only file a claim with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, but may also file a complaint with HUD.

Tutoring Services

Under Section 504 of the l973 Rehabilitation Act, students with disabilities must have access to general college services. The DSPS program may offer specialized tutoring services; but the services must be disability-related tutoring rather than general tutoring available through the Learning Center, EOPS, or other sources. DSPS funds are intended to provide additional specialized support that allows students with disabilities to more fully access and benefit from the general offerings and services of the college.

In addition, Title 5 regulations prohibit provision of services or instruction that duplicate those otherwise available to all students. Therefore, DSPS tutoring services must not replace or supplant existing general college tutoring services.

Weight Training

University must provide comparable opportunities for weight training to students with disabilities.

Career Counseling

Career couselors are prohibited from counseling a student with a disability into more restrictive career paths than are recommended to nondisabled students with similar abilities and interests.

Other Links

SDCCD Students with Disabilities Rights, Responsibilities, and Academic Accommodations

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

US Department of Education
Office of Civil Rights
Washington, D.C. 20202


WorkAbility III

WorkAbility III is an interagency program established to provide services to clients of the California Department of Rehabilitation who are attending classes within specific California Community Colleges that offer WorkAbility III services. To access WorkAbility III’s services in San Diego, an individual must be a client of the Department of Rehabilitation and a student attending classes within the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD).

Disability Benefits 101

This web site "provides essential, accessible benefit information is significant to helping Californians understand their options for employment and making the critical decisions that will allow them to live as independently as possible,” says Catherine Campisi, Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation, one of the partners and grantors in the DB101 project. “Information is power and employment is independence for people with disabilities.”

Learning Ally

Learning Ally's library contains more than 93,000 titles in a broad variety of subjects, from literature and history to math and the sciences, at all academic levels, from kindergarten through post-graduate and professional. Anyone with a documented disability-including a visual impairment, learning disability or other physical disability which makes reading standard print difficult or impossible-is eligible to use Learning Ally's audio textbooks.  For more information, you can contact the DSPS High Tech Center at 619-388-2893.

508 Awareness

Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. Using this web site, Federal employees and the public can learn more about the history, requirements, and goals of section 508.

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

US Department of Education Web page
Office of Civil Rights
Washington, D.C. 20202