Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Equal Access to Education
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and its Amendments Act of 2008 state that qualified students with disabilities who meet the technical and academic standards at Southeastern College may be entitled to reasonable accommodations. Under these laws, a disability is defined as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and its Amendments Act of 2008 reinforce the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act and extended coverage to the private sector (Title III) with the extension of access into all aspects of campus life, including communications and other privileges and advantages by requiring that all public facilities, services and communications be accessible to persons with disabilities and that auxiliary aids and services be provided unless such provisions place an undue hardship (defined as significantly difficult or expensive) upon an institution.
Note that in secondary (K-12 settings) education, the focus is primarily on encouraging student success; however, in post-secondary education, the focus is largely on ensuring that students are provided equal access to the educational programs. To this end, Southeastern College is committed to providing equal access to education by removing unnecessary barriers to enhance each student’s ability to demonstrate his or her academic abilities.
Who is Considered Disabled under the Law?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and its Amendments Act of 2008, a disability is a chronic, long-term, physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (e.g., walking, sitting, breathing, learning, working, sleeping, etc.). This law also requires an individualized assessment of each case to determine whether a disability exists. The College is not required to evaluate students or pay for such an evaluation. It is a student’s responsibility to provide adequate documentation and request adjustments/accommodations and services. The College has the right to establish professional criteria to be used in reviewing the documentation.
”Reasonable accommodation” is the term used by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act for modifications made to an environment that eliminates or decreases, to a reasonable degree, structural and/or learning barriers that a student might encounter due to his or her disability. Nevertheless, an academic unit is not required to fundamentally alter the nature of its academic program in order to accommodate students.
Southeastern College is committed to providing access to all of its programs, activities and services and will either remove physical barriers or enhance access in other ways to enable qualified students to participate in such endeavors.
Student with Disabilities Rights and Responsibilities
Students with disabilities at SEC/SI have a right to:
- Reasonable and effective accommodations according to their disability based on sufficient documentation
- Equal access to educational and co-curricular programs, services, jobs, activities, and facilities available through SEC/SI
- Treatment that reflects respect and dignity
- Treatment that is fair and equal received by other students
- Confidentiality in all parts of their documentation and academic records
- Information reasonably available in accessible formats
Students with disabilities at SEC/SI have the responsibility to:
- Understand that they are to initiate services with SEC/SI
- Provide appropriate documentation of their disability to their respective campus president/dean according to the criteria listed in this guide
- Understand that they are to request accommodations in a timely manner to ensure that they are in place as soon as possible
- Understand that they are able to make a request for accommodations at any time during their tenure at SEC/SI
- Work in collaboration with their campus president, dean, and/or with the chairperson of the Accommodations Review Committee (ARC) to determine reasonable accommodations if needed
- Advocate for themselves and monitor their own progress; and to alert their campus president/dean and/or disability services coordinator (DSC) if they need assistance with accommodation related issues as soon as possible
- Meet with the campus president, dean and faculty regarding accommodations implementation and/or progress
- Abide by the SEC/SI Student Handbook, and if applicable, program specific handbooks, to follow policies on academic integrity
College Commitment and Support
Southeastern College (SEC/SI) is committed to promoting access for students with disabilities through a supportive academic and social environment. Faculty, administration, and students work together in partnership to determine students’ needs and attempt to see that those needs are met. A student who self-identifies as a person with a disability requiring auxiliary aids/academic adjustments to any staff or faculty member at any time during the student’s tenure at Southeastern College will be referred to the campus president or dean for assistance. Adherence to this procedure will ensure they obtain the appropriate information; and, if desired by the applicant/student, initiate the formal process for receipt of auxiliary aids and academic adjustments. The auxiliary aids and academic adjustments will be provided at no cost to qualified students with a documented disability.
Southeastern College complies with Title III of the ADA requiring that no qualified person with disabilities will be excluded from participating in or being denied the benefits of the services or activities of Southeastern College due to the nature of a disability. For physically challenged students, Southeastern College campuses are either located on ground level or have appropriate elevator service with ramps and designated parking to facilitate easy entry. Restrooms are equipped with wide doorways and bars to ensure wheelchair accessibility.
The following individual is Southeastern College’s Section 504 Disability Services Coordinator (DSC):
Regional Director of Student Services
1900 W. Commercial Blvd., Suite 180
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
Appeal and Complaint Procedures
Applicant students who have been deemed ineligible for reasonable adjustments/accommodations under Section 504 have the right to appeal the decision with Southeastern College by filing a written appeal to the DSC/ARC located in the Chancellor’s Office stating the grounds or basis for a reversal of the decision.
Qualified students with disabilities who also feel that they have not been treated fairly under Southeastern College’s stated federal policies has the right to file a written complaint. Either a complaint or an appeal should be submitted to the president of the campus. These procedures apply only to complaints or appeals received in writing.
- A complaint or an appeal is submitted in person, by U.S. mail, or by fax to the campus president. Complaints or appeals may not be submitted by email. Complaints or appeals should be dated.
- Within 15 business days after acknowledging receipt of the ADA policy complaint or appeal, the president of the campus will inform the student regarding the institutional response to the written complaint or appeal.
Applicants wishing to avail themselves of special adjustments/accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act should disclose special needs at the time of enrollment but are not required to do so. In other words, an individual could start the process for requesting accommodations at any point in their course of study at Southeastern College; however, it is recommended that this process is started early as possible as accommodations cannot be implemented retroactively.. Once informed, the College has an obligation to assess the merit of the applicant’s request and to verify the authenticity of the stated disability.
Southeastern College expects persons with disabilities to take an active role in communicating their needs to the campus president or dean to receive the proper ADA information and this guide. In addition, such persons should consult with the campus president and local program chair to discuss any unique prescriptive qualifications, i.e., the program’s Technical Standards and/or other academic and essential requirements.
Furthermore, applicants who are not yet enrolled as students, or general public requesting accommodations while on campus, will be referred to the campus president. Applicants requesting more time to take the entrance exam will be required to provide supporting documentation for this request.
Sources and Forms of Documentation
Documentation is critical in determining suitable adjustment(s)/ accommodation(s). It is a student’s responsibility to identify themselves as a person with a disability and to provide the university with adequate documentation of the disability from an appropriately licensed professional. This professional should be familiar with you, your disability, and its current functional impact. The documentation must 1) demonstrate how the disability limits your ability to participate in an academic setting, 2) clearly outline the accommodation or academic adjustment requested, 3) be included as part of the application, and 4) be submitted to the campus president for procedural verification. This documentation is provided to the Disability Services Coordinator (DSC) before an adjustment/accommodation is provided. For the detailed outline of specific documentation required by Southeastern College, please see the “CRITERIA FOR DISABILITY DOCUMENTATION” section of this guide.
Below are acceptable sources of documentation for substantiating a student’s disability and request for particular accommodations:
The student is a vital source of information regarding how he or she may be “limited by impairment.” A student’s narrative of his or her experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations is an important tool, along with the information from external or third parties listed below for establishing a disability and a need for accommodation. The narrative may accompany observations and interview notes deliberated through the interactive process with campus-based personnel, such as dean and/or campus president or the DSC.
Information from External or Third Parties
Diagnostic documentation of the disability from an appropriately licensed professional. The documentation should demonstrate how the learning disability limits the student’s ability to participate in an academic setting, must clearly outline the accommodation or academic adjustment requested, and must be submitted to the campus president for verification.
Accommodations Review Committee (ARC)
The director of student services serves as Southeastern College’s disability services coordinator (DSC) chairs the Accommodations Review Committee (ARC). Other members of the ARC include the chief academic and accreditation officer. It may also include further members deemed appropriate by the DSC. The ARC will have access to all of the documentation pertaining to the student’s request for adjustments/accommodations. The ARC will meet within 10 business days of receipt of the student’s signed and dated forms requesting accommodation(s) or adjustment(s).
The DSC/ARC engages in an interactive process with the student through the campus president and academic dean(s). The campus president and dean, with guidance from the DSC, in cooperation with the ARC, will help applicants/students regarding the academic access process. The campus president or dean will contact them prior to the ARC determination to ensure that the student is involved in the process that determine what services, if any, he or she is to receive.
The student will be sent an Academic Access Letter within 15 business days of receipt of the student’s accommodation request.
The student will receive the approved accommodation(s) or adjustment(s) as soon as possible, but no later than 30 business days of the dated Academic Access Letter. This established procedure is to ensure proper and timely disbursement of auxiliary aids and/or academic adjustments to students with disabilities.
Confidentiality and Information Release Policy
Southeastern College is committed to ensuring that all disability information regarding a student is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law. In most instances, the College will not inform faculty members as to the nature of a student’s disorder unless it is necessary for providing appropriate adjustments/ accommodations or in order to protect the health and safety of the student and/or others. Faculty is informed of necessary or appropriate adjustments/ accommodations needed to meet a student’s disability-related needs. A student may give written authorization for the release of diagnostic documentation if he or she wishes to share it with others.
In addition to the usual adjustments/accommodations provided by faculty, the College reserves the right to release supplementary information should there be a need to know. Some common need-to-know scenarios include, but are not limited to the following circumstances:
- a request for a course substitution
- the safety of the student and/or others
- complaint or appeal cases
- special financial aid considerations
Completed Accommodation Request Forms and any documentation of disability are confidential and are stored in a locked file or other secure location under the control of the dean of academic affairs that is separate from the student’s permanent student record.
 Reviewing documentation and arranging for appropriate adjustments/ accommodations takes time, and a delay in following through can result in a delay in receipt of adjustments/accommodations. Thus, it is important that students disclose to the university their need for accommodations as soon as possible (if not at time of enrollment, then soon after), to allow sufficient time to make necessary arrangements.
 Southeastern College and Southeastern College’s process and criteria for determining accommodations may not be the same as practiced by other institutions or entities. Thus, if the only source of documentation provided to SEC is an accommodation letter or other material from a previous institution’s disability services office, a student may be asked to include original documentation.
 Students are provided the approved accommodation or adjustment following the dated Academic Access Letter, unless specialized accommodation(s)/adjustment(s)/equipment needs to be ordered and received by the student or university, not to exceed 30 business days. In the interim, the university will provide alternative reasonable supplemental or substitute accommodations to the student pending receipt of the specialized accommodations or equipment. Every effort will be made to provide the approved accommodation(s) or adjustment(s) as expeditiously as possible.