Frequently Asked Questions
What is a quick overview of the ADA process?
There are 10 points in this process:
- As as anyone (all staff and faculty) is made aware of a student who self-identifies as a student with disabilities, the campus president (CP) and the dean should be made aware by taking student directly to the CP office
- The CP (or dean if CP is unavailable) should meet with the student to review the ADA Disability Support and Service Manual and the specific requirements (this manual is self-explanatory)
- The student is to complete and sign the request for accommodation, which are pages 17 to 22 in the SEC Disability Support Service Manual
- The student returns the completed parts of the request to the CP
- The CP (or Dean if CP is unavailable)reviews the completed request to ensure that its completed, signed, and addresses the criteria in its entirety (such as, affixed signatures, dates, full current mailing address for the student, and medical and/or psychological documentation)
- If no documentation is submitted to the Accommodations Review Committee (ARC) with the request for accommodations,
- Then the request will not be processed as a disability has not been established
- CP is to submit the finalized completed documentation to the ARC via email to:
- The ARC will:
- Review the request
- Make a determination based on the need established by the documentation
- Send a letter to the student, CP, and dean
- Upon approval, the CP and the dean shares in the responsibility to work with the student
regarding the implementation of the accommodations
- The dean is to notify the instructor of record
regarding the accommodations for the student but not disclose the nature of the disability, even though the student is encouraged also to speak with the instructor regarding their accommodations needs
- If questions arise, reach out to the Section 504 Coordinator:
Regional Director of Student Services
1900 W. Commercial Blvd., Suite 180
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
Note these reflect the ADA process at Southeastern College in 10-steps. To develop a further understanding of this process, please read each question and its response.
What laws govern ADA policies and procedures?
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 state that qualified students with disabilities who meet the technical and academic standards of the College may be entitled to reasonable accommodations.
What does “Equal Access to Education” mean?
Only qualified students with disabilities who meet the technical & academic standards of the College may be entitled to reasonable adjustments/accommodations unless such provisions place an undue hardship (difficulty or expensive) upon an institution — this also implies that accommodations only provide equal access rather than equal outcomes
Who is considered disabled?
A person with a disability is one with a disability that is: chronic, long-term, physical or mental impairment that substantially limiting condition that affects one or more major life activities – additionally, individualized assessment is needed to determine if such a disability exists
Who is responsible to ask for an academic adjustment/accommodation?
It is the student’s responsibility to provide adequate documentation and request accommodations and services
- Students with learning disabilities are also expected to take an active role in communicating their needs
- Applicant (potential student) should inform the College of their situation prior to admission or as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to make necessary arrangements
- Applicant (potential student) would be able to ask for accommodations to participate in the enrollment process as it relates to public access; however, only when the applicant meets the admissions requirements and the technical and essential requirements will that person be a student eligible to solicit for accommodations/auxiliary aids to be used during their tenure at Southeastern College
What is the College’s role in granting disability support services?
- is not required to evaluate students or pay for such an evaluation
- ill not ask a student if he/she requires accommodations- however, if a student desires to avail themselves of special adjustments/accommodations he/she must disclose special needs at time of admissions
- as the right to establish professional criteria to be used in reviewing the documentation
- reviews a student’s ADA/rehabilitation status with consideration for all presenting conditions
What are reasonable accommodations?
They are modifications to an environment or the student learning process which eliminate or decrease to a reasonable degree structural and/or learning barriers which a student might encounter due to his/her disability:
- The law does not require “special” advantag es that places the student in a better position to succeed
- With accommodations, students with disabilities are at the same starting position as their nondisabled classmates
- An academic unit is not required to fundamentally alter the nature of its academic program in order to accommodate students
What is a learning disability?
It is a significant difficulty in the acquisition of information or participating in the learning process and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning and math abilities and…
- is intrinsic to an individual and may occur across a life span
- may occur concomitantly with other conditions or life stressors; learning disabilities are not the direct result of those other conditions
- may exist with other conditions (ADD/ADHD)
What is the Institution’s commitment?
- The Institution is committed to providing equality of learning opportunities to students with learning disabilities through a supportive academic and social environment
- The Institution states that faculty and students work together in partnership to determine student’s needs as this represents the interactive process required for ADA
- The Institution does not provide a comprehensive learning disabilities program
Who is the ADA (Section 504 Disability Services (DS) Coordinator) support person?
Regional Director of Student Services
Office of the Executive Director 1900 W. Commercial Blvd, Suite 101 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309
What is the purpose of diagnostic (medical and/or psychological) documentation?
To verify and demonstrate how the learning disability limits the student’s ability to participate in an academic setting.
It is also the individual student’s responsibility to identify himself or herself as a person with a learning disability and to provide the College with diagnostic documentation of the disability from an appropriately licensed professional.
To whom should the official documentation be presented to comply with Southeastern College procedures?
The Campus President…
- will receive the documentation and verify acceptability
- is responsible to ensure the student provides the required documentation before submission to the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC)
- will send only a verified form for review by the ARC before an accommodation is sought
Note: Any number of people may “receive the documentation;” it needs to arrive at the campus president’s office.
What is role of the Accommodations Review Committee (ARC)?
To review documentation and policy and to notify a student of his/her status (eligible, ineligible, deferred) within 10 days of receipt in the Office of the Executive Director of the student’s ADA request.
- The duty of the Accommodations Review Committee (ARC) is to review the documentation and determine the reasonableness of the accommodation
- The ARC determines 1) the validity of the documentation to establish a disability, and 2) how the documentation corresponds to the requested accommodations
It includes the following individuals:
- Executive Director (Section 504 Disability Services Coordinator and Chair of ARC)
- Associate Vice President of Student Services
- May include additional people if deemed appropriate by members of the ARC
What is the confidentiality policy?
The College is committed to ensure that all disability information regarding a student is maintained confidential as require or permitted by law and will not ask students if they are in need of ADA services.
What is the role of faculty in the confidentiality process?
The faculty will not be informed in most instances as to the nature of a student’s disorder unless it is necessary for providing appropriate adjustments/accommodations in the learning process or in order to protect the health and safety of the student and/or others.
Faculty will be informed of necessary or appropriate adjustments/accommodations needed to meet a student’s disability-related needs.
When is information released?
It is done on need-to-know scenarios such as, but not limited to: request for course substitution, safety of students and/or others, grievance cases, special financial aid considerations.
In addition to usual adjustments/accommodations provided to faculty, the College reserves the right to release supplementary information should there be a need-to-know.
However, students may give written authorization for the release of diagnostic documentation in he/she wishes to share it with others.
What are examples of accommodations?
The need for an accommodation depends on the needs of each student; however, some common accommodations are but not limited to:
- Note Taker
- More time for assignments
- More time for tests
- Alternative texts (this must be provided through the office of the 504 DS Coordinator)
- Quiet Testing Area
- Recording Device
The student will have access to their approved accommodations for their duration at SEC; however, each student can elect to use or not use their accommodations in any course. Note that if an accommodation is elected not to be used in specific course and the student performs poorly during a time (say until midpoint) – what would be acceptable is to allow them to use their accommodations moving forwar – what would not be acceptable is to retake past tests or rework their past assignment with accommodations – as accommodations are not retroactive.
Accommodations will be granted on a case-by-case basis and it is the responsibility of the dean, campus president and student to meet and discuss the accommodation implementation- if there are questions reach out to the Section 504 DS Coordinator for clarification.
Alternative Format Textbook Request Procedure
The approved student would request these textbooks via the Disability Services Office which will contact the publisher in behalf of the student. To request an alternative text from the Disability Services Office, please be aware of these steps:
- Approved student to review booklist prior to the start of each semester along with their campus dean to agree on textbook requirements for the upcoming semester. This is to be repeated for each future semester.
Note: during this process, please check with publisher’s catalog first, as the text might be already available in electronic format. If not, then, move to the next steps.
- Student to purchase textbook and provide proof of purchase to campus dean.
- Both campus dean and student to complete and sign the Alternative Format Textbook Request Form located at the end of the SEC disability manual for required textbooks.
- Dean ensures form is correct and then forwards Alternative Format Textbook Request Form to Mr. Robert Keiser, who contacts the publisher on behalf of the student.
- Once request form is received, the book will be requested in alternative format from the publisher—be aware that it may take several weeks for the request to be fulfilled.
- Once file is received, the alternative format textbook will be forwarded electronically to student as well as campus dean from the Disability Services Office.
What are the procedures for an animal on campus?
This depends on the type of animal:
- Service Animal
- Limited to a dog or small horse
- School personnel can only ask two questions
- Is this a service dog due to the nature of a disability?
- What is the animal trained to do?
- Cannot ask the type of disability or ask for the dog to perform a task
- Emotional Support Animal (Therapy Animal)
- Is an accommodation
- Documentation would be required to establish need as part of an actual therapeutic process
- Maybe limited to places on campus and animals may vary
- Either category of animal, the animals must be in the control of the owner at all times and
current in their vaccinations. The owner must ensure the health of the animal.
What are some terms used in ADA?
- Otherwise Qualified
An individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, and practices…meets the essential eligibility
requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in the programs or activities provided by a public entity
- Undue Burden
Institutions cannot create complex documentation process and policies that are burdensome or have an effect as to
discourage students from applying
- Fundamentally Alter
Accommodations that would remove requirements deemed essential to its program are not likely to be permitted, which requires an involved determination process by the ARC
- Technical Requirements
- Part of the specific requirements of the program of study besides the academic requirements
- Students must satisfactorily meet all these requirements with or without accommodations, if so, then individual is covered by ADA and will be considered for admission to the program like other non-disabled students
- Intuitions do not have to lower their standard of admission for students with disabilities
- Title II of the ADA
The law used to cover state-funded institutions which states: “No qualified individual with a disability…shall be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity
- Title III of the ADA
Same as above but focuses on private institutions, such as SEC
- Fairly recent – which means current but not recent
- Sufficiently comprehensive as noted in the SEC Disability Manual
- Establish that a disability exists
- Determine the need for reasonable accommodations
- Provided in a timely manner so that the ARC can make a decision
- Turned into the Campus President
- Not all accommodations requested may be granted as this is determined on a case-by-case basis
- Requires an interactive process with the institutional members (such as Campus President) and the student
- Upon the approval of stated accommodations, which is also on a case-by-case basis, a letter (maybe an interim email could be send until letter arrives) will be send to campus deans, campus president and student.
- Afterwards, it is the responsibility of the dean, campus president, and student to meet and discuss implementation of needed accommodations
What happens if a student acknowledges that he/she has a disability but does NOT desire to request accommodations?
The student should still meet with the campus president
- Campus president to meet with student as part of the interactive process
- Document time of meeting with witness
- Send note to ARC regarding situation
- Keep separate file on student indicating refusal of accommodations
- OCR or Office of Civil Rights does not prefer the use of a waiver form
What are some of the differences in the accommodation process in higher education?
Institutions must ensure equal access not equal outcomes, thus in higher education:
- Students self-identify
- Students must pay for any testing, if needed
- Students must seek out services (note that tutoring is not an accommodation as its available to all students)
- Only approved accommodations by ARC will be implemented
- Institutions will not be in contact with parents without student permission
- For SEC, joint responsibility between institution (represented by Campus President and/or Dean) and student for ensuring implementation of accommodations per term, so faculty, deans, student, and CP should meet through this interactive process
- Accommodations focus on equal access, such as granting more time on tests or assignments rather than changes in grading criteria or in a reduction of assignments
What are the procedures if a student or applicant says: “I have a disability”?
- If you are an Admissions Coordinator:
Finish your admissions process, interview, or conversation and then escort the student to the Office of the Campus President rather than the Director of Admissions
- If you are a Financial Aid Officer:
Finish your duties with the person and then escort the student to the Office of the Campus
President rather than the Director of Financial Aid
- If you are a Receptionist:
Notify your supervisor and request for coverage and then escort the student to the Office of the Campus President
- If you are a Bursar/Registrar:
Notify your supervisor and then escort the student to the Office of the Campus President
- If you are a Student Services staff member:
Finish your work with the student and then escort the student to the Office of the Campus President rather than Director of Student Services
- If you are a Dean or an Associate Dean:
Finish your interview or conversation with the student; escort the student to the Office of the Campus President
- If you are a Faculty member:
After your class or on the earliest break escort the student to the Office of the Campus President
Additionally, for faculty (and deans), ensure that as a faculty member, you implement the approved accommodations and talk with the student about their needs as this process must be interactive, if you have questions speak with your dean. Be sure to advise the student to retain the notification letter from the ARC and present it to the faculty for each class wherein the student is enrolled.