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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois



Man with crutches graduating and wearing cap and gownFind answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about higher education. Just click on a question below to reveal the answer associated with it.

These entities are covered under Title III of the ADA if they are private (such as the Law School Admissions Council) or under Title II of the ADA if they are public (such as the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar).

Yes. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says students with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education – known as special education. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provide additional rights outside of the special education context.

Examples of when the ADA/Section 504 would apply are:

  • Gaining physical access to the school
  • Assisting students with diabetes who need to take medication
  • Providing documents in alternate formats for students with visual impairments
  • Providing American Sign Language interpreters for students who are deaf

No. The ADA and Section 504 would apply to anyone seeking access to the school. For example, parents who use a wheelchair have rights under the ADA and Section 504 if they cannot enter the school to watch a child at a sporting event or to attend a parent/teacher conference. For an example, see:

Yes. Title II of the ADA covers colleges and universities that are public, meaning they are state-owned and -run. Title III of the ADA covers private colleges and universities. If a higher education institution receives federal money, it would also be covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Yes. Failing to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices or procedures to accommodate a person’s disability-related request is discrimination, unless the school can show that making the changes would cause undue hardship or fundamentally alter the nature of its services.

In Illinois, people can contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights:

Chicago Office
Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Citigroup Center
500 W. Madison St., Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661-4544

Telephone: 312-730-1560
FAX: 312-730-1576; TDD: 800-877-8339

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Last updated: April 10, 2014

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