We welcome students with disabilities to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
It is our goal to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to complete a chosen curriculum by providing accessibility to program offerings. This information is a guide to your rights, responsibilities and procedures for obtaining and using the support services for students with disabilities. If you feel unsure about what you should do, contact the Student Support Services office or the Dean of Enrollment Services at the campus or center nearest you.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive national mandate that ensures basic civil rights for individuals with disabilities. The ADA provides assurance of access to education programs and employment opportunities for adults with special learning needs. The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. These major life activities include seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself and working.
Section 504: No otherwise qualified handicapped individual shall, solely by reason of his 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.
–Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Specific provisions of Section 504 related to postsecondary education prohibit discrimination against handicapped persons in recruitment, admission and treatment after admission. According to the regulations, colleges and universities are required to make “reasonable adjustments” to permit handicapped students to fulfill academic requirements and to assure that disabled students are not effectively excluded from programs because of the absence of auxiliary aids.
A person qualified for postsecondary education under Section 504 is “one who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to Admission or participation in the recipient’s education program or activity. A handicapped person is defined by the regulations as “any person who (I) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (II) has a record of such impairment or (III) is regarded as having such impairment.” Note: The definition of physical or mental impairment includes specific learning disabilities.)
Subpart E of the regulations describes ways of making postsecondary education accessible to disabled students. These include the following: a. Modifications “as are necessary” to ensure that academic requirements are not discriminatory. Modifications may include changes in the length of time required for completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted. (The regulations state that academic requirements that can be demonstrated as essential to a program of study or related to licensing are not considered discriminatory.) b. The requirement that exams given to evaluate a students’ progress actually test the student’s achievement rather than reflect the students impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills. c. Auxiliary aids, including taped texts, interpreters for students with hearing impairments, readers for students with visual impairments, classroom equipment adapted for use by students with manual impairments, and other similar services.