FAQs About Accessibility Services

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990. This law reinforced the concept of reasonable accommodations in education. The legal discussion in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states in part:

No otherwise qualified handicapped individual 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.

We assure that all educational programs and services be available to students with disabilities. We must provide physical and programmatic access by means of reasonable accommodations. This includes removal of architectural barriers, provision of auxiliary services, teaching strategies and institutional policies.

Who is disabled?

  • Individuals who have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.
  • Individuals who have a record of having such an impairment.
  • Individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a change in the learning environment that guarantees equal access to programs and services. Qualified students with disabilities are entitled to an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the academic community.

Reasonable accommodations are provided for students who qualify (students must voluntarily self-identify and request accommodations). Colleges are not required to provide accommodations that would fundamentally alter the academic requirements that are essential to program of studies.

What are some examples of reasonable accommodations for registered students?

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Testing Accommodations (extended time, low distraction environment)
  • Notetaking Assistance
  • Access to PowerPoint Slides
  • Audio Record Lecture
  • Preferential Seating
  • Alternative Textbook Format
  • Scribe/Reader
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Captioning/Transcription
  • Assistive Technology

How do I obtain accommodations?

  1. Once you have applied to Cecil College, you must complete a Disability Accommodations Request Form on Cecil Accommodate. This includes providing disability documentation; learn more under "What are the disability documentation requirements?" question below.
  2. Once received, you will receive an email through your chawk email account with a link to schedule a required intake meeting to learn about the services and support available to you, determine an accommodation plan, and learn about your role in securing accommodations each semester.
  3. After the intake meeting, you will receive a letter through your chawk email account detailing required next steps to secure accommodations for the semester through Cecil Accommodate.

ADA law requires the student to disclose their disability, we encourage the registered student to complete (or be involved in the completion of) the Disability Accommodations Request Form and not others on the student’s behalf.

What are the disability documentation requirements?

To obtain accommodations, you must provide disability documentation that meets Accessibility Services guidelines and verifies eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADAAA).

Accessibility Services requires that all students requesting accommodations provide thorough disability documentation that:

  • should be current and relevant, but not necessarily recent.
  • must be from a qualified professional, meaning they must be a licensed or properly credentialed professional who has appropriate training and experience in the specific area of the disability and has no close or personal relationship with the student.

To assist you with obtaining appropriate documentation, we have created these Accessibility Services Disability Documentation Guidelines which contain examples of helpful documentation or information. Here you will also find links to our Disability Verification Forms, which are another option for obtaining documentation.

When should I request accommodations for a documented disability?

While you can request accommodations at any time before, during, or after the semester, it is highly recommended that you request accommodations at least 2 weeks before the start of semester in order to provide sufficient time to complete the registration process prior to classes starting. It is in your best interest to register for accommodations before classes start because accommodations are not retroactive under ADA law, meaning that you cannot apply them to any work completed prior to the date on the accommodation notification letter that is sent to instructors.

Are accommodations retroactive?

No, not under the ADA law. It is important for the student to contact Accessibility Services prior to the semester starting; retroactive accommodations cannot be granted.

How much time should I allow to register for accommodations?

This will vary based on the amount of time it may take to obtain documentation (some students have documentation already, while some will need to meet with their doctor to request documentation), student availability for the intake appointment, and the amount of time it takes for the student to complete final registration steps after the intake appointment. Once documentation is submitted, the registration process can take as little as one day, but may likely take longer depending on student and coordinator availability for the required intake appointment, and then the amount of time it takes the student to complete forms and any other required steps. The intake meeting is always scheduled for one hour, but generally lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.

Keep in mind that all registration steps must be completed before Accessibility Services can send accommodation notification letters to instructors. If action is needed to complete registration, you will receive email reminders from accessibilityservices@nullcecil.edu, so be sure to check your student email account on an ongoing basis.

What steps can I take if I believe I have been denied access to educational opportunities or reasonable accommodations?

The ADA, Section 504, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protect every student with a disability who is participating in higher education.

  • ADA states, "no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by such entity."
  • Section 504 states, "No otherwise qualified person with a disability … shall, solely on the basis of disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
  • FERPA is a federal law that provides all students with certain rights concerning their student education records and protects the privacy of such records.

If you believe that you have been denied access to educational opportunities or reasonable accommodations required by law, you may contact Accessibility Services directly for assistance. If you wish to file a complaint with Accessibility Services, please refer to our ADA/504 Grievance Procedure.

Does the College offer accessible parking? How can I determine accessible routes to access all areas on campus?

Accessible parking is available in all lots on each campus. Accessible parking permits may be obtained through the Public Safety Office, located on the North East Campus in the Technology Center (Building D), Room 103B. Please call (410) 287-1605 for more information.

To determine an accessible route on our North East campus, please use our Interactive Campus Map and select "Accessibility" from the map legend on the right. Here you will find accessible pathways throughout campus as well as specific locations for accessible parking.