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Disability Support Services

Protecting Students Living with IBD

While you are choosing which college to attend, it is also important to learn more about each school’s disability policies. According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act), public, government-funded institutions such as state and regional colleges and vocational programs, are required to make reasonable modifications and adaptations for students with disabilities that significantly impact their education, learning, or physical ability to participate in programs.

Section 504 pertains to all levels of education—grade school to college and even to graduate schools that accept federal funding. One goal of the Rehabilitation Act is to promote the inclusion and integration of people with disabilities into places of learning. This statute reaches beyond education to any federally funded program, providing protection against discrimination based on disability.

Please note that private schools may not be required to make accommodations and adaptations for students who are living with disabilities such as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. To find out if the college you are applying to is required to comply with Section 504, speak to a student services representative or academic advisor. You will discover that most private schools will make proper accommodations for students living with disabilities—but it’s always best to ask first.   Some important accommodations may include:

  • Providing a dorm with close bathroom access or a private bathroom.
  • Mid-morning or late classes if you have bathroom activity in the early morning.
  • Test accommodations (i.e. stop the clock if you have bathroom activity in the middle).

Regardless of which college you attend and whatever accommodations they provide, you should definitely contact your school’s Disability Support Services Office as soon as possible to help you adjust to your new environment.

You can learn more about Section 504 by downloading this article.