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Students with Disabilities and the Law

Three laws obligate the University of Wyoming to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability and provide guidance to ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided an opportunity to fully participate in the University's programs and services.

"No otherwise qualified individual with disabilities in the United States... shall solely by reason of his disability, 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."

Section 504 (Subpart E) is the cornerstone for individuals with disabilities seeking to participate in higher education. The University of Wyoming has been bound by these rules for over 20 years, which specifically state that UW may not:

  • Limit the number of otherwise qualified students with disabilities admitted;

  • Make pre-admission inquiries as to whether an applicant is disabled;

  • Exclude an otherwise qualified student with a disability from any course of study;

  • Provide less financial assistance to students with disabilities than is provided to non-disabled students, or limit eligibility for scholarships on the basis of disability;

  • Counsel students with disabilities into more restrictive career paths than are recommended to students who do not have disabilities;

  • Measure student achievement using methods that adversely discriminate against the student with a disability; or

  • Establish rules and policies that have the effect of limiting participation of students with disabilities in educational programs or activities.

Section 504 also requires that institutions provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, and academic adjustments that do not essentially alter the course of study to ensure access for programs and services for individuals with disabilities. Disability Support Services determines each individual's eligibility for accommodations, evaluates the need for auxiliary aids and services as well as academic adjustments, and then works with faculty to implement these services.


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 extended the components of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 beyond those entities receiving federal financial assistance -- to the private sector. Its purpose is to ensure civil rights for some 43 million Americans with disabilities by providing a clear mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title II(A) of the ADA is the section which impacts the University of Wyoming. Its regulations are very similar to Section 504's and serve as a strong reminder that public institutions must routinely review and modify their policies and procedures to ensure that programs and facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

As a result of the implementation of the ADA, UW underwent a self-evaluation to review the University's status in both physical and programmatic accessibility. Funds have been, and continue to be appropriated by the Wyoming legislature to assist with identified, necessary facility modifications. In addition, UW continues to evaluate and modify its programmatic approaches to ensure continued accessibility.

The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), passed in January 2009, clarifies the definition of ‘disability' and offers more specific guidance regarding how documentation of a disability should be considered and how accommodation decisions are made. The long-term impact of the ADAAA will emerge as regulations to implement it are developed and published.

Disability Support Services assists the University of Wyoming meet its obligations under Section 504, the ADA and the ADA Amendments Act through its program of services and its efforts to advise the administration on issues pertinent to disability and higher education. DSS staff members participate with other members of the campus community on the University Accessibility Committee, which is an advisory committee to the University administration on issues of physical and programmatic accessibility at UW.

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Contact Us

Disability Support Services

University of Wyoming

Dept. 3135, 1000 E. University Ave.

109 Knight Hall

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307 766-3073

TeleType: 307 766-3073

Fax: 307 766-3298


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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