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Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173960
Bozeman, MT 59717-3960


Tel: (406) 994-2824
TTY: (406) 994-6701
Fax: (406) 994-3943

180 Strand Union Building

Brenda York

> Office of Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services  > Disabled Student Services
Disability Law

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is generally regarded as the first civil rights legislation for persons with disabilities on the national level. Included within the various sections of that Title are mandates for nondiscrimination in federal agencies (Section 501), the establishment of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Boards (Section 502) and nondiscrimination on the basis of disability with regard to employment in entities and institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Of direct importance for the purpose of this guide is the mandate known as Section 504, which is a program access statue.

    Section 504 requires that no otherwise qualified person with a disability be subjected to discrimination, be denied access to, or be denied the benefits of any program or activity provided by any institution or entity receiving federal financial assistance. Since its passage, this mandate has promoted the development of disability support services programs in colleges and universities across the country. While Section 504 does not require that colleges and universities develop special education programming for disabled students, it does require that an institution be prepared to make appropriate academic adjustments and reasonable modifications to policies and practices in order to allow the full participation of students with disabilities in the same programs and activities available to non-disabled students.

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, government agencies and recipients of federal funds (such as MSU) were prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability. With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, a much more inclusive piece of legislation, that prohibition was extended to include the private sector. MSU now falls under both the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA. Although the ADA has expanded civil rights protection at MSU and other postsecondary institutions in some ways, most notably in the area of telecommunications, it hasn't significantly changed MSU's responsibilities in terms of program access for students. Like Section 504, the ADA requires that MSU make appropriate adjustments and modifications in order to allow full participation of students with disabilities. Though the ADA may have slightly strengthened the institution's resolve, MSU had been making such adjustments and modifications for many years prior to the passage of the ADA.

    View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 08/15/2013
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