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This situation is ameliorated somewhat by the assistance provided by administrative units such as Student Disability Services (SDS).

This and similar units are responsible for reviewing documentation provided by students and for making a determination as to eligibility status and appropriate accommodations and adjustments, if any.

Nonetheless, once it is determined that a plaintiff is impaired and that such impairment substantially limits a major life activity, it then is necessary to ascertain whether the plaintiff also is "otherwise qualified." Actually, only Section 504 employs the term "otherwise qualified" (29 U. Accordingly, her participation would have required major program modifications and the lowering of standards.

Comparisons between actual and potential performance were insufficient alone, while comparisons of the plaintiffs' respective performance levels to those of other medical school students were unnecessary. After considering the "average person" benchmark, the court selected the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission standard for working (as compared to the life activity of learning) in which "substantially limits" was defined as occurring when a person is "significantly restricted in the ability to perform either a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs in various classes as compared to the average person having comparable training, skills and abilities" (emphasis added) (29 C. Another federal district court employed a third option that is similar to the second when it concluded that the plaintiff in its case (i.e., a football player who had been declared academically ineligible to compete in intercollegiate athletics) should have his ability to learn compared to the average unimpaired student (Bowers v. NCAA, 1998, where another court held that a student's poor performance was due to a lack of motivation, preparation, and effort, rather than disability). In a related case, the Supreme Court reviewed an appeal by an applicant who was denied admission to a nursing program solely due to a serious hearing disability (Southeastern Community College v. After exploring possible options, college officials determined that there existed no reasonable accommodation that would allow the plaintiff to safely participate in or receive the benefits of the nursing pro gram given her dependence on lip reading.

Federal regulations for the ADA support the "general population" approach and state that a person is substantially limited when his or her life activities are "restricted as to the conditions, manner, or duration under which they can be performed in comparison to most people"' (emphasis added) (28 C. Given these inconsistent interpretations by lower courts, it is important that Congress or appellate courts resolve the threshold standard for "substantially limits." Presumably, if testing agencies and colleges ultimately are held to the standard for "working," given that both degrees and licensure are required for employment, the demand for accommodation could increase significantly. § 794(a)); the ADA specifies only that the person with a disability be "qualified" (42 U. She had requested that she not be required to take clinical courses and that a full-time supervisor be assigned to her.

However, such units often are inadequately funded, given the growth in the number of students requesting accommodation, and seldom have experts on staff who are knowledgeable about the wide range of disabilities that colleges are now attempting to accommodate.

Organizationally, this article briefly reviews Section 504 and the ADA and identifies the criteria that are used to determine whether a student is "disabled." Then, specific areas of admission, accommodation, and dismissal are examined.

In 1995, the Seventh Circuit had a case in which a law school applicant had been denied admission based in part on his low GPA and LSAT score (Mallett v.

Marquette University, 1995; see also University of Michigan, 199 1). Of particular significance in recent years has been the growth in the number of students with learning disabilities. Over 35% of the freshmen in 1996 who reported having a disability were purported to have a learning disability -- an increase from 24.9% in 1991 (HEATH Resource Center, 1998). Thomas Today, there are more students with documented disabilities in higher education than ever before -- 140,142 freshmen reported having a disability in 1996 (HEATH Resource Center, 1998). That figure represents over 9% of all freshmen (HEATH Resource Center, 1998), as compared with only 2.6% in 1978 (HEATH Resource Center, 1995). This section includes a discussion of preadmission activities, the process used for making admissions decisions, judicial deference that typically is given by courts, and the use of probationary admission practices. Typically, preadmission activities include the completion of forms, the payment of fees, interviews, and testing. Importantly, the burden of showing that an appropriate alternative is available rests with the assistant secretary of education. § 104.44(c); see also University of Minnesota, 1995). Two caveats, however: Students without disabilities need not be accommodated; testing services need not provide an accommodation to a student with a disability that would "advantage" the applicant rather than simply "accommodate"' his or her disability. Where appropriate and needed accommodations are provided by testing groups (e.g., National Testing Service), it is common that college officials are alerted (e.g., with the placement of an asterisk by the score) to the fact that the test was not taken under standard conditions.

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