The Americans with Disabilities Act is a wide-ranging legislation intended to make society more accessible to people with disabilities. It protects fundamental rights and extends equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities to the areas of public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was the first law to specifically address the needs of students with disabilities. It states in part: “No otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities in the United States...shall solely by reason of his or her 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 and subsequent amendments require that institutions of higher education provide students with disabilities the same opportunity to engage in educational experiences as non-disabled students.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires electronic and informational assets to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Certain standards are required on the Web pages supported by UAB—all information has to be available in a format that anyone can use, regardless of disability, and all pages have to be compatible with assistive devices.