Accessibility Services Policies, Definitions and Access
What is a Disability?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) defines a disability as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Major life activities include, but are not limited to, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
The ADA requires an institution of higher education to provide accommodations to a qualified individual with a disability, provided that the accommodation does not: 1) fundamentally alter the nature of an academic program, or 2) create undue hardship to the institution. An undue hardship refers to proposed accommodations that are impossible, unfeasible, or excessively disruptive or burdensome to administer. Both matriculated and non-matriculated students may request accommodations from Excelsior University.
Additionally, the University is required to abide by the provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which protects otherwise qualified individuals from discrimination based on disability. To be considered otherwise qualified, a student with a disability must be capable, either with or without accommodation, of fulfilling the essential requirements of the educational program.
Requests for Substitutions and Waivers of Requirements
The appropriate faculty will consider requests for substitution or waiver of specific degree requirements if that substitution or waiver does not alter the academic integrity of the degree. Excelsior is not required to substitute courses or examinations considered fundamental to the academic program, but it will consider possible course or examination substitutions (if disability proves to be a barrier to fulfillment of the course or examination in question). The faculty will consider the feasibility for available alternatives and determine whether a course or examination substitution is possible without lowering academic standards or requiring substantial program alteration.
Management of Student Information
Accessibility Services receives and retains in a secure manner all inquiries and requests for accommodation and the required documentation. Requests for accommodation and related documentation will be scanned into the ADA database and the original documents will be retained by the University during the period of the student’s enrollment. Access to information regarding student requests for accommodation is on a “need to know” basis consistent with the requirements of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 USC 1232g and related regulations at 34 CFR Part 99 regarding the confidentiality of and access to student records. To preserve student confidentiality, all information regarding requests for or delivery of accommodations is housed in a secure ADA database and access is restricted to staff supporting Excelsior’s accessibility services processes.
Excelsior will maintain a barrier-free Web site. To further this commitment, we are using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, Level AA (WCAG 2.1 AA), which provides standards for making web content more accessible for all visitors, including people with disabilities. In the interest of staying ahead of emerging technology, the Excelsior website is tested regularly with the latest software and methodologies to maintain accessible content for all. We are committed to addressing any issues that may arise while accessing our digital content and will readily aid those with disabilities as needed if immediate solutions are not available. The Excelsior website is consistently tested with assistive technology tools including screen reader software, keyboard-only functionality, color contrast and magnification software. Usability is also tested to ensure the minimum accessibility standards are surpassed.
Each page of the website will include a link to a form allowing users to submit feedback on the site; any issues with accessing content on this website should be submitted there. This information will be compiled and considered during the regular website review process. Any submitted feedback will be responded to within 72 hours. To obtain more information on this topic, see: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
In accordance with the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, Excelsior University is committed to ensuring accessibility in Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) and its learning resources including textbooks, labs, simulations, etc. Excelsior University strives to ensure that all individuals including those with disabilities, encompassing staff, students, faculty, and the public, have equally effective access to the services and content that Excelsior makes available.
We are endorsed by Ablr, an accessibility company who employs and utilizes people who are blind and visually impaired in providing audits, training, and consulting for all digital content.