ADA Frequently Asked Questions

What is the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Higher Education of 1990?

The Americans with Disabilities Act on Higher Education of 1990 impacts the whole institution including activities, facilities, programs, and employment. In regards to academics, the Americans with Disabilities Act on Higher Education 1990 required higher education institutions to provide reasonable accommodations for students. For more information please go to

What constitutes a disability?

A disability is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Learning is an example of a major life activity. If you have a mental or physical condition, a history of such a condition, or a condition which may be considered by others as substantially limiting, you may have a legally defined disability.

What does substantially limiting mean?

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, substantially limiting is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people.

What is a major life activity?

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a major life activity is defined as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

The ADA Amendment Acts of 2008 expanded this list to also include eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, reading, bending, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. In addition the ADAAA also includes major bodily functions (e.g., "functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions").

What should I know when applying to Texas A&M University? Are there any special procedures?

Students with disabilities must apply to TAMU through the regular admissions procedure. There are no special admissions procedures. A student may, however, apply to the companies that administer the standardized admission exams (such as Educational Testing Services and The College Board) for provision of accommodations when taking standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT and GRE. Contact the exam administration companies for further information on how to apply for and make arrangements for standardized exam accommodations.

What are the responsibilities of a student with a disability if he or she would like to receive accommodations?

A student with a disability is responsible for requesting accommodations through Disability Services (DS). DS will not seek students out. A student with a disability is also responsible for providing acceptable documentation of his or her disability that supports the accommodation requests.

I have a physical disability and have trouble getting around. What types of accommodations are geared just for me?

Students with physical disabilities are encouraged to register with Disability Services every semester so that their Access Coordinator can help them with access to buildings and other university activities.  Disability Services partners with Facilities Services to address concerns with building and campus access. or 979-845-1637

Faculty members who need accommodations should contact the Dean of Faculties Office or 979-845-4274

Staff member should contact Human Resources.; 979-845-4141). 

Visitors to campus should contact University Risk & Compliance; 979-845-0977).

Due to the large size of the campus, paratransit services are available as needed. 

What role do parents play in the process?

Students who are 18 years old or older are legally recognized as adults. In this case, the student is responsible for their own accommodation requests and disability-related decisions. However, students are encouraged to have an open dialogue with their parents. Parents can be a wonderful source of support.

For more specific questions regarding disabilities and accommodations, refer to the Texas A&M University Disability Services website or call 979-845-1637.