Disability Law

There are several laws that address HTC’s responsibilities regarding individuals with disabilities. These include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

HTC has two basic duties under the law regarding individuals with disabilities:

HTC must not discriminate against individuals on the basis of disability. A ‘qualified’ individual with a disability is someone who, with or without accommodation, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs, services, or activities provided by this college. HTC may not treat qualified individuals with disabilities differently from individuals without disabilities or have a policy that disparately impacts individuals with disabilities.

HTC must provide access to its programs and services, and appropriately accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities who seek accommodations to allow them to effectively participate in those programs and services.

The laws apply only if an individual establishes that he or she meets the legal definition of ‘disabled’. Sometimes meeting this standard is difficult and requires information from appropriate professionals.

What is a disability?
An individual with a disability is any person who:

Has a physical, mental or emotional impairment, that substantially or materially limits one or more of their major life activities;

Has a record of such an impairment;


Is regarded as having such an impairment.

What are accommodations?
Accommodations are modifications or supports that give a student with a disability an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from college. Accommodations are adjustments to how things are usually done. The purpose of effective accommodations is to increase a student’s chances for success.

Disability Services works with students with disabilities and HTC officials to answer questions about the college's compliance with disability laws, such as what is considered an accommodation.

Accommodations can be provided in various ways. The following are brief descriptions and examples of the most common categories of accommodations that permit a qualified student with a disability to effectively participate in the educational process.

Changes to a classroom environment or task; examples might include:

  • extended time for an exam,
  • alternate location for an exam,
  • materials in alternate formats such as enlarged print or electronic text.

Removal of architectural barriers; examples might include:

  • adapting a classroom to meet the needs of a student who uses a wheelchair.

Modifications to policies, practices or procedures.

  • considered on a case-by-case basis

Provision of auxiliary aids and services; examples might include:

  • providing a sign language interpreter
  • providing a note taker or scribe

In accordance with the law, there are some modifications that HTC does not provide as an accommodation. Examples include:

  • personal devices such as wheelchairs or glasses
  • personal services, such as private tutoring or personal attendants (Note: Tutoring services are available to all registered students in the campus Learning Resource Centers.)
  • modifications that lower or change course standards or program standards
  • modifications that would change the essence of a program, such as allowing a student in an auto mechanics program to take a written test on repairing an engine instead of actually repairing an engine or allowing a student in a public speaking class to substitute a written paper for an oral presentation
  • Services that are unduly burdensome, administratively or financially.

How do I request an accommodation?
To receive an accommodation you, the student, must first request the accommodation. In some cases, you may be asked to provide documentation of your disability.  The Disability Services office is the designated office to certify eligibility for disability services, determine accommodations, and maintain documentation separate from other college records. In general, the college will not act on its own to provide an accommodation to a student unless or until one is requested by the student.

If your disability or need for accommodations is not evident, Disability Services will generally require documentation of your disability by an appropriate licensed professional in order to evaluate a request for accommodations. Documentation should reflect the nature of your disability and how it affects you in an academic setting. The law allows the college to request recent documentation. If the disability has changed or fluctuates in intensity, then an up-to-date evaluation of the condition may be requested to determine accommodations.

Accommodations are arranged each term and students need to communicate with Disability Services prior to or at the beginning of each term to arrange for academic accommodations.

What if I have a concern about my accommodations or access to programs, services, or activities?
At Hennepin Technical College, you are responsible for notifying the Disability Services office if the accommodations that have been provided do not meet your needs. If you have attempted to resolve issues related to your accommodations but you feel that HTC has failed to meet your needs, you may file a complaint. Complaints generally are about issues such as:

  • accommodations provided
  • timely implementation of accommodations
  • access to buildings
  • access to information

Complaints are treated seriously at HTC and it has processes in place to investigate and help resolve them. Complaints should be filed in a timely manner and are usually, but do not need to be, submitted in written form. 

For students with disabilities, the complaint process progresses as follows: