Universities and Colleges Are Required to Develop, Implement and Update an ADA Transition Plan
Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), universities and colleges are required to develop, implement, and update an ADA Transition Plan.
Universities and colleges must follow the ADA guidelines and may not deny the benefits of its programs, activities, and services to persons with disabilities. A Transition Plan will help to identify any physical or programmatic obstacles that limit access to any people with varying abilities. This process will:
- Identify physical obstacles that limit access to facilities for individuals with disabilities
- Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible
- Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance and, if the time period of the Transition Plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period
- Identify the person(s) responsible for implementation of the Transition Plan
A Transition Plan for universities and colleges would focus on campus facilities, academic and recreational programs, and university life which includes all common areas students utilize, such as sidewalks, traffic signals, construction zones, and buildings. All sidewalks, pedestrian malls, and foot bridges would also need to be evaluated.
A Transition Plan Helps to Identify Barriers
The Transition Plan not only helps identify physical barriers within the facilities and pedestrian elements, but will prioritize those locations for remediation.
Also included should be paths of travel from parking lots and transit facilities to destination buildings (academic, housing, and support facilities). If a university/college facility is deemed non-compliant and requires upgrades, the Transition Plan will address priorities, timelines, and budget estimates of the upgrades needed for compliance. Transition Plans will also utilize surveys which will include the planning efforts of existing transportation systems and updates to the campus disabled parking plan.
Besides the facilities, a comprehensive Transition Plan will also evaluate all program requirements, university/college policies and procedures, academic, recreational, artistic, housing, and elective programs, including campus life programs such as fraternities and sororities, chess clubs, political clubs, etc. The university’s hiring/firing practices will also be evaluated to ensure employees with disabilities have an even chance at advancement, and all emergency planning will be reviewed to ensure it includes how to best serve students and visitors with disabilities.
A Transition Plan Execution of the Evaluation and Implementation
While a Transition Plan is surveying a university’s/college’s compliance needs, it is important to note that the university team will be directly involved with the execution of the evaluation and implementation process to minimize any potential impacts to teaching, research, and other daily activities. The Transition Plan will assist the university/college in prioritizing required eliminations of barriers and provide applicable alternatives and cost estimates. The Plan must then be updated periodically until all accessibility barriers are removed.
It is important that all universities and colleges stay compliant with Title II of the ADA. Major fines can result if barriers are not removed to provide accessibility. More importantly, universities and colleges that do not develop a comprehensive ADA Transition Plan will soon be ineligible for federal funding or grants. If your university or college is in need of a Transition Plan, please contact us here, and Accessology can help you get started in developing your plan.