Does a postsecondary institution have to provide specific hardware or software (known as assistive technology) that an individual with a disability requests so that he or she can access information technology used on campus?
Title II of the ADA (which covers public postsecondary institutions) requires that public institutions must give "primary consideration" to the requests of the individual with a disability when determining what type of auxiliary aid and service is necessary (28 C.F.R. §35.160(b)(2)). For example, a student might request that the institution purchase a specific kind of assistive technology, such as screen enlargement software, as an individual accommodation so the student could access the web for educational activities. While the postsecondary institution may be required to provide an accommodation, it does not necessarily need to provide the individual's requested aid or service if an alternative is generally regarded by knowledgeable experts as effective in the context in which it will be used. (OCR 09-97-2002.RES)
Note: This article is an excerpt from the larger AccessIT document Web Accessibility and Individuals with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education: The Legal Issues.