Student Rights and Responsibilities


Students with disabilities meet the same admission standards as do their peers without disabilities. They are therefore considered to be "otherwise qualified" and may not be discriminated against on the basis of their disabilities lest the institution have violated their civil rights as persons with disabilities. Disability status is not factored into admission decisions.

Students with disabilities must self-identify to the KOKUA Program and complete the intake process before receiving disability access services (commonly referred to as accommodations, academic adjustments and auxiliary aides). To ensure prompt and effective provision of services, students should contact KOKUA as early as possible for initial intake and before the start of each term thereafter.


Mānoa students who are pursuing disability access services are required to participate in KOKUA’s initial intake appointment. This intake appointment with a KOKUA Counselor will begin an interactive process with KOKUA so that we might understand the connection between your disability and related access service needs. KOKUA will learn more about your disability condition and understand how this impacts your learning. During this appointment, KOKUA will determine what services you are authorized to receive.

Student Responsibilities

Current students are requested to meet with their assigned KOKUA Counselor at least once each term to discuss current and future needs. If access services are needed for the current or upcoming term, students need to sign KOKUA’s Service Agreement Form. KOKUA will never disclose your disability status or otherwise arrange for services without your express permission.

KOKUA students are expected to be equal partners with KOKUA and faculty in communicating access needs and requests in a timely way, and KOKUA students are expected to follow KOKUA’s respective procedures and policies. All students, including those with disabilities, are expected to abide by the University's Student Conduct Code.

Disability Civil Rights Laws

Terms like IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act), IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) and Special Education are K-12 terms that do not apply to postsecondary institutions.

The disability-related civil rights laws that apply in postsecondary institutions are: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Section 504

Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive federal funding.

Under Section 504 regulations, postsecondary institutions are also required to provide "academic adjustments" and "auxiliary aids" to qualified students with disabilities in order to afford these students an equal opportunity to participate in the school’s program(s).

In order to be protected under Section 504, students must be considered "qualified" – i.e. they must be able to meet all academic and/or technical standards for admission or participation in the educational program or activity. In addition, they must have a "disability," which means that they:

  1. have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  2. have a record of such impairment;
  3. are regarded as having such an impairment.

"Major life activities" include seeing, hearing, learning, reading, concentrating, and thinking.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Title II of the ADA applies to all public colleges and universities, regardless of whether they receive federal funding. Under Title II regulations, institutions are also required to take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.

In order to receive an academic adjustment or auxiliary aid and service – commonly referred to as accommodations – a student must self-identify that he/she has a disability. Postsecondary institutions are not required to provide an accommodation that would change essential academic requirements; would fundamentally alter the nature of a service, program or activity; or would result in an undue financial or administrative burden.