Sen. Fine

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Fine’s legislation to require public institutions to provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities if they meet transparent eligibility requirements passed the Senate, making it one step closer to becoming law.

“Destigmatizing disabilities in our society is a multi-step process,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “Ensuring accommodations are easily accessible to university students is a good place to start.”

Currently, federal law only protects students with disabilities seeking public higher education from being discriminated against based on their disability and does not outline the need for reasonable academic accommodations past high school. Senate Bill 99 would establish a process for students with disabilities to receive reasonable accommodations from public universities and colleges.

This measure would define the types of documents that universities must accept as proof of a disability in order for a student to receive the accommodations, including diagnostic testing or other recent documents. From this information, colleges and universities would be required to provide reasonable accommodations that they deem to be appropriate for the student requesting the services. This will ensure that students will receive the supports they need to thrive in higher education.

Additionally, public universities would also be required to adopt transparent policies regarding disability services available and to share the information with students and families so that prospective students with disabilities can make informed decisions about the quality of accessibility services a university can provide them. All of these statutes will help students with disabilities be better supported when pursuing higher education.

“Students should not face barriers to access necessary accommodations for their disabilities,” said Fine. “It is long past time that protections requiring these accommodations are codified so that students with disabilities are granted necessary supports from their college or university.” 

Senate Bill 99 passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 29. It now goes to the House for further discussion.