Just like many other places, universities and colleges are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA prohibits discrimination against those who are disabled. One area among many that is protected by this act is accessibility – parking spaces included.

On a college campus, accessibility is crucial. Title II of the ADA specifically speaks to education institutions. Under it, these institutions are required to make opportunities and activities open and accessible to each and every student. Disabled parking is one way that schools accomplish this mission.

If you’re getting ready to head off to college but are unsure what accommodations are available to you for parking, then read on to find out all you need to know.

Image by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash: Apply for a handicap parking permit on a college campus to help you access everything you need.

What Types of Disabled Permits Are Available?

The type of permit you can get will differ from school to school, but each school will have some sort of disabled parking permit available to you.

It’s likely the school will require you to present a disabled parking placard from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a campus parking permit. If you don’t have one, then check with your school’s parking operations department to find out what you do need.

Some schools offer various types of disabled parking permits, such as:

  • Temporary parking permits – For those who are infrequent visitors to the campus and don’t park there regularly
  • Student disabled parking permits – For students who attend the university, so they may park in the available disabled parking spots

At some universities, anyone with a disabled parking placard can park in ADA accessible spaces, medical spaces, in time zones for longer than the time specified, and in spaces designated as “A” parking spaces. However, colleges and universities prefer it when staff, studies, volunteers, and faculty display valid parking permits issued by the school’s parking operations division.

Where Can You Park?

Each parking lot or parking structure on campus is required to have a certain amount of handicapped parking spots due to the accommodations outlined in the ADA. There should be handicap parking spots for all vehicles as well as spots that are accessible for vans.

Aside from allocated spaces, you can also park in any space that is designated for students and in metered spaces – but with a disabled parking permit, you will not need to pay the meter or adhere to posted time limits.

Where Should You Avoid Parking?

Even with a valid disabled parking permit, you should not park in fire lanes, restricted areas, or reserved areas. Also, avoid any area that is not expressly designated for parking. Red curbs or spaces with blue crosshatches are also spaces you cannot park.

Where Are Disabled Spaces Located?

Under the ACA, there must be convenient parking spaces available for those with disabled parking permits. These spaces are normally as close to the entrances to building as possible. Reach out to parking operations at your school for a detailed list of available disabled parking spaces.

Do You Have To Pay For A Disabled Parking Permit?

This is another aspect of disabled parking that likely differs by institution. You should expect to pay for access to campus parking whether you are disabled or not. Many campuses abide by the idea that all users of campus parking are to pay shared costs for the privilege.

Disabled Parking - college library
Image by Marie Bellando-Mitjans on Unsplash: Some of the best disability-friendly colleges in America have specific services for disabled students. Ask your college for more information!

Most Disability-Friendly Schools in the US

A lot of things go into a decision to attend a university, but for those with disabilities, there are additional factors to consider. The accessibility of the campus is one very important factor. Luckily, many colleges and universities in the United States recognize that it’s important to provide as equitable an environment as possible for their students, including those who are disabled.

Some of the best disability friendly colleges in America include:

  • University of Arizona – This school ranks high because it has excellent accessible workout facilities and services that help students to find housing that can accommodate their needs.
  • Indiana University Bloomington – This is an accessible campus that also boasts stairway lifts in older buildings and accommodation arrangements with assistive technology in its classes.
  • University of Michigan Ann Arbor – This campus was the first in the country to introduce an adaptive technology computer lab and other services that help accommodate disabled students.

If you’re about to apply for college, make sure you’re prepared by understanding the accessibility options available throughout your school.

Featured image by Matt Ragland on Unsplash