Academic Issues

While at college or your university, it is very possible that you will face some type of academic issue throughout your time. These issues can range from issues with grades, disability accommodations, and much more. When these issues arise, it is critical that they are addressed in order to protect not only your current rights but your entire future - both academic and professional. Issues that occur while in this important stage of life can impact your future career, and have long-lasting consequences. With the help of a highly experienced attorney, you can ensure that your rights are best protected.

If you or your child are dealing with academic issues, experienced academic issues defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help. You deserve to have your rights protected, and the Lento Law Firm has helped countless students with academic issues at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States.

Experienced Academic Issues Attorney

A veteran of both the nation's highest-stakes court systems, Joseph D. Lento has spent close to 20 years passionately advocating for students. As an attorney, he learned the practice of law in the trenches, dedicating himself to finding solutions to clients' matters both in and out of the courtroom. At times, a student's academic matter can be resolved diplomatically, and he is a skillful negotiator. At other times, resolving a client's matter requires additional efforts, and with the right attorney at your side, your rights will be well protected.

Academic Issues Faced by College Students

College students may face a great many different academic issues during their time in school. Whether you are in your undergraduate studies or have moved on to graduate work, these possible issues follow you everywhere you go in higher education. Schools are on the lookout for the slightest infractions, or perceived infractions in many cases. A great many simple misunderstandings can get blown out of proportion, and schools are too quick to assume the worst of you when that is simply not the case.

Issues with Grades

Your class grades are an incredibly important part of why you are in school and can have a significant effect on your future employment opportunities. A single bad grade in a class can weigh down your total grade point average, acting as an anchor, always pulling that average down. When a bad grade is improper or unwarranted, it is vitally important that you fight the bad grade properly through the process, but with tenacity at all times.

If you get a bad grade in a class that is unwarranted for some reason, you can file a grade appeal. This asks the university to modify a course grade. A student must have grounds for why the grade must be changed, not simply because he or she is unhappy with it. These reasons may include, but are not limited to:

  • The assignment of a grade was imposed based on components other than the academic performance of a student (personal bias, partiality)
  • An error was made in the calculation of a grade
  • The assignment of a grade was imposed for reasons that deviate from the established standards and criteria
  • An instructor failed to notify students of criteria in regard to grade determination
  • Arbitrary and inconsistent guidelines applied to the evaluation of a student's performance
  • The overall grade was given on the basis of discrimination, harassment or malice

Most schools enact a process through which students can appeal their grades, but these processes are often landmines of detailed requirements that, if not followed exactly, can result in dismissal of your request on technical grounds. With the help of an experienced attorney at your side, you can rest assured your case will be fought with knowledge and hard work.

Extenuating Circumstances: Issues Students Face

Not every student has a perfect life all the way throughout their higher education. At times, a student may face difficult circumstances that can have an adverse effect on the way he or she performs in school. Many schools, when properly notified of these circumstances, can make arrangements for you or even provide you assistance.

These circumstances may include:

  • medical conditions (illness, depression, medical treatment)
  • loss of a loved one (especially close relatives such as parents or siblings)
  • domestic abuse or victim of a crime
  • serious injury (i.e. a car accident)

Often, however, it is only after you receive bad or even failing grades in classes that you realize that the extenuating circumstances were having such a negative effect on your academic abilities. In that case, it is often through a grade appeal or other process that you can request assistance, a change of grade, or other help from your university.

Americans with Disabilities Act Violations

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires that businesses, governments, and schools make certain accommodations for those individuals who have a legally recognized disability. Violations of this law typically involve a failure by the school to provide access and amenities to public places for persons with disabilities. For universities, they are also required to take a disability into account in making sure their students are able to learn.

For students with disabilities who are experiencing concerns at their college or university, it is important to understand that there can be interplay at times between the ADA and the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights under applicable laws.  

Violations of the ADA by a college or university may include both academic and non-academic concerns:

  • Lack of assistive learning equipment in classrooms;
  • Failure to provide testing accommodation in-class tests; or
  • Failure to otherwise account for necessary adjustments to learning styles as a result of a disability
  • Failing to install a wheelchair-accessible ramp when necessary;
  • Failure to provide handicap parking spots in parking lots;
  • Inadequate handicap restroom accommodations;
  • Lack of handrails in walkways;
  • Walkways that are too narrow or steep; 
  • Problematic elevator or escalator systems;

If a school fails to meet the obligations imposed upon it by the ADA, negotiations with the appropriate parties at the school, be it the school's disabilities office, the school's office of general counsel (the school's attorney), and so forth, are often the best first step. 

A concern, however, is how the school's failure to implement or abide by reasonable accommodations under the American with Disabilities Act may have already negatively impacted the student.  For example, did the school fail to provide a student an approved accommodation such as additional time or a private setting to take the exam?  In the school's failure to do so, did the student suffer a lower grade or other academic consequence which can result in further consequences yet, such as not achieving anticipated honors, or being subject to academic probation or even dismissal?  These concerns are unfortunately common themes for students who have disabilities and whose accommodations, or even the disability itself, are not given due consideration by the school.  

A constructive resolution is generally best, but when the school fails to properly address such concerns or make a situation right, an ADA accommodation lawsuit may be the answer. These lawsuits seek injunctive relief and also potentially money damages as a result of the universities' failure to accommodate a legally recognized disability as required by federal law.

In many cases, however, negotiations between your attorney and the university can result in a favorable settlement in your favor, without the hassle of a lawsuit. The important thing is to make sure your rights are protected, and you are able to have the best college experience possible.

Consult an Academic Issues Attorney

Academic issues such as grade appeals, extenuating circumstances leading to negative consequences, and ADA violations can feel impossible to rectify if you go it alone. However, with the help of a highly experienced attorney, you will never be alone.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has a firm understanding of the issues students face and has helped countless students with such concerns at colleges and universities across the United States.  Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today for help.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website.  In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County.  In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County,  In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties.  Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law.  The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship.  The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.