In This Section
To be considered for accommodations, students must register with the Office of Student Accommodations. Once appropriate medical documentation has been received and reviewed, and the student has made a formal request for accommodations, the OSA will notify the student of its determination within 1-2 weeks. The OSA cannot guarantee timely accommodations if a student does not follow appropriate procedures. Students should note that, as a general rule, accommodations will not be extended retroactively.
Overview of the Process for Requesting and Utilizing Accommodations
- Students may come to the Office of Student Accommodations by referral from faculty, advisors, counselors, or staff or they may come in on their own. But it is the student’s responsibility to self-identify and make a formal request for accommodations.
- To be considered for ADA accommodations, students must provide documentation from a qualified medical professional of a diagnosed disability or chronic health condition.
- If a student has not yet been diagnosed, we can provide them with a list of outside resources for evaluation of several types of issues. Currently, the University is not able to evaluate or diagnose students for the purpose of providing ADA accommodations
- The medical documentation is initially reviewed by the Program Coordinator for Student Accommodations (or designee), before or during an Intake Meeting, where the student will make a formal request for accommodations. Recommendations are made.
- The medical documentation and requested accommodations are then reviewed by the Associate Dean of Students and a final determination is made.
- The process from review of medical documentation and requests to final determination takes approximately 1 – 2 weeks. Your patience during this process is expected and appreciated.
- If the accommodation request is denied, students are notified by letter sent via e-mail of this decision and the rational. Students may choose to appeal a denial by submitting additional supporting documentation or requesting different accommodations.
- If the accommodation request is approved, students and their course instructors, Residence Life directors, or Dining Services officials are notified by letter sent via e-mail of the decision and the approved accommodations. Information about the student’s diagnosed disability or chronic health condition will not be disclosed.
- Students with housing or meal plan accommodations are encouraged to communicate with their roommate(s), Resident Advisor, Resident Director and/or Dining Services staff to discuss their needs and how others might be able to support them.
- Students with academic accommodations are expected to speak to each of their instructors within the first two weeks of the semester or within a week of receiving a new approval letter. Students must indicate their intent to use their approved accommodations in each class and discuss how they will be implemented. Students must also inform their instructors if they do not wish to use accommodations in a particular class.
- Instructors are not permitted to implement any accommodations for a student without speaking to the student first. Accommodations cannot be applied retroactively.
- Students do have the right to determine when and if they want to use their approved accommodations. However, they are not permitted to request their accommodations at the last minute (ex: the day before or the day of an exam or assignment due date).
- Note-Takers and assistive devices/technology are provided by the OSA.
- Accommodations are approved for a period of one academic year, unless otherwise noted, and are reviewed annually to determine renewal, adjustment, or termination.
What is ADA?
Students in grades K-12 work with their schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Upon entering college, students are covered under Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Section 504 is a federal guideline requiring various public entities to provided access to their services for individuals with disabilities. The ADA is an extension of Section 504 and protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. Students in college have much more independence and are individually responsible, instead of their parents, for self-identifying prior to requesting services and self-advocacy.
What is a disability?
The ADA defines a disability as “a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” For a student, a disability would limit his/her ability to fulfill any degree requirements, employment opportunities on campus, or other campus related activities.
Talking with Faculty about Disability and Accommodations
At the beginning of each semester, and for each of your courses in which you would like to use an approved accommodation, you will need to initiate a meeting with your professors. These discussions should take place within the first two weeks of the semester or within a week of receiving a new approval letter during the semester. Your professors will only implement accommodations that have been approved by Office of Student Accommodations and are listed in the letter OSA sends to your faculty.
- Schedule an appointment with your professor during their office hours or another agreed-upon time.
- DO NOT openly discuss your disability or your accommodations with your professor in front of others. This is a private conversation.
- Write out questions or issues that you want to discuss with your professor. While you will need to discuss your accommodation needs, you are not required to discuss your disability or explain why you need the accommodations.
- If you are unclear about anything, make sure to ask more questions. You should leave the meeting with a clear understanding of how your accommodations will be implemented.
If you are still unsure about how to discuss your needs with faculty, please make an appointment with the Office of Student Accommodations.
Faculty Implementation of Approved Accommodations
Faculty play an important role in the accommodation process. As the coordinator for their course, faculty facilitate the implementation of academic accommodations. Faculty should not implement an accommodation until they receive a formal letter from the Office of Student Accommodations defining what accommodations have been approved and until they have met with the student.
Mark M. Bullock, JD
University of the Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495