Register for Accommodations
Students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable academic accommodations as provided by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and 2008 amendments. According to government figures, about 11 percent of undergraduates, or over two million students, have a disability. About 51% of college students who request accommodations have learning disabilities or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Approximately 15 percent have psychiatric disabilities, such as depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
Many students with hidden disabilities such as learning and psychiatric disabilities choose not to disclose when they attend college in order to avoid labels they were given in elementary or secondary school. In fact, more than 45 percent of young adults who stopped attending college because of mental health related reasons did not request accommodations. Of the students with mental health conditions attending college, 57 percent did not request accommodations. Only 24 percent of college students with learning disorders request accommodations.
Fifteen percent of the students who request accommodations have an orthopedic or mobility impairment, 6 percent have a hearing impairment, and 3 percent are blind or visually impaired. Only 19 percent of mobility-impaired students and 22 percent of visually or hearing-impaired students requested accommodations. About 18 percent of students who requested accommodation have chronic physical health conditions.
More than 80 percent of high school students with disabilities list post-secondary education as a goal. However, a national study found that six years after high school, students with disabilities were less likely than peers to have attended any college (55 percent compared with 62 percent of the general population), and fewer completed college once they started (41 percent compared with 52 percent of the general population). Clearly, many college students are not requesting the accommodations that could assist them to be successful in college.
In elementary and secondary schools, it was the school’s responsibility to identify you and other students with a disability and document your accommodation needs. However, in college, it is your responsibility to identify yourself as a person with a disability and provide up-to-date documentation of your disability to Disability Services. It is recommended that you submit documentation to Disability Services as soon as you are accepted at the university. You then must request academic accommodations that will ensure your access to information and testing that will keep you on an equal level with other students. In addition, you will need to identify yourself to your instructors as a student with a disability by providing them with a copy of the letter provided to you by Disability Services. (Disclosing the nature of the disability is not required.) You may need to remind your instructors of the academic accommodations required for tests and assignments. Once Disability Services has determined the appropriate accommodations, your instructors cannot refuse to comply with these accommodations.
As a college student, you have to accept responsibility for your own education by maintaining satisfactory academic grades, attending classes, completing assignments, behaving appropriately and regularly communicating with Disability Services and with your instructors regarding your specific needs.
Examples of accommodations include testing modifications (extended time on tests, completing tests in a separate and quiet place, completing tests over several sessions), assignment modifications (extended time for assignments, written instructions from instructor), textbook modifications (alternate formats such as audiotaped, braille, large print), accommodations with reading and writing (note-taking service, reading groups, adaptive technology, captioning, sign language interpretation) and class modifications (priority registration for classes, substituting classes within the curriculum, reduced course loads). It is important that you register to receive these accommodations. Disability Services is there to help you to be successful in your college career.