Accommodation Basics

The Office of Disability Services partners with faculty to ensure that student's approved academic accommodations are met. If you have questions or concerns about any accommodations listed on a Letter of Accommodation, please start by contacting the specific coordinator listed on the letter.

Basis for Determining Accommodations

Accommodations are approved for a student after the student has met with a coordinator within the Office of Disability Services and provided documentation of their disability. Accommodations are intended as a means of leveling the playing field, not providing an advantage over other students or ensuring success. The goal is to ensure access.


Reasonable Accommodation Definition

A frequent term you may hear when working with disability services is reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable Accommodation:

reasonable accommodation is any adjustment that will enable a qualified student with a disability to participate in a course, program, facility, activity or service and includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges equal to students without disabilities.  Reasonable accommodations may include academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, services, or modifications for facilities.

Academic Adjustment:

reasonable academic adjustment is a change that minimizes or eliminates the impact of a disability, allowing the individual to gain equal access and have an equal opportunity to participate in the University's courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities.

Examples of reasonable academic adjustments: extension of time for tests, course substitution of non-essential requirements, priority registration, etc. (this is not an exhaustive list).

Auxiliary Aid:

reasonable auxiliary aid might include adaptive equipment, assistive technology, FM systems, electronic textbooks or books in alternative formats, computers for testing, etc. (this is not an exhaustive list).


reasonable service may include a reader for tests, note-taker for a course, test proctors, sign language interpreters, real-time captioning etc. (this is not an exhaustive list).


modification may include the removal of architectural barriers. 

Title II of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 dictates that an institution must make reasonable academic adjustments, provide auxiliary aids and/or services for those individuals with a qualified disability who self identify. A reasonable academic adjustment is one that does not require a substantial change in the curriculum or alteration of any essential elements or functions of the course, program, service, or activity. Academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services are determined on a case-by-case and course-by-course basis.

Letter of Accommodations

A Letter of Accommodations (LOA) is a document provided by the Office of Disability Services that explains to faculty the reasonable accommodations to be provided to a student. The letter contains course accommodations recommended by the Office of Disability Services based on the student's disability. You can learn more by watching a brief video that describes what a Letter of Accommodation is.

It is important that the student and professor have a clear understanding of what is agreed upon regarding the use and implementation of these accommodations. Any conversations about accommodations should occur in as confidential of a manner as possible, so we encourage students to utilize office hours when possible.

Students are encouraged to request their LOA be sent to their professor as early in the semester as possible. However, it should be understood that under some circumstances (e.g. student was approved for accommodations later in the semester, student was recently diagnosed) the student may submit their letter later in the semester.

Exam Accommodations

An exam accommodation refers to any approved accommodations which relates to the way a student takes their exam. This includes but is not limited to: extended time on exams, a reduced distraction testing location, use of scribe/readers, and use of assistive technology during an exam. ODS defines an exam as any quiz, test, or final for a course.

All students wishing to utilize exam accommodations need to be registered with the ODS, have requested their Letter of Accommodations (LOA) and shared their LOA with their professor.

Note Taking Accommodations

Note-taking accommodations are provided through a combination of electronic recording, self-directed, and in-person (peer) methods. Students may use different methods depending on their approved accommodation and the teaching format of the course. An overview of the options can be found here.