Common Accommodations

The majority of work at the Office of Disability Services (ODS) revolves around providing reasonable accommodations to students connected to and approved by our office. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to a learning environment, course or program that allows a student with a documented disability to have equal access to the rights and services that students without disabilities have.

A common misconception of faculty, staff and students is that students with disabilities are receiving an unfair advantage over students without disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are there to allow the student with a disability an equal learning opportunity to their peers. Accommodations center on providing access, not success. The student is responsible for their academic success.

The following is a list of accommodations students may be approved for by the Office of Disability Services. This list is in no way meant to encompass all accommodations offered at Rutgers University.

Access to snacks/food/drinks during labs, class and exams

Students approved for this accommodation are allowed to bring in snacks, including drinks to the learning environment. There will be instances where this is not acceptable, such as clinical rotations/rounds with nursing students. Certain lab spaces will not permit food. Students might have to leave the physical space to consume the snack/drink. Students are not consuming a meal under this accommodation, only a light snack and/or drink.

Accessible classrooms

This accommodation is typically approved for students with mobility impairments, physical health and visual impairments. When a classroom is located in an inaccessible location for a student, the coordinator(s) will contact the scheduling office to switch the meeting location of the classroom. Examples of some reasons why this accommodation might be requested: needing to be near a restroom, pick classes near each other in location, provide classes on ground floor or as close to ground floor as possible, etc. While we attempt to be proactive, students are responsible for identifying barriers and making a request to the office via email to either their coordinator or to the director of the office.

Alternate Format for Textbooks or Course Materials

This accommodation is typically abbreviated as AFT and is designed to provide the approved student an alternate format of their course materials. This includes but is not limited to e-versions of their textbook (the student must provide a receipt of purchase), PowerPoints or course material with alternative text for images or properly set to be read by a screen reader, as well creating tactiles for students. A request must be submitted online by the student via our official website. ODS partners with Rutgers Access and Disability Resources (RADR) to fulfill these requests.

American Sign Language Interpreter/ CART Services

Students approved for this accommodation are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The ASL/CART Coordinator at Rutgers-University New Brunswick will contract interpreters/reporters designed for real time verbatim translation for course lectures and programs. A request must be submitted online by the student via our official website.

Breaks during exams without time penalty

If a student has this accommodation on their LOA the student is permitted an extension to their exam time to account for breaks. Students are allowed to walk, stretch, use the restroom, stand up, etc., outside of the exam room. For online exams, students may move off camera. The student will be given 10 minutes of break time per hour of testing time (see table below). During a break, if testing in person, students are not permitted to leave the room with their cellphone or any belongings not specified on their LOA. For students taking exams online, they are not permitted to access technology while on a break.

Please note, that this time will be applied in addition to any other accommodation. So for example, if the class has 80 minutes for an exam, and a student is approved for breaks and 50% extended time, then they should get 120 minutes for the extended time and 20 minutes for the breaks for a total of 140 minutes.

Exam time Additional Time to account for Breaks
0 - 60 min 10 minutes
61 - 120 min 20 minutes
121 - 180 min 30 minutes

 

Consideration with regards to absences & missed exams/quizzes

What is the accommodation of Absences?

University policy states that students are expected to attend all classes and abide by the course-specific attendance policy. However, there may be times that a student is unable to make it to class due to a complication or flare of their disability. In this instance, exams/quizzes missed must be made up as soon as possible, or the professor may offer other options to weight other grades accordingly. This accommodation is an opportunity to discuss what may be possible in light of an absence. In some cases, too many missed classes can become a concern and the coordinator will connect the student with the CARE Team/Dean of Students.

 

Who is eligible for Absences?

Students with a documented disability that occasionally impacts their ability to attend classes may be eligible for additional absences. No specific disability automatically warrants the approval of additional absences and as such, the interactive process requires the student to communicate with the Office of Disability Services coordinator on the impact of their disability on attendance and completion of in-class work.

Note: Absences due to temporary illnesses such as a cold, flu, or surgery are managed by the Dean of Students for Student Affairs (see Additional Resources), and are not covered by this accommodation.

 

The Interactive Process

Students requesting to implement this accommodation must engage in an interactive process with faculty and ODS, each party adhering to their listed responsibilities:

 

Student Responsibilities:

  1. Once approved for the accommodation, the student must need coordinator to discuss accommodation implementation.
  2. Students must request their Letter of Accommodations (LOA) with this accommodation selected to appear on the LOA. The LOA should be provided to faculty and a discussion on the accommodation should be had. Absences that occurred before the faculty member received the LOA are not covered by the accommodation, since the accommodations cannot be applied retroactively.
  3. Students should proactively notify faculty of attendance flexibility needs that relate to their disability. Students are responsible for catching up on the missed material and notes students are required to submit an absence request form to implement this accommodation.
  4. If an absence prevents you from completing any exam or quiz, you must communicate this in the absence request form to initiate a conversation and making up the work.
  5. Students will contact their coordinator with any questions or concerns relating to additional absences or attendance flexibility needs.

Faculty Responsibilities

  1. Faculty will receive the request from the Office of Disability Services. Faculty will provide further context, concerns (if any) about additional absences, and provide the ODS any exams/quizzes missed, to proctor on their behalf if needed.
  2. Faculty should not require any medical or other types of documentation from students to facilitate additional absences in relation to a student's disability. Excessive absences will warrant a referral to the Dean of Students.
  3. Faculty will contact the coordinator for any questions or concerns relating to additional absences.

ODS Responsibilities

  1. ODS will initiate and engage in an interactive process with faculty and students to ensure the accommodation is implemented reasonably and appropriately, without fundamentally altering nature of the course.
  2. ODS will document the interactive process between students, faculty and the coordinator.
  3. ODS will be available to provide insight, support and resources to students and faculty.

Additional Resources

Students who may require frequent periods of absences due to medical reasons should connect with their respective campus’s CARE Team/Dean of Students: Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark.

RBHS students should contact their faculty members and respective programs’ office of Student Affairs.

 

Students should seek academic advisement from their respective academic advisor/counselor, regarding important dates listed on their campus academic calendar (withdrawal deadline, last day of classes, etc.) and for information on Incompletes, Temporary grades, or Pass/No Credit options.

 

For absences unrelated to your disability, consider using the Rutgers Self-Reporting Absence Application, to quickly notify faculty of your absences: https://sims.rutgers.edu/ssra/ Please note: reporting your absences does not excuse you from any assigned work. This system is not applicable to RBHS students.

Enlarged Print

Students typically approved for this accommodation have a visual impairment that does not enable them to clearly read small font. The professor will send examinations with the appropriate font size, as indicated on the letter of accommodation/SKIP, to the office or the ODS Team will enlarge the font on behalf of the professor. An alternative to enlarging PDF versions of exams (you typically cannot change the font of PDFs) is by printing on large paper in order to have the printer automatically enlarge the PDF file.

Exams to end by [time]

Exams are not to go beyond the indicated time. Students approved for this accommodation will have to work with the office and faculty member to arrange a time for the student to take the exam the same day or the very next day (on a case-by-case basis).

No exams before [time]

Exams are not to be administered to the student before the indicated time. Students approved for this accommodation will have to work with the office and faculty member to arrange a time for the student to take the exam (on a case-by-case basis).

Extended time (50%) for timed in class/online exams and quizzes

The student is given time and a half to complete their exam either with the faculty member or at the office. If the class is given an hour (60 minutes) to take an exam, the approved student will have time (60 minutes) and a half (30 minutes) as their testing time period (90 minutes in total). If you wish to receive your extended time on your exam(s), a request must be submitted online by the student via our website.

Extended time (100%) for timed in class/online exams and quizzes

The student is given double the time to complete their exam either with the faculty member or at the office. If the class is given an hour (60 minutes) to take an exam, the approved student will have double the class time (120 minutes). If you wish to receive your extended time on your exam(s), a request must be submitted online by the student via our website.

Extra Time on Assignments, within the academic standards of the course

What is the accommodation of Additional Time on Assignments?

Course policy states that students are expected to complete and hand in assignments on the due date listed by the faculty member. At times, students may experience a severe flare up of their symptoms that does not allow them to complete the work and submit it on time. The amount of extended time on assignments depends primarily on what is agreed upon by the faculty member and student. In addition, this accommodation does not apply in certain situations due to either impacting other students or other assignments, such as group work, participation/discussion, peer review sessions, capstone projects and assignments that will evolve to larger scale projects.

Who is eligible for Additional Time on Assignments?

Students with a documented disability that may occasionally impact the ability to complete or hand in assignments on time, might be eligible for additional time on assignments. No specific disability automatically warrants the approval of additional time on assignments and as such, the interactive process requires the student to communicate with the Office of Disability Services coordinator on the impact of their disability.  

The Interactive Process

Students requesting to implement this accommodation must engage in an interactive process with faculty and ODS, each party adhering to their listed responsibilities:

Student Responsibilities:

  • Once approved for the accommodation, the student must meet with their coordinator to discuss accommodation implementation.  
  • Students must request their Letter of Accommodations (LOA) with this accommodation selected to appear on the LOA. The LOA should be provided to faculty and a discussion on the accommodation(s) should be had. Missed assignments that occurred before the faculty member received the LOA are not covered by the accommodation, as all of our services are not retroactive.  
  • Proactively communicate with faculty for each assignment needing additional time. Be specific: what assignments and how much additional time are you requesting? Students are required to submit an Additional Time on Assignments Form to implement this accommodation due to disability-related reasons.
  • Students will contact their coordinator for any questions or concerns relating to the additional time on assignments.  

Faculty Responsibilities:

  • Faculty will receive the request from the Office of Disability Services (ODS). Faculty will provide further context, concerns (if any) on additional time, and provide a reasonable extension based on assignment type, length and requirements.  
  • Faculty should no longer require any medical or other types of documentation from students to facilitate additional time on assignments, unless the student is unable to keep the commitment made.
  • Faculty are expected to penalize students after the extended deadline, holding the student to the same standard as the rest of the class.
  • Faculty will contact the coordinator for any questions or concerns relating to the additional time on assignments accommodation.  

ODS Responsibilities:

  • ODS will engage and initiate in an interactive process with faculty and student to ensure the accommodation is implemented reasonably and appropriately, without fundamentally altering the nature of the course.  
  • ODS will document the interactive process between students, faculty and the coordinator.  
  • ODS will be available to provide insight, support and resources to students and faculty.  

Additional Resources

Students looking to build their time management skills, among other valuable academic skills, can connect with their respective campus’s Learning Center: Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark.  

Students who may be require frequent or long periods of absences due to medical reasons should connect with their respective campus’s CARE Team/Dean of Students: Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark. RBHS students should contact their faculty members and respective programs’ office of Student Affairs.

Students should seek academic advisement from their respective academic advisor/counselor, regarding important dates listed on their campus academic calendar (withdrawal deadline, last day of classes, etc.) and for information on Incompletes, Temporary grades, or Pass/No Credit options. 

Foreign Language Substitution

If approved by our office, ODS will collaborate with the student’s academic advisor to determine which course would be most appropriate to substitute for a foreign language course. Course substitutions are typically approved under special circumstances.

Math Substitution

If approved by our office, ODS will collaborate with the student’s academic advisor to determine which course would be most appropriate to substitute for a math course. Course substitutions are typically approved under special circumstances.

No scantrons for exams/quizzes

A scantron will not be utilized during an exam for a student approved for this accommodation. The student will either indicate their response right on the exam or write their answers on a separate sheet of paper, usually the former.

Notetaking – recording device ONLY

The student is approved to record the professor’s lectures, regardless of the policy in the classroom on lecture recording. Students may use their own cell phone or recording device to record, or may come to the office to borrow a device out for the semester. A request must be submitted online by the student via our official website. Some of our recording device options are:

Note Taking Express (NTE)– an online application paid by Rutgers-University where the student uses a device to record the lectures, uploads it to the NTE site and receives a word doc of notes within 24-26 hours of submission, from a professional note taker.

Digital recorder– a device used to record audio. An equipment loan form must be submitted online to borrow one from the office.

Livescribe Pen and Notebook– A pen that records audio and when combined with the Echo notebook, will play the recording in real time from when you placed your pen on the paper. An equipment loan form must be submitted online to borrow one from the office.

Sonocent– a program via one’s laptop/surface device that allows the user to capture the audio of the lecture via chunking, and rearranging them to any imported PowerPoint slides. You can also include text and highlighting.

Notetaking – in person or recording device

The student is approved to record the professor’s lectures, regardless of the policy in the classroom on lecture recording. Students may use any recording device mentioned previously or have the office hire within the class a note taker to upload notes anonymously within the learning management system (LMS) used by the university. Hiring a note taker within a class typically takes time. A request for a notetaker must be submitted online by the student via our website.

Part Time Status

This accommodation applies primarily at the Rutgers-University New Brunswick campus, in schools or programs where students are required to take a full-time course load of credits. This accommodation allows the student to maintain enrollment with part-time status. In other cases, students can keep their housing assignment and live on campus, even taking a reduced course load (part-time).

Permission to use a laptop/tablet for notetaking

The student is allowed to utilize a laptop or tablet to take notes in class, regardless of the policy on technology in class.

Preferred seating

This permits the student to have the ability to sit wherever they need to sit, in the class. Typically, this accommodation is granted to allow students to sit in the front of the class to provide them more access to the board, professor or screen. In other cases, this allows students to sit in the back and be close to a classroom door should they need to use the restroom, take a break, walk, stretch, etc.

Priority Registration

Students approved for this accommodation are connected with their respective academic advising unit either via the coordinator or director, to allow them to register for classes regardless of the total credits accumulated. Priority registration is designed for students to create a schedule that best allows them for rest between classes, spreads classes out throughout the week, preference for morning/day/evening classes, take classes in close distance of each other, etc. Students with holds on their accounts will not be able to utilize priority registration until the hold has been resolved.

Reduced course load

This accommodation is similar to part-time status.

Reduced distraction testing location

This is often abbreviated as RDTL. This allows the student to take their test in a separate testing area from the class in order to reduce the amount of distractors in the room (number of students, sounds, etc.). Professors are able to provide a RDTL as long as the testing environment is similar to the one given to the class and ideal. For example, some professors will allow the student approved for RDTL to take their exam at the department’s main office, monitored by an administrative assistant/staff member. When this cannot be provided, students can request to take their exam at our office. Students must submit an exam request form 5 business days in advance of the exam to allow the ODS Team enough time to prepare for the exam (contact the professor for exam and instructions, reserve a room and hire a proctor). 

Reduced distraction testing location (with proctor only)

This allows the student to take their exam proctored by our office in a testing environment where only they and the proctor (or scribe) are present. No other student/personnel are to be in the same testing environment as them.

Service Animal

A service animal is trained to do at least one specific task for a person with a documented disability. The service animal is allowed to accompany the owner around any area on campus. This animal will typically be a canine, or in rare cases, a miniature horse.

Support Animal

A support animal is permitted only in the student’s room in one of the university’s residential housing structures and outside to relieve itself. The support animal must have all updated vaccinations. This animal will vary in species.

Tables/Chairs

Known as accessible furniture that allows the student to have access to the course content. This typically varies on the student case, but common accommodations include ergonomic chairs, podiums, stand-desks, comfort chairs, etc.

Transportation

This accommodation is for individuals who are unable to safely use the existing campus bus system and applies primarily at the Rutgers-university New Brunswick campus.

Use of a calculator on exams/quizzes unless it compromises an essential function of the course

The student is allowed to use a basic (four function) calculator during examinations, even if the class is not allowed to do so. Exceptions are when the calculator is a fundamental alteration to an essential function of the course/exam.

Use of a computer for essay exams/quizzes ONLY

The student is allowed to use a laptop in the classroom or when being proctored by ODS for portions of the exam that require writing, such as in essays.

Use of a lab/classroom assistant

A contracted individual by the office will accompany the student and assist them in the classroom or lab. The lab/classroom assistant’s role depends on the student’s needs and class structure. Some duties may include, but is not limited to: describing visual information, assisting with the navigation of in-accessible software, or assisting with activities that a student may not otherwise be capable of due to an impairment (i.e lifting a beaker to pour one solution into the next).

Use of a podium during testing

A podium will be placed on the desk so that a student who needs to frequently get up can continue their exam when doing so. A podium for in classroom use is considered the accommodation of tables/chairs.

Use of a reader for exams/quizzes

A contracted individual by the office who will read verbatim the exam question to the student. They will not assist the student in any way to answer the question, but only read the question to them and then their response verbatim.

Use of a screen/text reader for exams/quizzes

The student is approved to utilize their computer during an exam to have a screen reader (JAWS) or text reader (Kurzweil) read the questions to them. Typically, the student will be proctored at our office.

Use of a screen/text reader for textbook/course materials

The student is provided a text reader (Kurzweil or Read & Write) by our office to read text material on their computer out loud to them.

Use of a scribe for exams/quizzes

A contracted individual by the office who will write down verbatim what the student with disability says.

Use of FM system in class

Allows the student to utilize a device that transmits what the speaker is saying to the individual with the receiver.

Consideration in regards to oral presentations, when within the academic standards of the course

The student is permitted alternate means to demonstrating the objectives of presentations, as determined by the instructor (essays, video recordings of presentations, etc.). This is worked out on a course-by-course basis between the faculty member and student.