FAQ

Does the school I want to attend have to change their entrance test because of my disability?

It depends. In general, tests should be on what you have done or are capable of doing, not on your disability. Schools must make changes to the testing conditions for you as long as the changes don't change the content of the exam.

If you need testing accommodations, you will need to contact the school and document your disability and need for a change in testing conditions. Here are examples of changes in testing conditions:

  • Braille
  • Large print
  • A sign-language interpreter for spoken directions
  • Fewer items on each page
  • The ability to tape-record your answers
  • Frequent breaks
  • Longer testing time
  • Testing over several sessions
  • A private room or small-group setting rather than a large auditorium
  • A choice of where to sit
May a school ask me about my disability before they decide to admit me?
In most cases no. Not before they admit you.
Can a school deny me admission because of my disability?
No, not if you meet the essential requirements for admission.
Do colleges have to identify me as a student with a disability?
No.
Do I have to tell a school that I have a disability?

No. The choice to disclose a disability is always voluntary. But you may have to disclose if you need:

  • An academic accommodation
  • Accessible housing
  • Other disability-related services
What are academic accommodations and auxiliary aids and services?

Academic accommodations are changes to the school's academic requirements so that you are not discriminated against due to your disability. They may include:

  • Changes in how long you have to complete your degree
  • Substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements
  • Changes in how classes are conducted
  • A reduced course load
  • Extra time on tests

Examples of auxiliary aids and services are:

  • Note-takers
  • Readers
  • Recording devices
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Screen-readers
  • Voice recognition and other adaptive software or hardware for computers
  • Other devices that help you participate fully in the class

Schools are NOT required to provide personal devices and services such as:

  • Attendants
  • Prescription devices such as eyeglasses or readers
  • Other personal services such as tutoring (unless it's offered to all students)
If you are eligible, and have an Individual Plan for Employment, the VR agency may assist with obtaining the necessary services for you to reach your employment goal.
What do I need to do to receive academic accommodations?

Each school has its own process. Schools can set their own requirements for documentation if the requirements are reasonable and meet federal law.

You're responsible for knowing the school's process and following it. Do a search on the school's website or contact the school directly.

You're responsible for providing documentation, upon request, that you have a disability that limits a major life activity and requires an academic accommodation.

Am I responsible for getting tested to show that I have a disability?

Yes. Colleges are not required to conduct or pay for an evaluation to document your disability and need for an academic accommodation.

If you had recent testing in high school, this may serve as your documentation.

Is my IEP or Section 504 Plan enough documentation to get an academic accommodation?
Generally, no. Those plans show what services you received in the past. But they usually don't have enough information to show you currently have a disability and need an academic accommodation. Schools require current documentation of your disability.
How can people I work with in high school help with my disability documentation?

Your IEP team can help you learn what disability documentation you'll need for college. They can also help you learn about existing documentation in your school records, such as evaluation reports and the summary of your academic achievement and functional performance.

Make sure your IEP team discusses your transition goals each year. This will help the team determine what services, work experiences, assistive technology, or future testing you might need to reach the transition goal outlined in your IEP.

What questions should I ask college disability providers?

These are helpful questions to ask:

  • What's the process for receiving disability-related accommodations/services at your school, and when should I begin the process?
  • Currently, I find ______ accommodations to be useful in my classes. Can you tell me if these accommodations are commonly requested/approved at your university with proper documentation?
  • What are the most common accommodations students use at your school?
  • May I set up a consultation with someone in your office to learn more about Disability Services? If so, how do I schedule the appointment and when's the best time to meet?
  • If I set up a campus tour through the Admission Office, can I meet with Disability Services as part of that tour?
  • Once I have an open file (or I'm registered with Disability Services), how do I request specific accommodations at your school?
  • How do instructors know which accommodations I'm approved to use?
  • Can I request accommodations for placement exams (Math etc.) prior to being an enrolled student?
  • Are there tutoring programs offered at your university? Do they offer walk-in tutoring only, or are there options to schedule one-to-one appointments?
Will a diagnosis from my doctor help?
Yes, if it includes information about how the disability currently affects you.
If it is clear that I have a disability, why does the school need the information?
You may have the same disability as another student but may not need the same academic accommodation. The school will make its decision based on your needs.
If the school doesn't think I gave enough information on my disability, how will I know?
The school will tell you what else they need, and when.
Does the school have to give me everything I ask for?
It depends. Schools do NOT have to provide an academic accommodation that would:
  • Change essential academic requirements
  • Change a service, program or activity
  • Create a financial or administrative burden on the school
What does a school's disability services unit do?
A school’s disability services unit may have contact with you only two or three times a semester to:
  • Evaluate your disability documentation
  • Work with you to determine appropriate services
  • Help you arrange services or testing modifications
  • Deal with problems as they arise
They usually will NOT directly provide educational services, tutoring, or counseling, or help you plan or manage your time or schedule. That’s your responsibility.
When do I tell the school that I will be asking for an academic accommodation?
As early as possible. You can make the request at any time, but give them as much time as possible to review the request and provide an appropriate academic accommodation.
How do schools decide what academic accommodations are appropriate?
Once the school agrees you should receive the accommodations, they'll meet with you to discuss your disability, your needs, and the school's program.
Who pays for my auxiliary aids and services?

The school cannot require you to pay anything for any aids or services. They can’t charge you more than they charge students without disabilities.

Generally, schools may NOT refuse to:
  • Provide academic accommodations based on available of funds
  • Spend more than a certain amount on academic accommodations
  • Provide academic accommodations because they believe someone else will provide those accommodations
What if the academic accommodations don't work?
It's your responsibility to tell the school as soon as possible. Then you can work together to solve the problem.
What documents will my college need?

Your IEP or Section 504 plan tells what has helped you in the past, but your college needs current information. It may request one of these:

  • A diagnosis of your current disability
  • When and how you were diagnosed
  • The credentials of the diagnosing professional
  • Info about how your disability affects a major life activity or your academic performance