Academic Accommodations support the classroom experience and learning. There are a wide variety of accommodations related to the classroom, such as testing, alternative formats, or notetakers.
Academic Accommodation Guidelines
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities at institutions of higher education that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Section 504 applies to qualified students determined to: 1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or 2) have a record of such an impairment; or 3) be regarded as having such an impairment.
In accordance with ADA law, a student with a disability is entitled to appropriate academic adjustments necessary to afford the student with an equal opportunity to participate in a school’s program. The college is not required to make modifications, adjustments, or provide aids or services that would fundamentally alter its program or impose an undue burden. Reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis.
Luther College prohibits any form of retaliation against a student for requesting or receiving an academic accommodation. A student who suffers retaliation in violation of this policy should promptly report the violation as provided in the College Statement of Nondiscrimination.
How to Apply for an Academic Accommodation
- A student requests an accommodation by submitting an online request. The request should be supported by documentation from a licensed and appropriate medical or healthcare professional identifying the disability and stating why an accommodation is needed. This documentation must be current. Students and their medical/healthcare professionals are also encouraged to submit suggestions regarding specific academic accommodations desired.
Request an Accommodation
In order to determine eligibility for academic accommodations, disabilities must be documented from a high school Individual Education Program (IEP), 504 plan, or documentation from a licensed provider with expertise in the area of diagnosis. Additionally, an ongoing relationship with the provider should be demonstrated. When this is not possible, Disability Services will work with the student to discuss potential options for obtaining documentation. Please make sure that your medical/mental health provider completes the Required Documentation for Accommodation Form. Information about the diagnosis and treatment of your condition remains confidential.
- Disability Services staff will review the application and medical documentation and advise the student if the documentation is not sufficient. The college may request updated medical documentation.
- If the documentation is sufficient, Disability Services will meet with the student to discuss available, reasonable accommodations. The student will have the opportunity to make suggestions about appropriate accommodations and to comment on a proposed plan of accommodation.
- Based on the documentation provided and the interactive process between Disability Services and the student, Disability Services staff will advise the student by letter of the accommodation(s) that will be provided (the “Accommodation Letter”). The Accommodation Letter will be used to notify faculty and other college personnel of the approved accommodations, as may be required.
- The accommodation process requires time to complete and some accommodations require significant time to implement. Therefore, students are advised to submit their request and supporting documentation as early as possible.
Guidelines for accommodation requests are as follows:
- March 1 for current students for the fall semester
- December 1 for current students for the spring semester
- July 15 for incoming new and first year students for fall semester
- A student must complete a new request form to renew accommodations for an upcoming term. Once an accommodation is approved, it is the student’s responsibility to notify Disability Services of courses in which the student requests accommodation. Students who need to have their course materials in an alternative format should advise the Office of Disability Services at least 30 days before the course begins.
A student may appeal the determination of Disability Services regarding accommodations to the Director of Disability Services. The appeal must be made in writing within 30 days of the student’s receipt of the Accommodation Letter.
Failure to Receive an Approved Accommodation
If a student does not receive an accommodation approved in the Accommodation Letter, the student should immediately notify Disability Services.
Developing an Academic Accommodation Plan
If a student qualifies for disability services, an individualized accommodation plan is developed to address documented needs. This plan can be developed to address academic and/or nonacademic needs.
The student is responsible for getting this plan to the appropriate individual(s).
Examples of Academic Accommodations
Students with disabilities may qualify for one or more of the following services.
- Extended time on exams
- Reader services
- Scribe Services
- Use of a computer with spell check and/or grammar check programs for essay exams
- Use of calculators, scratch paper with lines, additional “blue books” and/or speller’s dictionaries on exams
- Question clarification (by faculty or proctor)
- Modification of test response format
- Taking the test in a separate location
- Student elaboration on multiple choice exams (hand scored)
The Center for Academic Enrichment maintains testing areas in which students can work in a quiet and well lit environment. Test pick up/drop off procedures can be arranged to suit individual faculty and student preferences, within certain limits.
If students qualify for this service, they need to contact Disability Services and complete a Notetaker Form. Students should remember:
- Notetakers will only provide notes for the class. You are expected to meet attendance policies for the class and be an active participant in the class
- Notetakers will be hired and compensated by the CAE. In some cases you may be asked to recommend a student to provide this service
- Notes are available at the CAE on the day the notes were taken, or no later than 24 hours from the time of the last class period
- Students should notify the CAE if they have any concerns about the quality and timeliness of notes
Disability Services will assist students with accessing modified instructional formats. This can include audible texts, enlarged print material, and even Braille. Text to voice and voice to text software can be accessed by qualifying students from the CAE. It is important for students who need this type of service to remember:
- Students are responsible for purchasing their own texts, even if they are to be modified
- Requests should be made in a timely manner, as it often takes time to access these modifications. This is especially true if Braille text is needed
- Students are taught how to access these modifications. It is the student’s responsibility to follow through on the process
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may need access to modified instructional formats (mentioned above), specialized classroom amplification and/or sign language interpreters. As with Braille, requests for such services should be made as soon as possible as time requirements may be significant.
Students with mobility challenges will need to contact Disability Services in a timely manner as well as issues like housing requests which may require building modifications. Other services can include priority registration to ensure that classes are accessible as well as other services previously outlined.