Reasonable Accommodations

Students should be prepared for a difference in the type of accommodations provided at the post-secondary level. Colleges are required by law to provide accommodations and modifications that are REASONABLE and that do not fundamentally alter the essential elements of a course, a program or the evaluation standards of a course or program. In addition, accommodations are provided based directly on the impact of a student’s diagnosed disorder.

In other words, the disability services office must see a direct connection between the requested accommodation and the impact of the diagnosed disorder before approving the accommodation.

All of this means that some accommodations provided in high school may not be provided in college. Knowing in advance what accommodations may or may not be provided will help in preparing for college.

What is Reasonable Accommodations?

Some examples of reasonable accommodations are listed below. (Please note that inclusion in this list does not guarantee that each college or university provides these accommodations, nor does it guarantee that all students with disabilities will qualify for these accommodations.)

  • Extended time on exams and quizzes
  • Distraction-reduced testing environment
  • Use of a tape recorder in class
  • Peer notes
  • Alternate format reading materials (Brailled or in audio format)
  • Readers/scribes for exams
  • Use of a spell checker or calculator in class
  • American sign language interpreters
  • Course substitutions
  • Priority registration
  • Reduced course load

Unreasonable Accommodations

Below are some examples of accommodations that may be considered to be unreasonable at the postsecondary level:

  • Untimed tests
  • Distraction-free testing environment
  • Copies of instructor notes
  • Restating or explaining of test directions and questions
  • Word banks
  • Reduction of test questions or course work (for instance, a 25-question test instead of the 50-question test given to other students in the class, or permission to submit a five-page paper instead of the 10-page paper required of other students in the class)
  • Permission to redo missed test questions in an attempt to get them right
  • Extension of deadlines and test dates
  • Course waivers

Personal Services

The law does not require that colleges and universities provide “personal services” to students with disabilities. Below are some examples of common personal services:

  • Tutoring
  • Personal care attendant
  • Personally prescribed medical devices (eyeglasses, wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc.)
  • Transportation (if your college of choice has a transportation system, that system must be accessible to students with disabilities; however, if your college of choice does not have a transportation system, it is not required to provide transportation to students who may have disabilities.)