Academic accommodations are reasonable adjustments or necessary forms of assistance provided to students who are at a disadvantage due to a disability such as a physical or sensory limitation, attention or cognitive processing deficit, learning disability, or physical or mental health condition. Accommodations are also available to those who are temporarily disabled while recovering from illness or injury.
Accommodations provide access
Academic accommodations are intended to provide access, not advantage, and they are no guarantee of success. All college students must carefully manage their time and devote substantial effort to their studies to succeed academically. Accommodations give students with disabilities the opportunity to learn and to demonstrate their learning without undue limitation by factors related to the disability. When accommodations work, they "level the playing field."
Accommodations must be reasonable
An academic accommodation is considered to be reasonable when it (a) does not fundamentally alter the program nor substantially change an essential element of the curriculum, and (b) does not cause an undue hardship to the university. Reasonable academic accommodations include things like:
- Modified materials or procedures – such as large print texts, additional time to complete exams, or a reduced-distraction setting for testing.
- Auxiliary aids and services – such as an FM system for audio, Kurzweil text-to-speech application, smart pen with recording capabilities, or note-taking services.
- Environmental adjustments – such as a more accessible classroom, priority seating, or alternative furniture.
All these have the purpose of removing barriers to equal access to the university’s programs. Accommodations do not include non-attendance or non-completion of course requirements, although the ways in which students satisfy course requirements may differ.
Accommodations are proactive (not retroactive)
Accommodations are proactive, not retroactive. You have the right not to disclose a disability or not to request or use accommodations, but you may not request accommodations for work or courses already completed, even if the quality of your work was affected by the disability. Accommodations are available only after you request them and demonstrate eligibility. It's important to document eligibility early and to request accommodations at the start of the term.
Accommodations are for Lawrence only
Academic accommodations are available to enrolled students on the Lawrence campus and do not extend to standardized tests, graduate or professional school, or work environments. Though all may offer accommodations, each has its own requirements and procedures. If you apply for testing accommodations for the GRE, LSAT, or MCAT, you may not qualify for the same testing accommodations you receive at Lawrence. Check the websites of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and other testing agencies well in advance to see what is required.