Establishing eligibility for accommodations for disability is an interactive, 3-step process
- Self-identify to Accessibility Services by contacting the Director of Accessibility or completing an Establishing Eligibility Form.
- Gather your disability documentation.
- Meet with the Director of Accessibility Services after submitting the Establishing Eligibility form and providing documentation.
Request a Non-Disability-Related Housing Exemption
If you are looking for the form to request an exemption from the on-campus housing requirement that is NOT disability-related, please follow the link below.
Differences between High School and College
If you received accommodations in high school, the process works differently in college. Because you are an adult, you must request accommodations in order to receive them. No one else (parents, providers, etc.) may make the request for you. For more information on the differences between high school and college accommodations for students with disabilities, see Students with Disabilities Preparing for Post Secondary Education.
Academic accommodations are arranged through the Office of Accessibility Services on a course-by-course basis, and they must be arranged in advance in order to be provided. Residential accommodations are also made through the Office of Accessibility Services. Keep reading to learn more about documentation for accommodations, as well as steps and deadlines for residential accommodations.
For all accommodation requests, you must provide necessary documentation in enough time for the Director of Accessibility Services to review it. For housing accommodations, you also must follow all housing deadlines. The Office of Accessibility Services carefully evaluates all housing requests and works closely with the Office of Residential Education to identify appropriate, on-campus living spaces.
Disability-related documentation should provide information on the current impact of the disability so that appropriate accommodations can be identified. Documentation may include assessments, reports, and/or letters from qualified evaluators, professionals, or institutions. Common sources of documentation include health care providers, psychologists, diagnosticians, and/or information from a previous school (e.g., accommodation agreements/letters, 504, IEP, or SOP documents). Note: documentation from family members will not be accepted even if the family member is a provider licensed to make the diagnosis.
Documentation may contain both formal and informal methods of evaluation. Formal, standardized assessment may include diagnostic criteria, methods and procedures, tests and dates of administration, and a clinical narrative. Informal methods, such as an educational plan, might include, among other things, the history of accommodations and educational situations but will not be used solely to make a case for accommodations.
If the documentation provided is not sufficient or current enough to support the requested accommodation, Accessibility Services may require you to provide additional documentation before continuing the accommodation process, even if you have received accommodations in the past. As a college student, you may have to pay or find funding to pay an appropriate professional for evaluation when updated documentation is required.
Documentation: Academic Accommodations
Accessibility Services would find the following information from your licensed healthcare provider(s) helpful in its efforts to establish eligibility and determine course accommodations for a confirmed disability:
- Provide information on letterhead, in English, typed, dated and signed by a qualified professional.
- What is the student's current diagnosis (please use DSM-5 or ICD-10 diagnosis and codes, if applicable)? How long has the student been in your care, date of the most recent visit, and frequency of interactions? Do you consider the student a person with a disability and, if so, please describe how the student's diagnosed condition substantially limits a major life activity at this time.
- Provide a clear diagnostic statement that identifies the diagnosis, describes how the diagnosis was made, provides information about the current functional impact of the diagnosis, and details the prognosis.
- Provide the testing instruments and norms for use with an adolescent/adult population used for diagnosis.
- Describe the current impact or symptoms of the disability.
- If appropriate, discuss the severity and/or expected progression.
- If appropriate, list current medication and side-effects.
- Provide current and/or past accommodations.
For disabilities that are not readily apparent or that may change over time, documentation should be recent enough to describe the present condition and limitations (testing agencies like the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT may require documentation that is even more current).
Documentation: Residential Accommodations
Housing-related accommodation requests require documentation from an outside provider detailing the condition or need that is the basis of your request. This documentation should follow the documentation guidelines posted above for Academic Accommodations, as well as include:
- Specify symptoms of the diagnosis that will likely impact the student in the campus residential setting.
- Detail how these symptoms create functional limitations for this student in a campus residential setting.
- Identify situations or environmental conditions that might lead to exacerbation of the condition(s).
- State the recommendation regarding Housing for this student, based on the impact of a disability (making clear a need versus a preference).
- Describe treatment the student is receiving to address the symptoms and severity of the conditions described above (therapy, medication, etc.).
- Explain the health impact to this student if the recommended housing accommodations are not met.
For students requesting a release from the on-campus residency requirement, the documentation must be clear how living off-campus is the only viable option in lieu of another reasonable housing accommodation (I.e., single room, specific attributes of an on-campus residence.
Documentation: Emotional Support Animals
Lawrence students with disabilities residing in University housing may request as an accommodation that an emotional support animal (ESA) be allowed to reside in the student’s University residence.
Emotional service animal-related accommodation requests require documentation from an outside provider detailing the condition or need that is the basis of your request. Documentation for an ESA request should follow the documentation guidelines posted above for Academic and Residential Accommodations, as well as include:
- How is an ESA necessary to provide the student with a disability access to Lawrence University’s residential education program (making clear a need versus a preference)?
- What is the relationship between the disability and the assistance that the animal provides?
- What treatment is the student receiving to address the symptoms and severity of the conditions described above (therapy, medication, etc.)?
- Please explain the health impact to this student if the recommended housing accommodation is not met.
During the documentation review process for emotional support animals, the Office of Accessibility Services expects to assess and consider information from a treating professional who knows you well and who is qualified to comment on the benefits of an ESA for you specifically. Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for assistance animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee. Under the Fair Housing Act, a housing provider may request reliable documentation when an individual requesting a reasonable accommodation has a disability and disability-related need for an accommodation that is not obvious or otherwise known. In HUD's experience, such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an ESA.
For a better understanding of Service Animals and ESA's, review the ADA National Network Service Animals Booklet.
For mental health providers, this article explains the seriousness of providing a letter on behalf of their patient/client regarding an emotional support animal.
Requesting Residential Accommodations and Important Deadlines
Deadlines are subject to change, depending on Lawrence University’s academic calendar and policy/procedure changes.
For continuing Lawrence University students, the Office of Accessibility Services asks that you submit your disability-related request for housing and emotional support animals* with all requested documentation by April 1st to the Office of Accessibility Services in order for staff to have time to thoroughly review the information and make recommendations to Res Ed, regarding placement for the next school year.
For new and transfer students to Lawrence University, the Office of Accessibility Services asks that you submit your disability-related request for housing and emotional support animals* with all requested documentation to the Office of Accessibility Services by June 1st in order for staff to have time to thoroughly review the information and make recommendations to Res Ed, regarding placement for the next school year.
*For students requesting a residential accommodation for an emotional support animal (ESA) during the academic year or after the above-stated deadlines, the Office of Accessibility Services asks that you submit your disability-related request for an ESA with all requested documentation by October 1st of the Fall Term to the Office of Accessibility Services in order for staff to have time to thoroughly review the information and make recommendations to Res Ed, regarding placement for Winter and/or Spring Term.
Any request received AFTER the posted deadline(s) will be reviewed in the order it was received and after all requests submitted by the deadline have been reviewed and determined. If accommodation referrals are made to Res Ed, implementation will be based on availability, and the student’s request could be put on a wait list.
Important Things to Note:
Students will be considered for residential accommodation based on the following:
A medical/mental health disability that significantly impacts the ability of the student to live in traditional housing configurations.
How the accommodation reduces disability impacts.
Space and other housing configuration considerations: we may not have space for all requests.
Timeliness of request.
Housing exemptions are infrequently provided. At times, if we are unable to provide required housing accommodations or housing configurations pose a safety concern for the student, students may be eligible for a housing exemption. These are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Meal Plan Exemptions
If you have a medical condition that impacts your ability to eat certain foods, such as severe allergies, you should submit an accommodation request to Accessibility Services following the 3-Step Eligibility Process described above. Bon Appetit’s registered dietitian, General Manager, and Executive Chef can discuss your needs and explore all of the options available in Lawrence’s dining spaces. For example, Andrew Commons offers SimplyOASIS: a destination in the café where all meals are prepared without the use of top-9 allergens plus gluten through the sole use of whole foods. Additionally, specialty allergen-friendly products are purchased and stored in this area.
Meal plan-related requests due to disability require documentation from an outside provider detailing the condition or need that is the basis of your request. This documentation should follow the documentation guidelines posted above for Academic and Residential Accommodations. Additionally, you must have a meeting with the Bon Appetit registered dietitian to discuss all available options prior to making the request for exemption from Accessibility Services.
NOTE: If you are requesting a meal plan exemption for religious reasons, please contact the Associate Dean of Spiritual Life. Before contacting the Associate Dean of Spiritual Life about a meal plan exemption, you must meet with the Bon Appetit registered dietitian to discuss all available options before making the request for exemption based on religion.