What are academic accommodations? (and who might benefit from them?)

Academic accommodations are adjustments or other necessary forms of assistance provided for students who are at an academic disadvantage due to a temporary or permanent disability. Accommodations are intended to remove barriers faced by these students in order to provide equal academic opportunity.

Accommodations can be made for students with physical, mental, or learning disabilities. They can also be made for students with temporary physical disabilities.

Accommodations are not intended to give students with disabilities an advantage but rather to “level the playing field” so that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed.

I am thinking about accommodations. What should I do?

1. Talk to your advisor.

Make your advisor aware of your disability and your academic history. Whether or not you need or use academic accommodations at this time, your advisor can provide guidance and insight for the future, especially with regard to course selection.

2.  Talk to your instructors.

Find out more about class format, requirements, and performance evaluation. For example, what is the nature and extent of reading period? Is the course lecture-based or discussion-oriented? Are you evaluated primarily by exams or papers? Your instructor may be able to identify potential challenges or areas of concern in light of a disability.

3. Decide…

You may need NO accommodations at this time.


You may need accommodations for a course, but it is too soon to tell. You can consult your advisor or instructor for additional guidance.


You do need accommodations. After careful consideration, you may file a request for academic accommodations through the Center for Academic Success, located on the first floor of Briggs.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

“No otherwise qualified individual shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal assistance.”

The commitment of Lawrence University to provide a quality liberal education carries with it a commitment to a learning environment which provides all students with an equal opportunity for academic success.

Lawrence University, in compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, recognizes that qualified students who have diagnosed disabilities are entitled to an equal opportunity to benefit from the educational program of the University, and that reasonable academic accommodations may be necessary to provide that opportunity to students with disabilities.

Additional Concerns?

You may contact the Center for Academic Success with questions and concerns about academic accommodations.

If, for some reason, you and your instructor do not agree on the type or appropriateness of requested accommodations, you should discuss the situation with your advisor first and then consult the Center for Academic Success.

If you wish to appeal any decision, you may file a petition with the faculty subcommittee on administration. However, we hope that accommodations will be requested and granted in a spirit which recognizes that they provide an equal opportunity and not an unfair advantage for students to learn.

Please remember that accommodations are reasonable only when they provide necessary assistance – not when they substitute for personal effort on the part of the student.

Center for Academic Success
Briggs Hall, Floor 1
Phone: 920-832-6530
Fax: 920-832-6884

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