Student FAQs: General

General FAQs | Medically-Related FAQs

What is a disability?

As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a "person with a disability" is someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing or concentrating.

It is important to know that an impairment in and of itself does not necessary constitute a disability. The degree of the impairment must be significant enough to "substantially limit" one or more major life activities. Documentation must address the substantial limitation posed by the particular disability for which an accommodation is being requested.

How are accommodations determined?

Accommodations are uniquely developed for students on an individual basis. Furthermore, depending on the course content and format, accommodations for students may vary by semester or term.

All requests for accommodations must be supported by the documentation provided by the requesting student. It is important to keep in mind that this is an interactive process. Accommodations are best established and appropriately implemented when there is a partnership between the instructor, the student and OAS.

What is a "reasonable accommodation"?

It is easier to explain what is not reasonable. The following are kinds of accommodations are not considered reasonable.

  • Making the accommodation means making a substantial change in an essential nature of a program or element of the curriculum.
  • The accommodation poses an undue financial or administrative burden to the university.
  • The accommodation creates a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Please refer to the list of common accommodations for more information.

Will the services and accommodations that were provided to me in high school be automatically be provided to me in college?

College-level services for students with disabilities are not a continuation of special education services received in high school.

The university must provide accommodations that address your documented disability, thus affording you an equal opportunity to participate in its programs, courses and activities. However, the university is not required to provide accommodations as they appeared in your high school IEP or Section 504 plan. In fact, OAS staff may determine that some accommodations you received in high school alter aspects of the curriculum, and are therefore not reasonable.

When discussing possible accommodations for college-level work, be prepared to consider alternative accommodations in the event that some may no longer be available to you.

Do I have to pay for a new evaluation, and who can I find to do it?

For a student with a disability leaving high school and entering college, it is recommended that you work with your high school to be sure the documentation of your disability is current and complete. Generally, it is best for high school students to have an evaluation that is no more than three years old. Although high schools are often willing to conduct or update an evaluation in high school, it may be up to you to request it.

Colleges are not required to conduct or pay for evaluations. If your documentation does not support your request for accommodation, you may have to pay an appropriate professional out-of-pocket to provide an evaluation. OAS maintains a list of qualified evaluators who administer evaluations, including those who will do so at reduced or no cost.

When is the best time to request accommodations from OAS?

Contact OAS immediately after registering for classes each semester or term. Requests that are received prior to the start of the semester or term will allow OAS to adequately coordinate services and provide instructors with reasonable notice.

After student accommodations are developed, are accommodation notification letters automatically generated each semester or term?

No. It is the student's responsibility to request accommodation notification letters each semester or term during which accommodations are required. Without this request, the office will not provide an accommodation letter.

Faculty not obligated to accommodate students from whom they have not received formal notice.

What should I do if my accommodation or services are not effective?

Inform OAS as soon as you become aware that the results are not what you expected. It is harder to correct a long-standing problem and it may be too late if you wait too long or until the course or activity is completed. You and an OAS staff member will work together to resolve the problem, and in collaboration with college faculty, staff and administrators, as appropriate.

What if I need additional accommodations throughout the semester or term?

The needs of a student may vary according to course requirements, format and course content. With this in mind, students have the right to request additional accommodations for which they are eligible at any time during the semester. However, it is the student's responsibility to provide OAS with "reasonable notice."

If documentation on file does not support the request, a student may be required to provide additional documentation. The student's file will be re-evaluated by OAS staff to determine if the new request is reasonable.

What accommodations can be made to attend a campus event?

Please notify OAS no later than a week before you are attending a specific event. If there services or equipment need to be arranged, OAS will need time to ensure that the student has what he/she needs to participate in the event.

Can OAS contact faculty members and explain my situation?

OAS will not communicate with any faculty member until a student has completed the registration process and has an approved accommodation letter in place.

After a student has registered with OAS, the student will request an accommodation notification letter. Upon receipt, OAS will submit an accommodation notification letter for the student to hand to his/her faculty member. Students should verify each instructor has received the letter.

What if my professor does not want to provide me with reasonable accommodations?

Faculty members receive formal notification of accommodations for all eligible students receiving accommodations. Oftentimes, these situations arise due to miscommunication. If any issues arise, please contact OAS immediately.

What happens if I transfer from the Oxford campus to the main campus?

Notify OAS if you make any changes to your schedule and/or location. Some of the forms will designate campus location. If these changes are not communicated, services can be delayed. OAS will follow up if any additional information is needed.

Are there different accommodations depending on the academic setting?

During the registration process, accommodations are identified for both on-site and online instruction.

Depending on the accommodation needs, a student would have to notify OAS if he or she were taking participating in study abroad or have internship experiences as a part of their curriculum. For example, a student with a physical disability may not have used many accommodations for online instruction; however, the student will need special equipment and classroom modifications when he or she takes an on-site course.

The student is responsible for notifying OAS regarding any changes to type of instruction or the type of academic environment.

What if my condition changes and I need to request additional accommodations?

Contact OAS immediately. OAS will request to review any new documentation supporting your accommodation request. After additional accommodations are determined, OAS will update the Accommodation Notification Letter.

What should I do if I feel I may have been discriminated against based on my disability at Emory?

If you feel the actions of any person or entity at Emory has been discriminatory based on your disability status, contact Emory's Office of Equity and Inclusion to file a complaint.

I disagree with the accommodation determination. Is there an appeals process?

If you have any concerns regarding the determination of appropriate accommodations, you can request an appeal of the decision by contacting Emory ADA Compliance Officer Allison Butler.