Documentation Guidelines for Academic Accommodation Requests
Students requesting academic accommodations on the basis of a disability are required to provide current, comprehensive documentation by a qualified professional. Information regarding a student’s disability is not obtained through the admissions process. Disability-related information and records are confidential and are therefore maintained separately from academic records. All documentation of disability should be sent directly to the Office of Disability Services.
A qualified professional may vary according to the nature of disability, but is someone who has a professional relationship with the student (such as a physician, psychologist, audiologist, speech-language pathologist, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, physical therapist, optometrist, etc.) and is fully qualified to assess and verify eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The federal definition of person with a disability is one who (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities as is relative to the general population; (2) has a record of such impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such impairment. The determination of whether an individual has a disability is not based on the name or diagnosis of the impairment, but rather the impact the impairment has on one or more major life functions (living, learning, etc.) for the individual.
Appropriate documentation will establish (1) that the student meets the definition of a person with a disability; and (2) describes functional limitations that support the need for specific accommodations.
It is recommended that students submit academic requests in a timely manner prior to the beginning of the semester or need for the accommodation. Students may submit accommodation requests and supporting documentation at any time of the semester; however, approved accommodations cannot have retroactive application.
In general, documentation of a disability should be typed on letterhead stationary or be in a report format and should include the following:
- The signature, printed name, title, professional credentials, and contact information of the evaluator;
- The date of the most recent evaluation;
- A clearly stated diagnosis or condition;
- A description of the diagnostic methodology used;
- A description of the student’s current functional limitations in an academic environment;
- A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability.
- Depending upon the impact and duration of a particular condition, documentation should be current and sufficient enough in order to justify the need for the requested accommodations. Each case is evaluated on an individual basis. Note: Students who plan to pursue professional programs such as education, nursing, or graduate degrees may need documentation that is current within three years of the time of the standardized exam. The DSC can assist students in determining documentation needs for professional examinations.
- Should a student need a current assessment, assistance will be given in identifying resources where necessary evaluation can be provided. MHU does not pay for nor provide testing and/or diagnostic services.
- Documentation should identify a diagnosis, address the student’s ability to function in an academic or residential environment, and include recommendations for accommodations. Recommendations will be considered, but MHU is not obligated to provide recommended accommodations when not sufficiently justified to accommodate the identified disability; or that fundamentally alter or reduce the academic standards of the University, courses, or program requirements. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with the student and in consideration of essential program requirements.
- A secondary school plan such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan does not alone constitute documentation of disability but may be included in a student’s overall assessment.
- Statements written on a physician’s prescription pad, or those written by the student and then signed by a health care provider, are not deemed to be sufficient as documentation of disability.
- To complete the process following the submission of documentation, students will be asked to schedule a “Welcome Meeting” with the Disability Services Coordinator to discuss and plan services.