Disability Accommodations and Services

Reasonable disability accommodations are adjustments to policies, practices and procedures that “level the playing field” for students with disabilities, as long as such adjustments do not lessen academic or programmatic requirements.

Accommodation plans and services are designed to match the disability-related needs of each student, and are determined according to documented needs and the student’s program requirements.

Accommodations are determined case by case, after Disability Services (DS) considers both the student’s needs as described in their disability documentation and the technical academic standards of their course or program.

In order to request accommodations, students must complete the entire DS registration process

Faculty may also consult with Disability Services on the final determination of accommodations for each of their courses and for each student. Some accommodations may be appropriate in one course or program, but not in another.

See the Related Resources below for more information about accommodations and support services.

FAQs

Are there services that Disability Services does not provide?

Disability Services does not diagnose learning disabilities or ADHD nor provide funding for diagnostic evaluations. Disability Services also does not provide personal services, including but are not limited to, content-based tutoring, reimbursement for transportation, ADHD coaching, personal care attendants, medical treatment, or private transportation around campus.

How are reasonable accommodations determined?

Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis after Disability Services considers the student’s needs as described in their disability documentation. Faculty also have the opportunity to consult with Disability Services on the final determination of accommodations for each of their courses and students. Some accommodations may be appropriate in one course or program, but not in another. For example, an accommodation of extended time might be appropriate for a course with in-class timed exams, but might not be in a course where students are evaluated solely based on papers or group presentations.

What are reasonable accommodations?

Reasonable Accommodations are adjustments to policy, practice, and programs that “level the playing field” for students with disabilities and provide equal access to  programs and activities at Columbia University. Examples of accommodations may include the administration of exams with extended time or in a smaller proctored environment, while services may include note-taking, sign language interpreters, assistive technology, and coordination of accessible housing needs. Accommodation plans and services are customized to match the disability-related needs of each student and are determined according to documentation and the student’s program requirements.

Do I need to register with Disability Services to request housing accommodations?

You do need to submit the Registration Form if you are only requesting housing accommodations.  Should you require academic/classroom/campus disability accommodations, you must submit the Registration Form to make such requests.

I am attending an event at Columbia, how do I make arrangements for accommodations?

Contact Disability Services at least two weeks in advance to request disability accommodations. Certain accommodations, such as sign-language interpreting services, require advance notice to coordinate.

Someone requested a Sign Language Interpreter or other accommodation for an event I am hosting. What should I do?

Submit a request to Disability Services at least two weeks in advance of the event. Requests made less than two weeks’ notice cannot be guaranteed.

How do I request disability-related housing accommodations?

Disability-related housing accommodations are modifications to the residential environment for students whose disabilities substantially limit their ability to live in Columbia’s traditional housing arrangements. These accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to documented need, and prevailing standards for reasonable accommodations. Housing accommodations are granted after a determination of the student’s disability status and a determination that his or her particular disability necessitates adjustments to the living environment. For more information, please see the Housing Accommodations page.

What is assistive technology and what is available at Columbia?

Assistive technology is any item, computer software, hardware or piece of equipment that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Examples of assistive technology include screen magnification software, screen reading software, voice recognition software, Braille translation software, accessible computer or laboratory stations, reading and writing software, and electronic textbooks. Disability Services has a full-time Assistive Technology Specialist who works with students, faculty, and staff to assess their need for assistive technology. The AT specialist also trains students, faculty and staff on such software and/or equipment.  
 

What should I do if I am having difficulty arranging accommodations for one of my classes?

Students who are having difficulty arranging their accommodations should contact Disability Services.

What should I do if I feel like my accommodations are not sufficient?

For details about this matter, please review the information about Supplemental Accommodations.

How do I notify my professors that I am registered with Disability Services?

During the first few weeks of each new semester, students are required to present Disability Services Accommodation Letters to each of their professors. To request these letters, students must submit the Accommodation Letter Request Form. Students will receive an email when the letters are prepared and ready to be picked up from Disability Services. Student must return signed letters to Disability Services after each professor reviews and signs the letter.

Last updated April 23, 2014