Getting Started

The Office of Accessibility Services assists students with disabilities by providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access in the academic environment. The accommodation process consists of an interactive discussion and documentation review between the student and the OAS counselor.

Students should be advised that the process for requesting and implementing accommodations may take up to 3 weeks. This timeframe is based on a number of potential factors, including but not limited to: the availability of appropriate supporting documentation, the nature of a student’s academic accommodation requests, and scheduling appointments during peak periods of a semester. Once accommodations are established, they are applied proactively, rather than retroactively. Therefore, planning ahead is essential.

  • Newly admitted UVU students are encouraged to start this process approximately 1-2 months prior to the start of the semester for which they plan to attend. It is advised that they are registered for classes by the time they attend the Intake Meeting with an OAS counselor.
  • UVU students currently enrolled and attending classes should start this process as soon as possible once they have identified a barrier and/or a need.

Step 1: Apply Online

Complete the online OAS Application Form

This brief online intake form is for students to provide information about the functional impacts of a disability and to request accommodations.

Submit relevant documentation

Documentation that describes the nature of a disability including the diagnosis, functional limitations, and impact in the educational environment is necessary in order to establish reasonable accommodations. Students are encouraged to have their medical/mental health provider complete the OAS Disability Documentation Form or provide whatever documentation they have in accordance with our Documentation Guidelines.

Documentation should be submitted at the time of application via one of the options outlined below:

  • Upload documentation as part of the online OAS Application Form
  • Upload documentation into the student portal on Accommodate.  Accommodate is the online system used by OAS students and staff to submit, track, and streamline the accommodation process for approved students.
  • Fax documentation to: 801-863-8377
  • Deliver documentation in person to LC 312

Once the online Application Form and related documentation are received, an OAS staff member will review the application file and communicate with the student via UVU email with instructions for scheduling an Intake Meeting.

OAS New Student Application.

Step 2: Attend an Intake Meeting with an OAS Counselor

Upon completion of Step 1, an OAS staff member will send an email to the student’s UVU email address to confirm receipt of the online application and documentation, along with instructions to schedule an Intake Meeting. During this meeting, the OAS counselor and the student will discuss the nature of the disability and how the functional limitations of the disability impact their academic experiences, review the documentation that was submitted, and provide information about supportive resources.

If documentation is not sufficient to establish accommodations, the student will be provided with an explanation regarding what information is needed and the student will be instructed to set a follow-up appointment once the new documentation can be obtained.

Step 3: Establish Reasonable Accommodations

The purpose of the Intake Meeting is to allow the student and counselor to engage in the interactive process in reviewing the documentation and discussing how the disability impacts the student in in the educational environment. The goal is to implement accommodations that will address the barriers the student is experiencing and help ensure equal access. Once accommodations are established, the counselor will provide the student with information about the process for implementing the accommodations.

Accommodations are approved on a case-by-case basis according to the functional limitations of the disability and the needs of the student. Careful consideration is taken to ensure that the accommodations do not fundamentally alter academic standards or modify the course curriculum. In some instances, consultation with faculty may be needed to ensure that the accommodations won’t fundamentally alter the essential elements of the course.

In the event that an accommodation is not approved and the student is in disagreement with the decision, they may submit an appeal and request reconsideration through the Grievance Process. 

Step 4: Accommodations are Approved and a Letter of Accommodation is Emailed to Student, Appropriate Faculty, and Other Appropriate Staff As Needed

Once accommodations are approved, it is the student’s responsibility to submit a semester request online via Accommodate to have a Letter of Accommodation be issued to instructors. A semester request must be submitted each semester for accommodations to be active.

The Letter of Accommodation (LOA) is emailed approximately 1-2 weeks prior to the beginning of a semester when an application/request is made prior to the semester starting. When a semester is already in session, the LOA will be issued at the time of application/request.

Students are expected to:

  1. Review their Letter of Accommodation (LOA) to ensure that that they understand the parameters of their accommodations.
  2. Communicate with their instructors to ensure that the LOA was received and to discuss how to best implement the accommodations in each class.
  3. Notify their OAS counselor immediately if they encounter problems with the accommodations.
  4. Be advised that some accommodations may require further consultation before being fully implemented.

Additional Information on Getting Started with OAS

Privacy Information:

All information and documentation submitted to the OAS is kept separate from academic records and is considered private under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). HIPAA privacy and confidentiality guides do not apply to documents submitted to OAS, as they are not being used for medical treatment. Under FERPA guidelines, OAS can not guarantee complete confidentiality as there may be times when sharing some information with other UVU staff/faculty is necessary in the facilitation of the accommodation process.

Release of Information:

Students will need to submit a Release of Information Form if they would like their OAS Coordinator to discuss their disability and accommodations with a family member, healthcare provider, or other non-UVU staff. The OAS Disability Documentation Form allows for communication between OAS and the particular healthcare provider who completes the form.

Student Rights & Responsibilities

Utah Valley University is committed to providing equal access for qualified students with disabilities, in accordance with state and federal laws. Equal access is provided through accommodations on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS). As a student with a disability receiving accommodation from OAS, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities outlined below.Utah Valley University is committed to providing equal access for qualified students with disabilities, in accordance with state and federal laws. Equal access is provided through accommodations on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS). As a student with a disability receiving accommodation from OAS, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities outlined below.

OAS Students Have the Right To:

  1. An equal opportunity to access course information and materials.
  2. An equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the university community.
  3. To choose whether or not to disclose the nature of your disability to your professor(s). The information you provide to OAS is protected by FERPA.
  4. To file a grievance if you believe you have been discriminated against.

 

Students walking in front of the UVU seal at the entrance of campus.

OAS Student Responsibilities:

  1. Self-identify to OAS as having a disability and provide accurate and timely documentation.
  2. Check UVU email and/or Accommodate portal for updates and announcements.
  3. Understand that the accommodation process, from application to implementation, can take up to three weeks to be completed.
  4. Request accommodations each semester in a timely manner and understand that a late request does not constitute retroactive adjustments.
  5. Notify OAS if classes are dropped or added.
  6. Ensure that instructors have received the Letter of Accommodation once it has been issued.
  7. Communicate directly with instructors regarding exam accommodations and stay in communication about the time and place of such exams.
  8. Contact OAS in a timely manner if having any difficulty securing or arranging accommodations.
  9. Promptly return any borrowed equipment to OAS when it is no longer needed.
  10. If approved for note taking or audio recording services, I understand that these services are for my use only and may not be shared. In addition, I understand that I must be present in class to receive these services.
  11. Understand that requesting accommodations does not mean that I will be approved.
  12. Meet the same standards—academic, technical, performance and behavioral—expected of all Utah Valley University students.
  13. Some accommodations may be approved temporarily. This may be due to insufficient documentation and/or type of disability. In these cases, I will need to update my documentation to receive accommodations again. I understand that approval with be based on a review of the new documentation and there is no guarantee that the same or any accommodations will be approved.
  14. Understand that faculty are not required to provide any accommodation that fundamentally alters the nature of their course or lowers the academic standards.

Parents and Family

Going to college can be a significant transition for both the student and the family. For many students, this may be the first time that they are separating from parents and creating their own independence. Transition is an exciting time, but it may also bring up many questions and concerns as well. Students and parents must understand what it means to transition to college with a disability and the steps to take to receive support from the Office of Accessibility Services. (OAS)

OAS cannot guarantee that your student will succeed, but we will work to ensure that your student has equal access to the campus and curriculum in order to maximize their chance for success. Listed below is information that outlines how roles and procedures change from high school to higher education.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

During the K-12 years, the parents are the primary source of contact and communication with the school, and the parents have full access to their student’s educational information. Now that your student is in college, your role will change. At the college level, all contact and communication is between the student and the college. When a student enrolls in a post-secondary institution, even if under the age of 18, all of the school records maintained by the college belong to the student. You will not have access to your student’s educational information unless your student chooses to grant permission for you to have access. The student can grant permission by signing a release of information with the college. To have access to your student’s disability related information with OAS, the student would need to sign our Release of Information form found under the ‘Forms and Resources’ section of our website.

Students jumping behind a volleyball net.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans only apply to the K-12 setting. Some accommodations granted in an IEP or 504 Plan don’t transfer to the post-secondary level. This is due to the fact that the higher education environment operates under the premise of ensuring access rather than guaranteeing success. Therefore, the level of documentation needed to establish a disability and functional limitations may involve more information than an IEP or 504 Plan requires. One difference is that IEPs and 504 plans do not always contain the evaluation/assessment scores that qualify a student with a learning disability for accommodations and services at the higher education level. If evaluation/assessment scores are not available or your student needs to be assessed for a disability, please contact us to discuss your options.

The role of the school in the provision of accommodations also changes from high school to college. At the high school level, the school is responsible for identifying students who need accommodations or services. However, in higher education students are responsible for identifying themselves to the disability office and providing appropriate documentation that outlines the diagnosis and functional impacts. Accommodations, rather than special education services, are implemented at the college level. Once accommodations are approved, OAS partners with your student and the faculty to ensure that effective and appropriate accommodations are implemented to provide equal access.