Student Accessibility Services

Frequently Asked Questions

What are accommodations?

A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment that allows an individual with a disability to access course material and demonstrate course knowledge. An accommodation does not alter fundamental course outcomes. Accommodations are to be kept confidential between Student Accessibility Services, the student seeking accommodations, and the faculty member.

Who is eligible for accommodations?

Students with documented disabilities are eligible for accommodations after meeting with Student Accessibility Services and completing a Semester Accommodation Request form. Federal laws require St. Cloud State University to provide equal access and opportunity to all students.

Who determines the accommodations for a student with a disability?

Under Policy Memorandum 178, the college has granted the Student Accessibility Services office the authority to interpret disability documentation and determine appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.

What can I do to support students with disabilities?

The best way to support students with disabilities is to provide open and clear communication. Post the syllabus and course textbooks in advance. Provide closed captioning for any videos shown in the course. If note taking support is needed, assist with providing instructor copies of notes, or assist SAS in finding a note taker for the class. Encourage students to seek Student Accessibility Services.

Do students have to go to Student Accessibility Services for accommodations?

Students are not required to go to Student Accessibility Services for accommodations, but are highly encouraged. If you are working with a student who has a disability, refer the student to the SAS office. You may offer to provide accommodations, but are not required to without an accommodation letter from Student Accessibility Services. We ask that you guide students who have disabilities to Student Accessibility Services so they can get formal accommodations and be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Am I obligated to provide testing accommodations inside my classroom?

You may offer to provide accommodations within your classroom if you would prefer, provided you are meeting the student’s needs of extra time, reader, scribe or whatever is necessary.  However, the student has a right to schedule exams in Student Accessibility Services if they so choose. Student Accessibility Services is equipped to meet accommodations for all students.

Will exams always coincide with the schedule provided in the syllabus?

Typically, students utilizing testing accommodations would take the exam at the exact same time as the class is scheduled to take the exam. There are two scenarios in which the student would need to take the exam at a different time than what the class is scheduled for. These scenarios are: 

  1. If the student has another class immediately after the class for the exam and the extended time would interfere with the next class.
  2. If the extended time accommodation would extend past the Student Accessibility Services operating hours. Student Accessibility Services operates between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

How does the SAS office keep academic exams secure?

When an exam is delivered to the SAS office, it is labeled with the instructor and student’s name and placed in a secure location. When the student has completed the exam, it will be scanned and emailed to the professor (paper copy shredded after 24 hours). If an instructor chooses to to have the exam delivered to them, the exam will be stored in a secure location until the end of the day when we return exams. Our office returns tests ONCE per day, if your office is closed, it is your responsibility to retrieve the exam from our office at your earliest convenience. An instructor may also indicate that they prefer to pick up the exam, we are located in Centennial Hall, Room 202, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

If a student discloses a disability after failing an exam or assignment, what should I do?

The student has been advised by the SAS office that accommodations do not have to be provided retroactively. If a student chooses to take a test without extended time and does poorly on the test, the professor does not have to allow the student to retake that test using extended time. It is up to the faculty if they would like to allow a make-up for this situation. The faculty member should refer the student directly to SAS recommending the student call 320-308-4080 to make an appointment to discuss the academic accommodations process. 

What is my responsibility if SAS provided me with an accommodation letter but the student chooses not to use any accommodations in my class?

Your responsibility is to provide the accommodations when the accommodation letter is sent. It is the student's choice as to which accommodations to use in their classes. The student has been advised by the SAS office that accommodations do not have to be provided retroactively. So, if a student chooses to take a test without extended time and does poorly on the test, the professor does not have to allow the student to retake that test using extended time. It is up to the faculty if they would like to allow a make-up for this situation.

For in person testing, SAS will notify the professor when the student has registered for an exam in SAS. 

For online testing, the professor should automatically apply accommodations. 

What if one of my students has accommodations that I believe will alter the fundamentals of my course?

Accommodations are intended to provide equity to students with disabilities. If a faculty member believes a specific accommodation will fundamentally alter the essential components of the course, the faculty member should contact the SAS director to discuss the specific nature of the accommodation's impact on the course. The faculty member should continue implementing the accommodation until a decision is made with the directors approval.

Do I have any recourse if I disagree with the approved accommodations?

Accommodations are not optional. Students with disabilities and their accommodations are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If a faculty member disagrees with an approved accommodation or believes the specific accommodation will fundamentally alter the essential components of the course, the faculty member should contact the director of Student Accessibility Services at 320-308-4080.

Does granting accommodations to one student provide an unfair advantage over the other students in that class?

Academic accommodations are based on current and appropriate disability documentation, in accordance with Federal Law. This is done by removing barriers to learning and demonstration of knowledge for students with disabilities in the academic setting.

If a student verbally informs me about their disability, am I automatically required to provide accommodations?

Accommodations are only required to be provided after receiving an official accommodation letter from SAS. You should recommend the student contact the SAS office in Centennial Hall 202 or email sas@stcloudstate.edu.

Are students required to identify their disability or provide copies of disability documentation to faculty and staff?

No, due to confidentiality laws, a student should only provide disability documentation to the Student Accessibility Services office and not to any other office or faculty member. The student is free to discuss their disability if they choose to do so. It is important that faculty and staff do not pressure them to disclose their disability.

Why doesn't the accommodation letter from Student Accessibility Services include the nature of the student's disability?

Confidentiality of a student's specific disability diagnosis and the details of the disability are important. The students are not required to provide these details to staff or faculty, although a student may feel comfortable discussing their disability as related to the classroom accommodations.

Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because a student has a disability?

The same course standards should be applied to all students within your class. Academic accommodations are provided to students for equity and accessibility.

Is a faculty member able to deny a student with a disability to audio record their lectures?

No, an instructor is required to allow a student to record their lectures if recording the class is determined to be an appropriate accommodation for a student’s disability. Audio recording is specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a means of providing full participation in educational programs and activities. Students who are approved to have this accommodation are informed that audio recordings are not to be redistributed and are only for personal use. Contact the SAS office with specific questions or concerns about audio recording lectures.