Procedures for Requesting Academic Accommodations on the Basis of Disability

At the Beginning of an Academic Program

Once a student has been accepted to an academic program at Boston University, such student should immediately begin the application process for obtaining accommodations. As the review and development of accommodations may take several weeks, students are strongly encouraged to initiate the process well before classes begin. The following steps must be completed:

1. Medical Documentation

Boston University requires that students seeking accommodations provide appropriate medical documentation of their disability in order for Disability Services to:

  1. determine eligibility as a qualified individual with a disability; and
  2. determine appropriate academic accommodations for that student.

In general, medical documentation must be provided by a physician or other appropriate professional. For information on the required qualifications of evaluators, please see the appropriate Disability Verification Form available from Disability Services. This documentation should consist of a current report or evaluation prepared by the appropriate professional, along with a completed and signed copy of the appropriate Disability Verification Form. The documentation must:

  1. specify the particular medical diagnosis, including when the diagnosis was made and the likely duration of the condition;
  2. describe in detail the student’s functional limitations created by the diagnosis; and
  3. indicate accommodations that are recommended for the student, along with explanations as to why these accommodations would be useful.

Evaluators are encouraged to include appropriate medical reports, relevant medical history, test scores, where relevant, and any other medical or educational records or data that would be useful in determining and providing appropriate accommodations and services. Information regarding the contents of documentation may be found in the appropriate Disability Verification Form. In some cases, Disability Services may ask you or your physician/evaluator to submit additional information.

2. Accommodation Formulation

Once a student’s eligibility is established, Disability Services proceeds to formulate those academic accommodations that will best assist the student in meeting the requirements of his or her particular academic program. The goal of this process is to ensure equality of access and opportunity for students with disabilities. In reviewing the specific accommodation requested by the student or recommended by the physician/evaluator, Disability Services may find that while a recommendation is clinically supported, it is not the most appropriate accommodation given the requirements of a particular student’s academic program. In addition, in light of our considerable experience in providing accommodations, Disability Services may also propose clinically supported accommodations that would be appropriate and useful for the student, but which neither the student nor the evaluator have requested.

3. Dean’s Authorization

At the completion of the review process, Disability Services seeks approval of the recommended accommodations from the Dean of the School or College in which the student is enrolled. The Dean reviews these recommendations to ensure that the accommodations are consistent with the fundamental requirements of that particular student’s degree program. The University does not waive program requirements or permit substitutions for required courses. For example, several degree programs at the University have foreign language or mathematics requirements; the University considers these degree requirements to be fundamental, and therefore they will not be waived. Please note that no accommodations can be provided until this process is completed.

If the student changes degree programs, a new Dean’s authorization must occur for the new program. As each degree program has different requirements, accommodations may be appropriate for one program, but not for another. For example, a student transferring from the College of Communications (COM) to the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) would need authorization from the Dean of CAS, even if such authorization had already been obtained from the Dean of COM. A student enrolled in more than one degree program through the Boston University Collaborative Degree Program (BUCOP), in a combined B.A./M.A. program or through a combination graduate program must obtain Dean’s authorization from the Dean of each School or College. Please note that students from the College of General Studies, after completing their two-year program and moving on to another School or College, must obtain Dean’s approval from their new School or College.

In the event that a student becomes eligible for additional accommodations, a new Dean’s authorization must be obtained for those additional accommodations.