Requesting Academic Accommodations on the Basis of Disability
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, available from Disability Services. The documentation must:
a. Specify the particular medical diagnosis, including when the diagnosis was made and the likely duration of the condition;
b. Describe in detail the student’s functional limitations created by the diagnosis; and
c. 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. Please note that no accommodations can be provided until this process is completed. 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.
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 Communication (COM) to the College of Arts & 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.
Once the Dean’s approval is in place, the student must comply with the following process each and every semester:
1. Request for Accommodation Form
At the beginning of each semester, students requesting accommodations for their courses that semester must complete a Request for Accommodation Form. Through the Request for Accommodation Form, the student provides the following information:
a. Basic identity information such as name, ID number, e-mail address, telephone numbers, local and permanent addresses;
b. The specific accommodations requested; and
c. The course and section numbers, course names, as well as the name of the faculty member teaching the course, for each course in which the student is enrolled in the current semester.
Please note that the requested accommodations are limited to those for which the student has received prior approval (including Dean’s authorization) through the application process and must be on file with Disability Services.
2. Accommodation Letters
For students enrolled in most schools and colleges,* once the accommodations are approved and a Request for Accommodation Form has been submitted, Disability Services prepares an accommodation letter for each faculty member teaching each course in which the student is seeking accommodations. This letter informs the faculty member that the student has a disability and recommends that the student be provided with certain specified academic accommodations. Faculty members are authorized to provide students with accommodations only on the basis of an accommodation letter addressed specifically to that faculty member from Disability Services.
The student is to present the accommodation letter to the faculty member, and is expected to discuss the implementation of the accommodations with that faculty member. For example, if a student is eligible for extended time on examinations in a separate distraction-reduced environment, the faculty member and student would discuss the arrangements for taking examinations under these conditions. The faculty member may have questions or concerns that should be raised at this time. Students are encouraged to arrange a private conversation during the faculty member’s office hours rather than approaching the faculty member before or after class. If a faculty member believes that the approved accommodations are inconsistent with the academic standards of the course, or would interfere with the faculty member’s methods of instruction and evaluation of student performance, he or she is entitled to raise those concerns with the student in order to come to a satisfactory resolution. The adjustment process is premised upon an open and productive dialogue between faculty member and student. In the event that the faculty member and student fail to agree, Disability Services should be contacted immediately for advice and assistance.
Students are expected to present accommodation letters to faculty members within the first few weeks of the semester. Accommodation letters must be presented no later than two weeks prior to an examination in order to permit faculty members to prepare and implement accommodations.
Absent extraordinary circumstances, faculty members are not required to provide examination accommodations to students who fail to present the accommodation letter with less than two weeks notice prior to an examination.
Occasionally, a student’s documentation arrives after the semester has begun. In such circumstances, the student must present the accommodation letter as soon as possible after the completion of the staff review.
Students who fail to meet the academic standards set by their schools or colleges are subject to academic action. If placed on probation, they are notified by the responsible office of the school or college and informed of the requirements that must be met to remove probationary status.
To ensure that students on probation devote more time to meeting academic standards, they may not hold office in any University-sponsored organization. They may not participate in intercollegiate events or programs, including athletics, nor otherwise represent the University or its schools or colleges. Students on probation are not excluded from membership in student organizations.
Students are expected to attend all class meetings.
In order to register for courses at the University, both full-time and part-time students must comply with the following two policies.
Beginning in August 2007, Boston University uses an on-demand alert and response system called Send Word Now. In the event of a campus emergency, Send Word Now’s technology would allow us to contact the entire campus community immediately through a variety of electronic means, including text messaging, e-mail, and voice mail. To ensure the effectiveness of this system, students need to provide an emergency alert phone number on the Student Link. If a student provided such a number prior to August 2007, they need to revisit the Student Link and confirm that the number entered is still valid. If you have questions about the Send Word Now system, please visit www.bu.edu/emergency/sendwordnow/faq.html.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires that all full-time students and many part-time students enrolled in colleges and universities complete a series of immunizations. The necessary immunizations are outlined on the Student Health Services website; you are informed of this requirement when you enroll at Boston University and we remind you of this each year. Please check the Student Link to learn whether this state regulation applies to you and, if so, whether Student Health Services has received the appropriate documentation.
Noncompliance with these two policies can prevent a student from registering for courses beginning with the registration process for the Spring 2008 semester.
For most schools and colleges, a normal course load is four courses at four credit hours each, or sixteen credit hours. In general, students enrolled for three 4-credit courses, or twelve credit hours, are assessed full-time tuition and fees (Metropolitan College under- graduate students are the exception). Students permitted, by their school or college of registration, to register for more than eighteen credit hours will be assessed additional tuition at the per credit rate of their school or college. Most undergraduate students need permission from their school or college to reduce their course load from full time to part time. Part-time students are assessed at the rate of the school or college offering the course, or at the special-fee rate if the course is designated as a special-fee course.
According to U.S. immigration law, international students on F-1 and J-1 visas are required to be enrolled for a minimum of twelve credits per semester, with the exception of summer sessions, when attendance is not mandatory.
Within the University
If space is available, and if permitted by the school or college giving the course, you may cross-register and receive degree credit for courses outside your school or college of registration. In most cases, your advisor must approve cross-registration selections. Courses offered by Metropolitan College may require special permission.
At Other Universities
Several schools and colleges within Boston University have formal, cooperative arrangements for cross-registration at nearby institutions. Information and permission may be obtained from your school or college.
Dean’s Recommendation Forms
Dean’s Certification, Transfer Recommendation Forms
Students wishing to transfer schools, apply to graduate or professional programs, or who are applying for a special academic program, study abroad, or a particular scholarship or award, may need to provide a dean’s recommendation form as part of the application process. Dean’s recommendation forms (also known as dean’s certification forms or transfer recommendation forms) typically require academic information and information pertaining to a student’s conduct. At the University, academic information is tracked within each student’s school or college of registration, while disciplinary/conduct information is maintained at Judicial Affairs & Student Safety Programs. Recommendation forms are completed through the joint efforts of the schools and colleges and Judicial Affairs. In order to expedite the process, please note the following guidelines for submitting recommendation/certification/transfer forms:
- All students should be sure that their recommendation forms are clearly marked with:
- Student’s full name (maiden name where applicable)
- Student’s date of birth
- University ID number and Social Security number
- Dates of attendance
- School or college of registration
- Current telephone number
- Forwarding address (residence and/or institution)
- All forms should be accompanied by a stamped, addressed envelope for mailing out the completed form.
- Students applying to professional graduate programs (law school, medical school, dental school, or veterinary school) should submit the dean’s recommendation forms to the Preprofessional Advising Office, at 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room B2. For more information, contact the PreProfessional Advising Office at 617-353-4866.
- Undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences should bring the form directly to Judicial Affairs & Student Safety Programs, 19 Deerfield Street, Third Floor. Judicial Affairs will attach a disciplinary summary letter, and then forward the entire packet to the College of Arts & Sciences Records Office, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room B3, for processing. For more information, contact Judicial Affairs & Student Safety Programs at 617-358-0700 or the CAS Records Office at 617-353-9275.
- All other students should bring their dean’s recommendation forms directly to the dean’s office or records office of the student’s school or college of registration. Staff there will complete these forms, with assistance from staff at Judicial Affairs, and the completed forms will be sent out.
For more information on this process, contact your school or college.
Declaring or Changing a Concentration
Students must declare a concentration prior to registering for their junior year. To do this, or to change an already-declared concentration, complete a program change form, obtained from your school or college.
Dropping and Adding Courses
Students may drop or add a course using WebReg on the Student Link. Students may also complete a class adjustment form, which is available from your school or college, or from the Office of the University Registrar. At a number of schools and colleges, an instructor’s signature is required to add or drop a course after the semester begins. Consult with your advisor before adding or dropping a course.
Important Points to Remember:
- After the first two weeks of classes, no courses may be added.
- Courses dropped during the first five weeks will not appear on students’ permanent records.
- Courses dropped after the first five weeks will remain on permanent records with grades of W. Students will be charged for any W grade course.
- No course may be dropped after the eighth week of the semester.
Course examinations are given at the instructor’s discretion. Final examinations are given only during the scheduled examination periods (dates are stated in the academic calendar).
If you fail a final examination, you cannot take a second examination until you retake the course. If you are absent for sufficient reason from a final examination and want credit for the course, you must apply to your school or college for special examination privileges. You must complete a special examination before the end of the semester immediately following your absence.
Students may obtain semester grades in the following ways:
- Call the Terrier Phone at 617-353-6561; select option 2 on the Registrar’s Office Functions menu
- Access the Student Link at www.bu.edu/studentlink
Students will have the option to receive a printed copy of semester grades on both TelGrade and the Student Link for a period of six weeks after the semester has ended. After listening to the grade report, students should follow the instructions to receive a printed copy. Grades can be mailed to either the home or local address.
Students who are unable to use the Terrier Phone or access the Student Link after the semester ends can make special arrangements to receive their grades by calling 617-353-3612 or visiting the Office of the University Registrar, 881 Commonwealth Avenue, Second Floor.
If, for reasons acceptable to the instructor, a student fails to take the final examination or to complete any other required work within a course, he or she receives the grade Incomplete (“I”). Within the time limit set by the individual school or college, the student must complete the course requirements. If the student does complete the course requirements, the “I” grade is replaced with the appropriate letter grade. If the student fails to complete the course requirements, the “I” grade may be changed to “F.”
Students who desire to transfer from one school or college of the University to another must obtain the appropriate form from the original school or college of study. They should complete the form and follow the directions for application to the new college. Each college has requirements for acceptance that must be met. A transcript needs to be sent, and an appointment with a member of the dean’s staff is necessary. International students must bring a transfer approval form to the International Students & Scholars Office.
Registration procedures vary depending on the school or college of enrollment. See registration information published by your school or college.
An officially registered student is one who has registered for classes and has resolved all charges with Student Accounting Services.
Candidates for admission to degree programs may not register until they receive a formal statement of acceptance. Students accepted to the University receive registration forms and a schedule of classes being offered. To register, select your courses from the schedule according to instructions provided by your school or college, and complete and submit the registration form or if eligible use WebReg. If registration is completed before the billing deadline, Student Accounting Services will mail an invoice (statement of charges). If registration is not completed by the billing deadline, you will not receive an invoice in the mail and you will have to complete the payment process in person. Continuing students select courses and complete registration in October/November and March/April for the spring and fall semesters, respectively. The registration process varies among schools and colleges. Your school or college will provide you with registration instructions. Registration is complete when Student Accounting Services receives full payment.
In order to register for classes, a student must be in compliance with official immunization and communication policies of the University. Immunization requirements include providing the University documentation that you are compliant with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts immunization series that applies to your age and enrollment status. The Student Link will provide you with individualized information about what you must do to comply. Communication requirements include having a working telephone number where you can be reached in the event of a campus emergency. The Student Link is where you can list and update this information. Noncompliance with these policies will prevent you from registering for classes.
The dates of the official registration period are available through the Registrar’s Office homepage. Students should complete registration by the published registration deadline for each semester. Students in special programs that commence later in the semester should register by the end of the first week of the program. A late fee is charged to students who do not register and settle their accounts before the deadline published by the Student Accounting Services Office.
No student will be allowed to register after the published registration deadline for each semester. Students in special programs that commence later in a semester will not be allowed to register later than the end of the first week of the program. Students may petition for a waiver of this policy. Petition forms may be obtained in the student’s school or college. Students whose petitions are approved and who are allowed to complete late registration will be subject to a late fee.
Undergraduate students who have voluntarily made themselves absent from the University for one or more semesters must petition for reinstatement through their original school or college at least eight weeks before the start of the semester. Students who transfer to another institution and wish to return must apply for a transfer through the Admissions Office. International students must present to the International Students & Scholars Office proof that they have been academically reinstated by their school or college at the University and, if absent for more than one semester, have updated financial documentation in order to receive a new visa document.
Suspension or Dismissal
Boston University, through its various faculties and committees, reserves the discretionary right to suspend or dismiss any student from the University for failure to maintain a satisfactory academic record, acceptable personal behavior, or for other reasons of health, safety, or welfare of the University community. It is University policy that no progress can be made toward a degree during a period in which the student is suspended from the University for disciplinary reasons.
Requests for official transcripts must be made in writing, either by letter or by completing a transcript request form available at the Office of the University Registrar. Please include the following information: full name, including any former names; signature; Boston University ID number or Social Security number; schools attended and dates; degrees awarded; and complete address of transcript destination(s). The transcript fee is $3 per copy, and payment must accompany the request. The processing time for transcript requests received by mail is three to five business days. The Registrar’s Office does not accept faxed transcript requests. Transcripts can be sent by DHL for $10.50 per destination within the continental United States. For other destinations, please contact the Transcript Department for costs. Official and unofficial transcripts can be obtained in person at the Registrar’s Office during regular business hours. A valid photo ID is required. There is no charge for unofficial transcripts. Please note that the Registrar’s Office does not mail unofficial transcripts.
Transfer Recommendation Forms
(See Dean’s Recommendation Forms under Academic Policies)
Withdrawal and Leaves of Absence
Undergraduate degree candidates who wish to withdraw or take a leave of absence must do so at the University Service Center, 881 Commonwealth Avenue. Students who are not in the area should mail or fax (617-358-1819) a signed request to the Service Center. (Graduate students should submit their request to their academic dean’s office. MET evening students and all non-degree students should submit their requests directly to the Office of the University Registrar.) Students on a leave of absence are considered matriculated students at Boston University and may not enroll as degree candidates at another institution.
A leave of absence or withdrawal is effective on the date it is received in the appropriate office. The standard refund schedule calls for charges for undergraduate students (excluding those in Metropolitan College) to be canceled as follows:
- Before the start of the semester—100 percent tuition and fees
- During the first two weeks of classes—80 percent of tuition
- During the third week of classes—60 percent of tuition
- During the fourth week of classes—40 percent of tuition
- During the fifth week of classes—20 percent of tuition
- After the fifth week of classes—no cancellation
Students who take a leave of absence or withdraw from the University must withdraw from the University residential system. To be considered officially withdrawn from the University residential system, students who withdraw or take a leave of absence from the University must complete all of the checkout procedures outlined in the “Term/Cancellation” section of the Terms and Conditions of the Residence License Agreement within forty-eight hours of their leave or withdrawal. Residence and board fees are credited according to the “Credits of Residence and Board Fees upon Withdrawal” schedule in the Terms and Conditions of the Residence License Agreement, only after these checkout procedures are completed.
Students who have withdrawn from the University residential system, or who have been separated from the University residential system, are not guaranteed an on-campus assignment in the current or subsequent semesters. The application fee, tuition deposit, and housing guarantee payment are nonrefundable. No fees are refunded after the beginning of classes. A credit balance on your account resulting from withdrawal, overpayment, or adjustment will be refunded upon written request to Student Accounting Services, 881 Commonwealth Avenue, Lower Level, Boston, MA 02215.