Accommodation of Students With Disabilities :: Northern Virginia Community College

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Accommodation of Students With Disabilities

Policy Number: 607

Categorized: Student Services

Responsible Office: Director, Disability Support Services

Subject: Policy and procedure for providing reasonable accommodation to qualified students with disabilities

Related Policies: Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination


Additional Information: Disability Support Services

Effective Date:

Last Reviewed Date: 09/06/2017

1.0 Scope

This policy applies to all qualified student with disabilities who wish to request reasonable accommodation for their disabilities.

2.0 Policy Statement

NOVA is committed to ensuring all academically qualified students have an opportunity to pursue a college education regardless of the presence or absence of a disability. NOVA makes reasonable accommodations in providing course, program and building modification, and/or auxiliary aids and services in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008. The College is not required to provide any aid or service that would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program.

Students, faculty, and staff are required to utilize this policy and its procedures in order to request, authorize, and/or implement reasonable accommodations. The college shall analyze each request on a case-by-case basis. Accommodation requests and services are not retroactive.

3.0 Definitions

Accommodation: an adjustment or modification in the academic environment that enables an individual to enjoy equal access to the College's programs, services or activities, including auxiliary aids and services. Examples of accommodations are: note takers, recording devices, sign language interpreters, extended time for testing, screen-reading, voice recognition, or other adaptive software or hardware.


  1. Any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
  2. Having a record of such an impairment; or
  3. Being regarded as having such impairment.

Fundamental Alteration: The College is not required to provide any aid or service or make any modification that would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program. In evaluating whether the requested program modifications would require substantial program alteration or would fundamentally alter academic standards or programs, the College considers the underlying academic reasons for the program components, the academic standards institutionalized in the program, how the challenged components are consistent with the program standards, and how the requested accommodations would be inconsistent with the academic goals and standards of the program.

Major life activities: functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, and experiencing leisure.

Memorandum of Accommodation (MOA): the official document prepared by a Disabilities Services counselor in consultation with the student that lists the approved classroom and testing accommodations. The instructor and test center personnel must have a copy of the MOA in order to provide the accommodations. Approved accommodations must be reasonable and must not constitute a fundamental alteration of the course.

Qualified Student with a Disability: a student who, with or without accommodations, meets the academic and technical standards for admission to or participation in the education program or activity requested.

Substantially limits: when one is unable to perform a major life activity that the average person can perform; or when one is significantly restricted in the manner or duration under which one can perform a particular major life activity as compared to the average person.

4.0 Procedures

4.1. Requesting Accommodations

It is the responsibility of the student with a disability to request a reasonable accommodation from the College and to provide documentation of the disability, if necessary. Requests for accommodation should be made as early as possible to allow time to assess the request and provide reasonable accommodation.

Requests should be submitted using the online application process on the Disability Support Services webpage.

4.2. Medical Documentation

The student must provide documentation of the disability. Documentation may be submitted online on the Disability Support Services webpage. The documentation must include:

  • the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator (ex. licensed psychologist), the area of specialization and the state/province in which the individual practices.
  • a description of the diagnostic tests, methods and/or criteria used, the specific results of the diagnostic procedures, and when available, both summary and specific test scores. A diagnosis alone is not sufficient information to establish eligibility or provide accommodations.
  • the current substantial functional impact of the disability on a major life activity.
  • treatments, medications and/or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use and significant side effects that may impact physical, perceptual, behavioral or cognitive performance.
  • the expected progression or stability of the impact of the disability over time, particularly the next five years.
  • recommended accommodations, including adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies and/or collateral support services.

Documentation requirements for specific disabilities can be found on the Disability Support Services webpage.

4.3. Assessment and Interactive Process

A Disability Support Services counselor will review the medical documentation to determine whether or not the student is a qualified individual with a disability. If so, the counselor will assess how the requested accommodation or alternative accommodations may allow the student to have equal access to the educational program.

The counselor will conduct an intake interview with the student with the goal of reaching agreement on reasonable accommodations. The counselor will consider the student’s preferences. The final determination of appropriate accommodations rests with NOVA based on the review of all the provided documentation.

When accommodations are granted, the counselor will provide the student a Memorandum of Accommodation (MOA).

4.5. Implementing Accommodations

Implementing accommodations is a shared responsibility between the student, the instructor and the Disability Support Services counselor and staff.

It is the student’s responsibility to provide a copy of the MOA to the instructor in each class where the student wishes to utilize accommodations, as well as to the Test Center if applicable. The student is encouraged to meet with each instructor to discuss how the approved accommodations apply to the specific class.

The College is not required to provide any aid or service or make any modification that would result in a fundamental alteration to the program or a lowering of academic standards. In determining whether or not a modification is a fundamental alteration, the College considers the underlying academic reasons for the requirement, the academic standards in the class or program, and how the requested accommodations would be inconsistent with the academic goals and standards of the program.

A student may request accommodations at any time, but accommodations are not provided retroactively.

4.6. Complaints

A student believes he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of disability or that a request for reasonable accommodation has been unfairly denied, may file a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Officer or use the Student Grievance Procedures to address the complaint.

5.0 Authority

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and ADA Amendments Act of 2008

VCCS Policy Substitution of requirements for students with documented disabilities

VCCS Policy 6.0.1 General Admission to the VCCS Colleges

VCCS Policy 6.0.4 Students with Documented Disabilities