January 29, 2021

Ram Accommodation Manual

New & Prospective Rams

Are you a prospective or new Ram? Have you just accepted your admission to CSU and you wonder “what’s next?” Check out our New Student website for a step by step guide as you wait for your Ram Orientation and class registration.

Student Rights & Responsibilities

As a “qualified student with a disability”, or in other words, someone with a mental or physical that substantially limits a major life activity, you are guaranteed equal access to public goods and services (ADA Title II).

According to CSU Policy 12-0155-003 Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities, you have the following rights:

  • to have their personal information regarding their disability kept confidential
  • to not be discriminated against on the basis of disability
  • to achieve equitable access to educational environment
  • to have their preference of the type of accommodation considered first before alternatives are provided
  • to appeal (see Complaint Procedures) any accommodation determination related to the accommodation process

You also have the following responsibilities:

  • to request reasonable accommodations by contacting SDC
  • to provide documentation of the disability, when necessary, to support requests for reasonable accommodation
  • to engage in the individualized interactive process with the SDC to determine reasonable accommodations
  • to communicate with instructors regarding the accommodations, how they will be implemented, and any difficulties or concerns that arise
  • to notify the SDC when an accommodation process is not working effectively or not being implemented according to the student’s needs


Individual with a disability as defined by the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA and ADAAA is a person who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
  • has a record of such impairment; or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment.

Major Life Activities may include:

Lifting, sleeping, concentrating, breathing, working, eating, walking, standing, reaching, thinking, reading, bending, hearing, seeing, speaking, learning, sitting, caring for self, interacting with others, performing manual tasks, and communicating.

Major life activities may also include major bodily functions such as immune, hemic, digestive, bowel, bladder, genitourinary, lymphatic, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, reproductive, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, special sense organs/skin, and normal cell growth.

An individual with a disability who is otherwise qualified is:

  • An individual who has a substantial impairment and meets the skill, experience, and education requirements of a position held or desired and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodations; or
  • An individual who has a substantial impairment and meets the requirements needed to participate in, and benefit from, an educational activity or other university-sponsored program.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations for an otherwise qualified employee include any modification, adjustment or accommodation to a job, practice, policy, or the work environment that enables the individual to perform the essential functions of their position without creating undue hardship for the institution. Accommodations must also be appropriate and related to the individual’s needs due to the disability. Reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified students include any modification, adjustment or accommodation that may be made without altering the essential function of a course, program of study, or other opportunity to participate in or benefit from it. Examples include, but are not limited to:

Accommodations Process

Requesting accommodations is an interactive process that students, faculty, and Student Disability Center staff engage in. This process only begins once the student initiates it. Please note: Accommodations do not automatically transfer from high school or a previous college to CSU. A meeting with an Accommodation Specialist is still required to determine the unique access barriers you may encounter at this institutions and accommodations to address them.

New First-Time Accommodations:

If you’ve never worked with the SDC before and this is your first time requesting accommodations, please follow these steps to connect with us:

  1. Make a First Appointment with the SDC Front Desk staff by emailing sdc@colostate.edu or calling 970-491-6385.
  2. Meet with your Accommodation Specialist to discuss your individual, unique access barriers, strengths and interests and brainstorm accommodations for you.
  3. Your Accommodation Specialist may request some documentation from a qualified medical provider depending on your situation and accommodations requested.
  4. Next, your Accommodation Specialist will send an Accommodation Letter to your professors by email and copy you so everyone is on the same page. See the section, “Unpacking the Accommodation Letter” for more info.
  5. From there, communicate with your professors about the logistics of your accommodations. If you need support, contact your Accommodation Specialist and they are happy to assist.

Returning Students:

If you have received accommodations at CSU before, please follow these steps:

  1. If you have no changes to make on your requested accommodations, submit your Accommodation Letter Request Form and your Accommodation Specialist will send your accommodation letter to your professors and copy you via email. You must complete this form each semester to receive your letters.
  2. If you wish to make changes to your accommodations, contact your Accommodation Specialist to make adjustments before sending accommodation letters to your professors.
  3. From there, communicate with your professors about the logistics of your accommodations. If you need support, contact your Accommodation Specialist and they are happy to assist.

If you have questions about the accommodations process, or would like to schedule an appointment with an accommodations specialist contact the SDC at 970-491-6385 or visit the main office located in the TILT Building, room 121.

Documentation Guidelines

Please read the Accommodations Process before reading the Documentation Guidelines below for a fully accurate description of how documentation compliments our Accommodations Process.  

Why do we ask for documentation?

As part of our holistic and interactive accommodations process, we collect information from multiple sources about a student’s disability, their experience, and the barriers they encounter. Sources of this information can include a student’s self-report, educational records, and medical documentation. This information helps us gain a thorough understanding of a student’s disability and provide equitable access for their CSU experience. At any time, we may ask for additional documentation if we need more information from a medical provider to identify an access barrier and determine accommodation. 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, our office reserves the right to request documentation to verify that a student is a “qualified person with a disability” and that their requested accommodations are appropriate. Under the ADA, a “qualified person with a disability” is defined as an individual:  

  • who has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities, 
  • who has a history or record of such an impairment, or  
  • who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. 

No documentation, don’t worry

We know that not every student has documentation. In our office, we view disability as part of a student’s identity. Having a disability can have a major impact on how a student sees and experiences the world. We are excited to learn about each student, their experience, and how we can make the CSU environment accessible to them.  

Some students may have never been formally diagnosed with a disability or cannot afford to get documentation. We don’t want to create barriers to connecting with our office. Any student can meet with our office to discuss their situation and explore options for support. During this conversation, we can discuss how to move forward with obtaining documentation.  

What can be documentation?

We know there are multiple types of formal and informal documentation. Some disabilities are self-evident and do not require documentation to assess access needs.  

Formal documentation must be from a licensed medical provider who is unrelated to the student. Examples include:  

  • visual acuity test 
  • letter on official letterhead 
  • psychiatric evaluation 
  • audiogram 
  • 504/IEP from K-12 institution 

If you can provide formal documentation, please ask your provider to include the following: 

  • diagnosis/explanation of symptoms (What is the student experiencing that substantially limits their daily activities?) 
  • duration of documentation (How long should accommodations be provided?) 
  • methodologies to determine the diagnosis/es 
  • any recommendations regarding accommodations 
  • signature of the provider and date  

We recognize that there may be substantial financial and/or societal barriers in obtaining formal documentation. If these barriers apply, please consider the following alternatives: 

  • online Health Portal (screenshots or photos)  
  • accommodation letter from a previous college or university. 
  • accommodation letter from ACT or College Board standardized testing.  

Documentation for Specific Accommodations

Due to additional state and federal laws and compliance, the following specific accommodation processes include additional documentation requirements. Please review these specific procedures to ensure your documentation meets these requirements if you are requesting these accommodations. 

Housing Accommodations

For housing and dining accommodations, we may ask for documentation specific to the housing or dining environment and access barriers presented to the student in their living and dining spaces. 

Emotional Support Animal

The Fair Housing Act requires a housing provider to allow a reasonable accommodation involving an assistance animal in situations that meet certain conditions. Please reference the Support Animal Website for additional information about assistance animals, expectations, and CSU policy.  

To make a request to Colorado State University Student Disability Center for an Emotional Support Animal, please submit the following completed forms to sdc@colostate.edu 

  • ESA Student Information Form, AND 
  • ESA Provider Documentation Form, OR 
  • a letter on official letterhead from a qualified professional with information requested in the Provider Documentation Form will also be accepted  

To make a request to the Colorado State University Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) for non-students, employees, student employees, guests, faculty, and staff, please contact OEO at 970-491-5836. 

Housing Exemption

Colorado State University, and the State of Colorado, living regulations require that all newly admitted first-year students (Admissions Type “New”) and transfer students with fewer than 15 post-high school credits, who are single, under 21 years of age, and not living with their parents in the Fort Collins area, live in the University residence.  

This requirement is shared amongst all residential Colorado universities and colleges. Since this is a state-wide regulation, in order to be exempt from this process for a medical or disability-related reason, students must: 

  1. Submit a Housing Exemption Request Form and notarized personal statement to University Housing  
  1. Submit medical documentation to the Director of the Student Disability Center with verification of the medical diagnosis, recommendation for the exemption, and a description of the access barriers related to living on campus on official letterhead and signed by a qualified medical professional.

Virtual Access

As evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, students with underlying health conditions that may not typically rise to the level of disability but now are experiencing substantial limitations due to the risk of contracting the virus are requesting accommodations. As such, the SDC requests that students with these underlying health conditions such as asthma, heart, lung, kidney disease, autoimmune conditions, or other such factors that increase risk of complicationsubmit a letter from a medical provider which verifies their health condition and the increased risk or vulnerability to COVID-19, taking into consideration vaccine status, as well as recommending remote access and any other additional precautions for the semester.  

How to send documentation

You can submit documentation before, during, or after your appointment. For details, see our contact us page.  

Acceptable Formats of Documentation:

  • email from provider 
  • PDF document 
  • fax 
  • paper copies dropped off to front desk staff member during business hours  
  • clear photos if necessary, but not preferred. 
  • formal documentation must have a date, the provider’s signature, and be on the provider’s business letterhead.  

If we have not confirmed we received your documentation within 3 business days after you sent in the documentation, contact us to follow up.  

FERPA & confidentiality of records

The Student Disability Center is committed to protecting the students’ privacy by ensuring the privacy of student education records as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Examples of information in a student’s record include documentation, case notes, communication between the student and SDC staff, and whether the student is working with the SDC. 

Student information is securely stored in the Student Disability Center, network drives, or a data management system. Student records are retained for seven years from the last semester receiving accommodations and services. Neither disability nor the use of accommodations is noted on a student’s transcripts. 

Student information will be shared only with others within CSU who have a legitimate educational interest or on a “need-to-know” basis. 

Student information will not be released to parties outside CSU, including parents, medical providers, and other colleges or universities, except in accordance with federal and state law. For example, disability-related information may be released pursuant to a court order or subpoena or if the student states intent to harm oneself or others. 

To learn more about FERPA, please visit the Student Privacy Website 

These documentation guidelines, as well as our processes and procedures, are specific to the SDC and CSU. Other entities on campus that provide similar services and/or other institutions may have their own policies, procedures, and documentation guidelines. Accommodations provided at CSU do not automatically transfer to another institution or entity. 

Please note: We will not cover the cost of documentation if required from a provider. Please utilize one of the above free or lower-cost options listed above if finances are an obstacle.  

What is next?

  • make an appointment with the SDC to discuss your disability and CSU experience 
  • send in your documentation of your disability, if applicable 
  • contact us with any questions or concerns  

Unpacking the Accommodation Letter

The Accommodation Letter is a notification to your professors about the general accommodations you have been approved to receive through the individualized, interactive process in consideration of the access barriers you experience in a typical educational environment. In some cases, your accommodations may require modification in order to fit the essential functions or objectives of a course.

Sample Accommodation Letter


Letterhead & Signature

  • Makes it officially recognized as an accommodation letter from the SDC
  • It is against the Student Code of Conduct to forge or falsify an accommodation letter
  • Accommodation letters are dated to reflect the date at which the accommodations take effect; accommodations cannot be applied to dates prior to the listed date, and may only take place from the listed date and onward.

Professor & Student Information

  • Professor name, course, and section number addresses the letter to the appropriate faculty member
  • Student name and CSU ID notifies the professor of the individual for which the accommodations are required


  • Describes the purpose of the accommodation letter in informing the faculty of the students’ legally required accommodations
  • Refers to legal grounds of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1978, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990


  • Breaks up the exam accommodations and classroom accommodations to allow for quick reference immediately prior to an exam
  • Provides brief description and instructions to faculty about accommodations needed

Faculty Communication

  • If a professor has a concern about an accommodation, is unsure how to provide it, or feels it fundamentally alters a core course objective, they must contact the SDC Accommodation Specialist listed on the letter as soon as possible, preferably within 2 business days. The SDC specialist and professor will negotiate the concern, and if necessary come up with an alternate accommodation, and then include the student once the issue has been resolved. If the student feels the access barrier has not been resolved, they may discuss an alternate or new accommodation to mitigate the barrier.

Types of Accommodations

Below are common types of accommodations, policies and procedures, and request forms.

Alternative Tests

Alternative testing accommodations are helpful when a student’s disability affects their performance on exams when taken in a regular classroom environment. Accommodations that may be needed include, but are not limited to:

  • Extra time
  • A less distracting environment
  • Provision of a reader/scribe
  • Use of a computer, including assistive technology.

Students with cognitive disabilities that affect the learning process (e.g., dyslexia, AD/HD, etc.) and/or students with disabilities that slow their performance on exams have found alternative testing accommodations beneficial.

Any alternative testing accommodations provided must be supported by the effects of a student’s disability, either as stated in appropriate documentation and/or through approval of an SDC specialist.

Arrangements for alternative testing are negotiated between the student, instructor and SDC staff.  While instructors may implement specific accommodations, they do not alone determine what is or is not appropriate or reasonable for a student. A student must be verified through SDC before any testing accommodation is implemented if it is based on the presence of a disability and its effects on the student.

Accessible Text

Accessible Text AccommodationsAccessible text accommodations are helpful for students who are unable to read or have difficulty with, printed material. Text is converted to an accessible format, either a digital format or Braille.

Prior to receiving accessible text accommodations, the student will be referred to the Assistive Technology Resource Center for an assessment for the most effective format. Once determined, textbooks and other print materials can then be converted into this format, which includes digital-text (PDF, DOC, etc.) and Braille.

Students who have visual impairments or have specific learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia) have found accessible text accommodations useful, if not essential. For students with learning disabilities, an auditory compensation method and input can often enhance comprehension.

Digital-text is text that is converted to a format that allows a student to access the material through technology. Accessible text accommodations provided by the SDC converts required print material into digital files to be read either visually and/or with the support of speech reading adaptive computer software/hardware. If necessary, required books are unbound and then scanned for the conversion process. The book is re-bound and given back to the student once this process is finished. This same process is also used for translating print material into Braille. Books may also be obtained by the SDC directly from the publisher. Students must buy the book which will be used by SDC for conversion.

All books required in an accessible format should be requested for conversion the semester preceding the term for which they are needed. On average, a four to six weeks lead time is necessary to process these requests effectively.

Many textbooks have been converted into an audio format by Learning Ally, a non-profit service organization that provides educational and professional books. It is highly recommended that students apply to Learning Ally as a source of accessible text for student use as well as future professional needs.

Accessible Text Request Process

Students who are wanting to request their textbooks for the first time need to follow this process.

  1. Meet with an SDC accommodations specialist to get accommodation and referrals.
  2. Meet with a staff member at ATRC to determine the best format to have your textbooks converted into.
  3. Make an appointment with the SDC coordinator of alternative text accommodations to begin the conversion process. Purchase and bring your textbooks to your appointment.
  4. Books will be converted in about two to three weeks.

Please contact the SDC or ATRC with questions.

Returning Student Requests

Students who have already gone through the accessible text request process once, do not need to go through the full process again Once a student has met with ATRC to determine the best format for their books they can go directly to the SDC coordinator of alternative text accommodations to request their books.


The Student Disability Center (SDC) provides note-taking assistance accommodations as an accommodation/auxiliary aid for students with disabilities that significantly affect their ability to take notes in class. Note-taking assistance accommodations are designed to supplement a student’s learning process by having another person record on paper the essential points delivered in a class. These accommodations are not to be used as a substitute for attending class.

Eligibility and Approval

Eligibility for this accommodation is determined by an assessment of a student’s individual needs by an SDC accommodations specialist or other appropriate SDC staff. Students must have appropriate documentation of a disability in order to be eligible for note-taking accommodations. The effects or limitations, of the disability must also support the need for note-taking assistance accommodations as assessed and verified by an SDC specialist or by another appropriate SDC staff member.

Note-taking assistance accommodations may be requested by a student or be recommended by an SDC staff member as an appropriate accommodation after an assessment of needs. Prior to provision of this service, the need for this accommodation/auxiliary aid must be appropriately documented by an SDC staff member which will indicate approval for the service. Recommendation and approval is dependent upon the student’s stated need as supported by appropriate disability documentation.

All students who request note-taking assistance accommodations for the first time must meet with an SDC staff member for the accommodation to be approved. Once approved, note-taking assistance accommodations must be requested by a student each semester in order to continue this accommodation. All student requests for note-taking support services are submitted through a student request form to the SDC staff member for the continuation of the accommodation. Students need to meet with an appropriate SDC staff member for the continuation of services each semester. Continuation of services will be documented each semester.

Provisional Status Approval

An appropriate SDC staff member may also recommend and/or approve note-taking assistance accommodations under provisional status for a student who presents a strong indication they may need this accommodation/auxiliary aid but does not have supporting disability documentation. Strong indication includes but is not limited to:

  • Prior history of support services in school
  • Indication the student is in the middle of a diagnostic process
  • Other clear indicators that a student likely has a disability that would significantly affect their ability to take notes.

These indicators will be documented by an appropriate SDC staff member as part of the recommendation/approval for services. Provisional status is limited to no longer than one semester. Continuation of service is dependent upon the provision of supporting disability documentation.

Students who have a temporary disability due to injuries affecting their ability to write may also be eligible for note-taking assistance accommodations. Students who are temporarily disabled due to injuries or other acute conditions may be granted provisional status through their recovery.

Provision of Accommodations

Once note-taking accommodations have been recommended/approved, there are several options available to a student in securing a note-taker for a particular class. Note-takers generally come from a volunteer who is currently enrolled in the same class. However, when this arrangement does not meet the needs of the student, a paid note-taker may be utilized.  A paid note-taker may or may not be currently enrolled in the same class. Appropriate rationale for paid note-takers will be documented and must be approved by the SDC director prior to provision for each semester in which they will be needed.

Specific student requests for paid note-takers must be made in a timely manner to an appropriate SDC staff member so that appropriate assessments and recommendations can be made and appropriate personnel can be identified and hired. Specific requests for paid note-takers are submitted in the same manner described above for basic note-taking assistance accommodations.

All recommendations for paid note-takers must be approved by the SDC director. The recommendation for paid note-takers must be supported as appropriate to the need resulting from the significant effects of a student’s disability and/or the nature of the course and documented by an appropriate SDC staff member.

Options of Support

Assistive Technology

In some situations, assistive technology may be used as a method in supporting students with note-taking. A student may be recommended assistive technology as a possible accommodation by an accommodations specialist or another appropriate SDC staff member. If the student is interested in this recommendation they will be referred to the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) where their staff will assess the student to determine which piece(s) of technology may be most effective for their specific needs. Once determined the ATRC staff will train the student on use of the appropriate technology.

In-Class Volunteers

The most common arrangement for note-taking support is through an in-class volunteer note-taker. There are two options available for the recruitment of in-class volunteer note-takers: student initiated or SDC initiated.

Recruiting Volunteers


There are several methods that can be used by a student to find a suitable volunteer note-taker although each method may not be appropriate for every student. An SDC staff member and student should discuss each method to determine which might work most effectively depending upon a student’s circumstances.

  • A student may ask someone they know if they would be willing to share their notes on a regular basis.
  • A student will contact the instructor of the class to request their assistance in finding a note-taker. An announcement to the class is normally the first step in finding volunteers. Either the student or the instructor may make this announcement, indicating that there is a need for a person willing to serve as a note-taker.
  • Instructors may be able to identify specific students who perform more successfully than others and/or who appear to take productive notes. Students are encouraged to explore this method of recruitment to also help in identifying potential support for studying course material.

Note: Prior to instructor involvement in the process of identifying potential note-takers, a student must present the instructor a copy of a letter of accommodation verifying the need for the accommodation. This letter will be issued to the student at the time of approval for this service is given by SDC.

SDC initiated:

If self-recruiting prospective note-takers is not an effective process for a student, the SDC will assist and/or support the student in this endeavor.

  • Upon request from the student to an appropriate SDC staff member, a representative from the SDC will help to facilitate the identification of a note-taker through an announcement in class and/or through contact with the instructor.

The SDC does not guarantee a student’s anonymity in the process of providing note-taking support services. If requested, a student’s identity will be protected as much as possible from class identification. However, the SDC expects communication between the student and the volunteer note-taker as much as possible in order to facilitate the exchange and/or clarification of notes.

Paid Note-takers

Depending upon the class and/or the accommodative needs of a student, an in-class volunteer note-taker may not prove to be sufficiently effective as an accommodation/auxiliary aid. A student may request, and/or an appropriate SDC staff member may recommend, the provision of a paid note-taker. These note-takers may be other students (currently in the class or previous class members) or they may be individuals hired specifically to take notes for a particular class. These individuals may or may not be students.

There are two types of paid note-takers, note-takers and note-taker/tutors. Either may be an individual from within the class or someone hired to attend the class with the student.

  • Paid note-taker: an individual who attends each class with the student, takes extensive notes during class and explains or clarifies notes for the student when necessary.
  • Note-taker/tutor:  an individual who attends class with the student, takes extensive notes and spends additional time tutoring the student.

Recruitment and Hiring

Note-takers and note-taker/tutors are obtained through a variety of means. The student, professor and/or the SDC may be involved in the process. Although paid note-takers are not recruited through student initiative, students may be asked for suggestions of potential note-takers. Professors may also provide information concerning previous or current students in the class as potential note-takers. In addition, the SDC may recommend a person as a note-taker based upon previous contacts and/or employment with the SDC.


If a student finds that a note-taker is not attending class or for other reasons is not suitable, replacement of that note-taker should take place immediately. Students are expected to inform an appropriate SDC staff member as soon as possible so that efforts can be made for replacing missed notes and/or a note-taker.



After a volunteer note-taker is selected, they will be asked on behalf of the SDC to sign an agreement indicating their intention to take notes for a set period of time for a particular class. This agreement should be signed within two weeks after a volunteer has been identified. The agreement details the note-takers responsibilities to the student and to the SDC as a volunteer. In addition, each note-taker will be given, a copy of the “note-takers responsibilities” information sheet. The responsibilities for securing the signed agreement will be decided upon between the student and the appropriate SDC staff member.

Paid note-takers and note-taker/tutors are considered in the employees of the SDC and not the student. They are required to submit appropriate employee paperwork to the SDC prior to working any hours in order to be paid.

Time devoted to note-taking or note-taking/tutoring is to be recorded electronically through the TimeClock Plus system. Pay periods last two weeks and end on Friday of the second week. Note-takers and note-taker/tutors will be paid once their time has been processed and approved by the appropriate SDC staff member.


A note-taker and the student are expected to work out a system to exchange notes. One option may be to have notes copied on a regular basis. Another option is to have the note-taker use carbonless paper.


SDC will copy notes from note-takers free of charge provided the note-taker has signed an agreement to volunteer on behalf of or work for the SDC. Notes that need to be copied are copied in the SDC main office.

Any other arrangements for copying notes must be approved prior to initiation by an appropriate SDC staff member. Arrangements for copying in remote locations (i.e., other than at the SDC) must be recommended by an appropriate SDS staff member and approved by the SDC Director prior to initiation if reimbursement charges are involved.

Carbonless paper:

Packets of carbonless paper are usually given to either the student or the note-taker (as agreed upon by an appropriate SDC staff member). Volunteer note-takers must sign an agreement before carbonless paper is given to them directly by the SDC. Students may purchase their own carbonless paper for note-takers at their own expense if SDC is not involved in the notetaking support process.

It is recommended that notes be exchanged daily if possible and not less than once a week. The SDC may be used as a drop-off point for the exchange of notes when necessary.

Students are expected to attend each class for which a set of notes is exchanged. Note-takers are not responsible to provide copies of notes to a student if the student was not in attendance on a particular day (medical or other situations may be considered exceptions with approval from an appropriate SDC staff member).

Instructor Notification/Cooperation

If an instructor is utilized as a means of identifying a potential note-taker or is otherwise involved in the provision of note-taking support, they will be given a letter verifying the need of a note-taker for a student. This letter will be issued by an appropriate SDC staff member and presented to the instructor either by the student or by an SDC staff member.

Instructors may be asked to share copies of lecture notes and/or presentation slides. The SDC understands that there may be limits to this option of support depending upon the availability of lecture notes and/or copyright restrictions.

Instructors may also be asked to facilitate the identification of potential note-takers (either volunteer or paid) based on current or previous interaction with other students. GTAs are often a potential resource as a note-taker in courses as well as students who have already completed a particular course. Instructors may be asked to make an announcement for volunteers on behalf of the student and/or the SDC.

When transcription of lectures is used as an accommodation/auxiliary aid, an instructor may be asked to help in the recording process (e.g., wearing a microphone or operating a recorder).

Other Options of Support

Digitally recording

Digitally recording lecture may be a viable option for a student to either supplement the student’s own note-taking process to enhance the notes of a note-taker. Digital recorders may be available on loan from the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC­).


When the effects of a student’s disability severely affect access to lecture material, transcription of lectures may be recommended by an appropriate SDC staff member as an accommodation/auxiliary aid. An SDC staff member must recommend this accommodation/auxiliary aid to the SDC director for approval, documenting the need appropriately.

Specific student requests must be made in a timely manner (at least 4 weeks prior to the need) for recommendation and approval so that appropriate personnel can be recruited and hired to deliver these services and to implement other arrangements, as needed.

Course Transcribers are considered an employee of the SDC and not the student. Course Transcribers are paid on an hourly basis.

Course Transcribers work from digital recordings of lectures. Transcriptions are usually provided within 48 – 72 hours, depending upon the nature of the course. SDC provides or arranges for the necessary equipment to record lectures. A student may be required to participate in the arrangements, as needed, while in class. Transcripts are usually delivered to the student electronically via email.

For more information about course transcriptions please see our Course Transcription Policy and Procedures.


Exceptions to the above policies may be made based on individual student need and circumstances only through the approval of the SDC director. Exceptions may be requested from the SDC director by the student, an SDC specialist, and/or other appropriate SDC staff.

Interpreting, Transcribing, and Captioning

Accommodations for students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing include American Sign Language interpreters, oral interpreters, and class transcribers as well as the provision of FM systems.


  • The SDC employs sign language interpreters who are qualified to interpret college-level courses. The SDC coordinator of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing accommodations is one of these interpreters.
  • All SDC interpreters are graduates of a recognized interpreter preparation program and/or otherwise, have the skills necessary to interpret a college-level curriculum.  All interpreters are expected to abide by the Interpreters Code of Conduct while employed with the university.
  • Oral or sign language interpreting services are provided, at no charge, to qualified Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing students for classes and other academic meetings or university sponsored programs.

Requests for any of the interpreting services for classes and/or academic meetings need to be made through the SDC coordinator of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing accommodations in a timely manner in order to ensure the accommodation will be available.

University-sponsored programs that are open to the general public are often interpreted in sign language. If not publicized as interpreted, a student may need to contact the sponsoring unit or contact the SDC to request an interpreter be present. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring university unit to arrange and pay for this service although the SDC interpreters are often used for such purposes.

For non-university meetings or programs, a student may request an interpreter from Connections for Independent Living, 970-352-8682.  The student may be responsible for making arrangements, as well as for the cost, depending upon the purpose of the meeting (e.g., personal).

Other services

For students who do not know sign language or cannot benefit from oral interpreting, class transcribers (CTs) may be an option. However, this accommodation is limited due to specific university and community resources and cannot be guaranteed.

  • FM systems are helpful for students with less severe hearing loss or who have central auditory processing limitations that make it difficult to block extraneous noises.
  • Closed captioning services are provided through The Institute for Learning & Teaching (TILT). If you recognize a video on a CSU website is not captioned, you may report it through the ATRC Report an Electronic Access Issue Form.

Housing Accommodations

Housing & Dining Accommodations

Due to the effects of a disability, some students may require some type of housing accommodations. Our office works in conjunction with Housing and Dining Services to provide students with housing accommodations that best meet their needs.

Students who are seeking a housing accommodation need to meet with an accommodations specialists to discuss possible accommodations. The specialist will discuss the possible options with the student, and when an accommodation is decided upon the specialist will work with HDS to get the accommodation to be put into place.

We require documentation verifying the disability and supporting the need for a specific accommodation before a request can be made to HDS to provide accommodations.

Common types of housing accommodations can include:

  • Single room
  • Suite-style bathroom
  • Wheelchair accessible rooms
  • Room located on the first floor
  • Strobe light fire alarms
  • Building access for care attendants
  • Air conditioning
  • Emotional support animal

Housing accommodation requests need to be made in a timely manner. It is recommended that students make requests for housing accommodations as soon as they know they are needed. Due to the high volume of students living on campus accommodation requests made closer to the start of the semester or may be harder to fulfill. HDS and our office will work as hard as we can to fufill all requests.

To learn more about housing accommodations, or to schedule an appointment with an accommodations specialist please contact our office at 970-491-6385.

Support Animals

For information about Support Animals, such as Service dogs or Emotional Support Animals, visit our website https://disabilitycenter.colostate.edu/supportanimals/. Also see the CSU Policy on Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals.

Grievance Policy

Students are encouraged to file a complaint/grievance if they feel they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly. The below information outlines the different processes students can follow to file a complaint/grievance.

Resolving issues within the Student Disability Center

The staff of the SDC are committed to working with and for each student who comes into the office. However, it is also recognized that not all students will be satisfied with their interaction with the staff of SDC.

If a student has a complaint about any of the staff in the SDC, the student is encouraged to contact the SDC director to help resolve the issue. If the student has a complaint about the SDC director, the student is free to contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs to help resolve the issue.

When a student requests specific accommodations, an SDC specialist will consider all relevant information provided by the student to determine whether or not the request is reasonable as an accommodation. If a student feels the decision made is not appropriate for their needs, the student can meet with the SDC director to further discuss the student’s situation and to see if any changes can or should be made.

If the student is still dissatisfied with the outcome of their request for an accommodation, the student can avail themselves of other resources to help resolve the issue including meeting with the Student Resolution Center or by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

If the student feels the SDC decision is discriminatory, the student is free to file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity as described below.

Resolving Issues with Other Entities on Campus

If a student encounters an issue with an instructor or staff member where they feel they are being denied equal access or discriminated against they are first encouraged to contact the SDC to see if staff can resolve the issue. The accommodations specialists and the director will work to resolve the issue without escalating the situation. However, if the issue is not able to be resolved the student may need to file a formal complaint.

Students wishing to file a formal complaint of discrimination need to contact the Office of Equal Opportunity. Once the complaint is filed OEO will conduct a thorough investigation and work to resolve the situation.

Students who file complaints are protected from any retaliation.

If a complaint involves being denied a certain accommodation, the student will be granted the accommodation until the issue is resolved.

OEO Grievance Resources

Office of Civil Rights

Students who feel they have been discriminated again are also free to file a complaint with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights.

OCR Contact Information

Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Washington, D.C., 20202-1100
Phone: 1-800-421-3481, TDD: 1-877-521-2172
Email: ocr@ed.gov
Website:  www.ed.gov/ocr.

Tips & Tricks

This section provides tips and tricks related to specific accommodations and access barriers Rams have experienced particular challenges with recently.

Attendance Flex & Assignment Deadline Extensions

General Info:

  • Attendance and assignment deadline flexibility accommodations are intended for use when access barriers related to your disability arises. They generally do not apply to non-disability related events, such as child care needs, work, or weddings/funerals


  • Connect with your professor in each class as soon as possible in the beginning of each semester by email, phone, video call, or in person to establish a communication plan (see a sample below).
  • Employ self-care strategies to manage stress, which may impact sleep, eating habits, memory, focus, concentration, and overall learning and class attendance. For assistance with this,


  • Create a template email addressed to each professor and save it in your draft folder. You can use the template email below as a starting point. When you are unable to make it to class due to your disability, all you have to do send the template email instead of creating a brand new one when you feel unwell or are incapacitated.

Sample Communication Plan:

Hello Professor [Name],

I saw that you received my accommodation letter on [date] and I would like to set up a plan for communication with you this semester. It is helpful if we can start with the following information:

  • What is your preferred communication method for when I need to notify you when I need to use my accommodation? (e.g. email, phone, text, MS teams chat)
  • Due to the nature of my disability, I may not be able to give you advance notice when I miss class/assignment deadline. However, it is still important that we are on the same page. What is your expectation of timeliness in communicating my need for attendance flexibility related to my disability? (e.g. within 24-48 hours of class, within the week, within the semester)?
  • Sometimes I may unpredictably miss a class during which an exam, quiz, presentation or other graded activity may occur. How should we plan for this if this occurs? (e.g. make up the activity within 24-48 hours?)

I look forward to working with you and learning in your course. Thank you.

[Student Name
Course & Section Number]

Sample Email to Professors:

Hi Professor [Name],

I will miss/have missed today’s lecture/assignment deadline due to my disability and will utilize my attendance flexibility accommodation. Since I missed class, I also missed [quiz/exam/participation/etc.] and will make this up within the timeframe we established.

Thank you,

[Student Name
Course Name & Section]

Disability in the Workplace