May 24, 2019

New Student Information

Welcome to the SDC Ramily!

A sign on a desk that reads "Tours start here".

Welcome new students, parents and families! We are excited to welcome you to the SDC family. This is your introduction to the Student Disability Center, what we do, offer, and how to get involved. We look forward to meeting you and finding out how we can support your educational access and success here at Colorado State University.

What We Do

Who We Are

History of the SDC

Follow the tabs on the left to move through this resource to gain info about beginning as an SDC Ram with disabilities, mental/physical health conditions, learning challenges, neurodiverse learning, and more.

Prospective Students

Congratulations as you embark on this wonderful and challenging endeavor as a college/university student. You will find this new world to be both gratifying as well as frustrating, fearful as well as exciting, challenging as well as easy to master. You may come to this experience as you would an adventure in which you must conquer the elements. Or you may wish to see it as a new job, requiring you to learn new skills and methods. Any way you decide to approach this new endeavor, you can be certain it will change you from what you are today.

As you proceed through your college career, you will not only learn about the world from different viewpoints but you will have a deeper understanding of it. You will not only learn about others who are different from yourself but you will also learn a great deal about yourself and your connection to others. Consider this your opportunity to join the elite of society as many people in the world do not have this same opportunity and privilege. Do well by it and it will do well by you.

What You Can Expect

It is important to realize that being a student in college is different than being a student in high school. The pace is different and the expectations are different. Even the laws under which you are protected as a student with a disability are different.

If you have been a student receiving support from special education services, one of the first differences you should be aware of is that YOU are directly responsible for initiating the support you need and not the University. The input and influence of your parents is not as important at the college level as it was in your elementary or secondary schools. You actually control your own destiny. Your success or failure depends on what you do and on what you may choose not to do. You will need to be a self-advocate regarding your education as well as the support you may need to accomplish your academic goals.

The average college or university environment is based on a traditional method of teaching and learning. As part of their teaching responsibilities, in a typical class, the instructor lecture, create assignments, prepare exams to measure how much students have learned, and facilitate the learning process to the best of their abilities. Students, on the other hand, are ultimately responsible for any learning that may take place.

A typical college student is responsible for attending class, taking notes, reading the books, doing the research, writing the papers, completing assignments, and taking exams; hoping that they have learned enough to pass. While instructors are responsible for facilitating and evaluating the learning process, students are held responsible for their own learning. Whether or not an instructor is able to teach effectively for every student is not as critical as whether or not a student is able to learn under different circumstances, with different instructors, and on a more theoretical level. In other words, how successful a student is at college is dependent on how effective a student is at being a student.

As a student with a disability, there is a general expectation that you are able to manage the effects of your disability in order to meet the requirements of being a college student. For example, if your disability causes you to be disorganized, you will be expected to learn new strategies that help you become more organized. If you have difficulty showing up for class, it is expected that you will discover ways that compensate for this trait so that you show up on time and at the right place. While you may have had assistance in the past from your parents, when you come to college, you will be held responsible for the behavior that will lead to your success.

What You Will Need

“No one would be expected to be able to succeed as a neurosurgeon or a pro football quarterback without training, but countless thousands of students assume they can succeed in college even if they are not skilled in reading, writing, listening, and other basic study activities.” (Carmen, Adams, Study Skills: A Student Guide for Survival, 1984)

Success does not come without effort nor without skills. Being interested in college and motivated to learn is not enough. Your instructors will take for granted that you are able to read, write, listen, take notes and do exams and assignments effectively as well as showing up for class. They also expect you to be able to comprehend complex theories, synthesize ideas, and demonstrate how to apply theories and ideas to real-life situations.

Students who experience problems with these tasks may be faced with more difficulties than the average student and may need to develop specific strategies to overcome these obstacles. To be a successful student, then, you will need to have a plan as well as basic survival skills.

Knowing how to study is merely the beginning. Time management, how to use the library, and understanding what is and is not important for an exam are only a few of the details you will need to master if you expect to be successful as a college student.

What You Will Get

The learning process does not take place only in the classroom environment. In addition to the demands of mastering academic knowledge, you also have the opportunity to learn and develop a great deal more about yourself. Your growth as a college student is not only in the process of learning but in building your character. Balancing the demands of both your academic responsibilities and your personal obligations and needs is not an easy job. It, too, takes some planning and some trial and error before most students find the right combination of school work (thinking) and personal development (doing). But once you find that balance, the rewards are many.

While in college you have the opportunity to learn how to be a leader, how to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and how to look at the world from different perspectives. You have the opportunity to redefine what you value in life at the same time you discover what you want to do for the rest of your life. Taking advantage of some of the options available to you for participating in the greater community of the campus is only one of the many benefits you have as a college student. Learning about yourself as a complex and unique individual comes along with the experience, too.

CSU Admissions Requirements

Students with disabilities must meet the criteria established for admission to any institution of higher education in order to be considered “otherwise qualified” under current federal statutes. In general, four-year colleges and universities have admission criteria that are more stringent than community or junior colleges. For students who do not meet criteria for a four-year college or university, a two-year community or junior college may be a more appropriate option to begin the pursuit of a college education. Many classes at two-year institutions are transferable to four-year institutions.

With guidance from the state, Colorado State University has established specific admission criteria for entrance into the university’s programs. Many factors are considered and each applicant is evaluated in a holistic process. For freshmen that include such credentials as completion of required high school coursework, SAT or ACT scores, high school grade point average, and class rank (if applicable).  Priority consideration is given to applicants who have earned a minimum 3.25 GPA and have successfully completed 18 recommended high school units.  Applicants who don’t quite meet the criteria for priority are still strongly encouraged to apply since other factors are recognized in the review process.

Primary factors considered in the admission decision for transfer applicants include overall high school graduation (or equivalent), cumulative GPA earned in all college settings, and completion of required college-level coursework.  Transfer students must meet the admission requirement in mathematics. For all applicants, the admission decision includes a review of academic rigor, trends in grades, and additional personal qualities that demonstrate the potential for academic success.  Strong candidates for admission have earned at least a 2.5 GPA; all applicants must have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA in order to be considered.

Specific types of disabilities may have had an adverse effect on students’ prior school performance. Disclosure of the presence of a disability is voluntary.  While each institution may have different procedures, students are encouraged to submit with their application to CSU an explanation of the possible effects the disability has had on their academic record (e.g., test scores, grade point average, etc.). This identification can be included in the personal essay or through letters of recommendation.  Disability not the sole basis of an admission decision and an applicant may be admissible if there is sufficient indication of strong potential not reflected in the current achievement record.

For more details about the application process for CSU contact the Office ofAdmissions, 970-491-6909.

Just Accepted, Now What?

Congratulations on accepting admission to Colorado State University and welcome to the Ramily! As you begin the pre-orientation and orientation process, here are some accommodations you can request even before you enroll in classes and start on day one of the semester:

Housing & Dining Accommodations

Are you in need of housing or dining accommodations to make your campus life the most comfortable and accessible before you move in? You can fill out the Housing & Dining Request for Accommodation Form or contact us by phone (970-491-6385) or email ( to set up an appointment to start the housing accommodation process.

Math & English Placement Test Accommodations

Want your scores to reflect your best self? Ask for testing accommodations for your placement tests prior to taking your exams. Already took the placement tests without accommodation but still feel like you need accommodations? Connect with us at 970-491-6385 or to get accommodations for your placement test and you can take it again with accommodations.

Interpreting Support

Do you communicate through ASL or oral interpreting? Let us provide you with interpreting for your pre-orientation and orientation meetings, advising sessions, group sessions, and events. Contact prior to your pre-orientation or orientation date to arrange an interpreter.

Alternate Text Documents

Do you need an alternate format of pre-orientation or orientation documents, such as checklists, handouts, or PowerPoints? We are happy to provide you with large format, Braille, accessible electronic text, audio, or any other format you need. Please contact with these requests.


If you have any other access needs during pre-orientation, orientation or prior to enrolling in classes at CSU, please contact the SDC at 970-491-6385 or and we are happy to assist you.

A large group of students in matching shirts gather around a sign that says "40th anniversary of the Student Disability Center, Welcome"Steps to Connect:

Once you have accepted your journey as a Ram and have completed Ram Orientation, please follow these steps to connect with our office.

Step One:

Call (970-491-6385) or email ( us to set up an appointment so we can get to know you! It’s always best to be able to put a face to a name and give students a warm welcome.

Step Two:

You will meet your Accommodation Specialist who will become one of your many resources throughout your journey at CSU. Your Specialist will discuss your strengths, interests, and goals and how CSU can best provide access to all aspects of your college life at CSU. This is where you identify accommodations (academic adjustments) to the college environment that best suite your individual needs. Add them to your email and phone contacts so you can reach out whenever you need some additional support.

Step Three:

If you haven’t already, you can submit documentation (or verification) of your disability to your Accommodation Specialist (if applicable). Your Accommodation Specialist will discuss the documentation needed and advise you on where to find this documentation if you don’t have any. Don’t have any documentation? That’s ok! We will still meet with you and provide accommodations while we identify the best ways to move forward.

Step Four:

Classes are about to start, Fall 2020 semester is officially just around the corner! Don’t forget to complete your Accommodation Letter Request Form prior to the first day of classes (or anytime thereafter) so that the Student Disability Center can send your letters to your professors and copy you. This informs them about the accommodations you need to access your classes.

Step Five:

You’ve done it! You are officially a CSU student and you are now in your first day of class. How does it feel?

Now that your professors have your accommodation letter and you now have access to the syllabus, you can review the course outline, content, and requirements. Find a time to intentionally connect with your professor through email, phone, office hours, or via appointment to check in with them about any questions, concerns, or logistics that need to be sorted for the accommodations to run smoothly. If you run into any challenges working it out with your professor, your Accommodation Specialist is always there to assist with finding creative solutions.



Accommodations/Auxiliary Aids

The university is required to provide reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids for students with disabilities once the need for such accommodations is made known by the student to appropriate personnel.  Whether a request for an accommodation is reasonable is a decision that takes into account the individual need of a student, the resources available to the university, and whether the accommodation affects the essential elements of a course or major.  The following services provided by SDC are commonly utilized by students and are considered auxiliary aids and reasonable accommodations by the university:

Alternative Testing

Alternative Testing arrangements are made when a student’s disability affects his/her performance on exams when taken in a regular classroom environment.  Accommodations that may be needed include, but are not limited to, extra time; less distracting environment; provision of a reader/scribe; and use of a computer and/or assistive technology.

All accommodations provided for testing-taking activities must be supported by the effects of a student’s disability as stated in appropriate documentation and through approval of the SDC Accommodations/Advocacy Specialist.   Arrangements for Alternative Testing require shared responsibilities through a collaborative process involving the student, instructor and the SDC Coordinator of Alternative Testing. 

Alternative Text

SDC is able to convert textbooks into an electronic format that can be ‘read’ through computer software that provides auditory output.  Braille is also available as an alternative format. Students must request a conversion and will need to provide a copy of the text (e.g., book).  If the text is in book format, SDC will have the book unbound, scanned and converted in as timely manner as possible and will provide a copy (publisher copy or copy from bookstore) of the book to the student until the converted text is complete.  This conversion process takes time and the student is encouraged to submit a request as early as possible.  A lead time of two weeks is needed, depending upon when a book is requested.  Some text may take longer.

Many textbooks have been converted to an electronic or auditory format by Learning Ally, a non-profit service organization that provides educational and professional books.  Students may wish to apply to Learning Ally as an alternative source for textbooks for student as well as future professional needs.  Applications can be obtained directly from Learning Ally, 10 Roszel Road, Princeton, NJ, 08540, (800) 221-4792, or at their website:  Specific equipment may be necessary to access material from Learning Ally.  Contact the SDC Coordinator of Alternative Text Services for more information.

Assistive Technology

Students have the opportunity to work with the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC), an office

Note-taking Support

Students who are unable to take notes in a class due to their disabilities are eligible for note-taking support.   Digital recorders are permitted in classes when used as an accommodation.  Another method of support is to use volunteer peer note takers, usually recruited from within each class as needed.  Students are encouraged to select a note taker that best supplements their own note-taking style.  Carbonless paper (NCR paper) will be provided or copies of notes will be made by SDC if a volunteer note-taker agrees to the duties of a note-taker according to SDC criteria.

There are several ways in which note takers can be solicited.  A student may ask permission from an instructor to make an announcement in class for a volunteer or the student may have the instructor make the announcement.  A student may also more discretely request help from students sitting near them in class.  If a student experiences difficulty in acquiring a note taker, SDC staff will assist in the process.  A student’s desire for anonymity within a class will be respected but is not guaranteed if essential to the process of obtaining notes.  A note taker does not substitute for a student’s responsibility to attend class.

If a student needs more support in note-taking than can be provided by a peer volunteer, other alternatives may include a paid student or non-student note taker.  These alternative note-taking support arrangements are made only through the recommendation of the SDC specialists or other appropriate SDC staff.

Priority Registration

The process of registering for classes begins the semester prior to the semester for which classes are selected (October for spring semester, April for fall semester).   Access to the computer system is assigned according to class rank (graduate students first, freshman last).  Priority Registration allows students to access the system EARLIER than the time they would normally be assigned.  It does not provide priority access to any class; it only allows a student to better arrange a schedule suited to his/her need.  A student must be in the current university computer system (have a valid eID) in order to receive Priority Registration privileges.  Therefore, this service is not available unless a student has been enrolled for the prior consecutive semester.

Students who use interpreting services, require alternative texts, or have significant mobility limitations will automatically be placed on Priority Registration status.  Students with some chronic physical or mental health conditions may also be given priority automatically if the condition has been verified and is of the type that may indicate a need for early registration access.  Other students must request the service through one of the SDC specialists or Director who will determine whether this accommodation is appropriate.

Once given Priority Registration, students will receive the service until they graduate as long as they are continuously enrolled.  Priority registration only applies to undergraduates who are regularly admitted.

Sign Language Interpreting & Transcribing

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.  In-class computer note taking services may also be provided depending upon available resources and the specific needs of a student.

Requests for interpreters or other communicative assistance for classes and academic meetings need to be made in a timely manner in order to ensure assignments of interpreters or note takers can be made appropriately.

University sponsored programs that are open to the general public may or may not be interpreted; a student may need to inquire before attending and ask for the service if the program has not planned for an interpreter.  It is the responsibility of the sponsoring university unit to arrange and pay for this service if it is requested.

For non-university meetings or programs, a student may need to request an interpreter from a community resource.  The student would be responsible for making arrangements and for paying the costs in most situations.  All requests for interpreters or other communicative assistance, including referral to other sources, are made through the SDC Coordinator of Interpreting Services.

Other services & accommodations

For other accommodations and services, you can visit our website with additional services and also make an appointment to discuss your individual accommodation needs with an Accommodation Specialist.

Requesting Housing Accommodations

SDC enjoys a wonderful partnership with University Housing and Dining Services and collectively work together to meet students’ housing and dining accommodation needs. If you require housing accommodations prior to or during fall 2020 semester, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office or fill out a Housing & Dining Request for Accommodation Form to get the process started. These requests typically do require documentation of the medical/disability condition at some point in the process, but if you currently do not have access to documentation at this time, the SDC will work with you to find ways to achieve this in a manner that works with your needs and situation.

Housing Expectations

All first year (freshmen) students are required to live on campus.  There is strong evidence that living on campus results in higher academic performance (i.e., GPAs).  CSU requires that all newly admitted first-year students without previous college experience, who are single, under 21 years of age, and not living with their parents in the Fort Collins area, live in the University residence halls for the first two consecutive terms of their attendance.  Credits taken concurrent with high school and/or credits attained through Advanced Placement (AP) do not apply towaSDC living experience.

Requests for an exemption to live on campus as an accommodation due to a disability must first be assessed and verified by the SDC director and must be supported by appropriate documentation that links the need for the accommodation with the effects of the disability. SDC provides an assessment of the need to the Director of Residence Life regarding the request for an exemption based on the disability. The decision regarding the housing exemption is made by the Director of Residence Life.

Students with disabilities may apply to live in any of the residence halls although not all are accessible for students who use wheelchairs and not all rooms are air conditioned.  All rooms are designed for two to four students to a room with either a shared bath between two rooms (suite style) or a common bath for a given floor.  Common eating facilities are available and a resident from any hall has the option to eat at any of them.  Most adaptations for specific dietary conditions are possible.  Students are encouraged to meet with the dietician within Dining Services to explore the options available.  Please contact Dining Services Dietician at (970) 491-4714 for more information.

Specific accommodations may be requested, including “single occupancy”, modified meal plans or having a service dog or emotional support animal (ESA).  Documentation for accommodations in university housing must be provided and verified by SDC before the accommodation is provided.

Requests for an emotional support animal (ESA) must supported by appropriate documentation that indicates the need of the ESA for the student’s ability to benefit from the residence hall experience.  ESA are only permitted in a student’s living environment; they are not permitted anywhere else on campus.

Single occupancy requests due to a disability must be made early as space may not be available.  For more information on any accommodation within university housing, contact: Housing and Dining at (970) 491-6511.

As transfer students, you have some of the best skills already in your tool belt to help you succeed here at CSU. To make the transition to a new campus and network easier, we have identified some ways in which we may provide accommodations a little differently than some other colleges you may be transferring from so you can know before you go. If you don’t see the college or information listed that you’re looking for, we are so excited to meet with you and learn about your transfer experience.

Do you have a Testing Center?

Yes, the Student Disability Center has an Alternative Testing Center within our department. Some colleges have testing centers within their disability support department, and some do not. Here at CSU, students schedule their exams with accommodations in advance with our Alternative Testing Center and their faculty member using an online reservation form through our Clockwork database system for any in-person proctored exams. This ensures that the student, professor, and proctor all have the information, exam, and instructions at the exact time it’s needed. For online exams, the professor implements accommodations with the assistance of the Alternative Testing Coordinator.

Who is responsible for giving accommodation letters to the professors?

Great question! At some colleges, the student provides a paper/electronic copy of the letter to their professors, and in other colleges the disability center provides this. At CSU, it is a collaborative approach because we believe in “Nothing About Us Without Us”. Each semester, you will submit your Accommodation Letter Request Form to inform us that you want accommodation letters for one or more classes of your choice. Then, we email your professors your letters and copy you so everyone is on the same page. If any questions come up, we can all copy each other and stay in the loop.

Do you have an Assistive Technology lab?

Yes, and more! We have an wonderful office on campus through the Occupational Therapy department called the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC). Through a referral from our office, students can receive a comprehensive occupational assessment from one of their qualified OTs, try out various assistive technology resources and receive free licenses, and take advantage of the various AT labs in the ATRC and across campus.

Must students provide extensive documentation in order to be eligible for accommodations?

No. We accept everyone and believe first and foremost that a person who identifies as having a disability is a person with a disability. We may request documentation to verify functional limitations or to get more useful information about how a condition is impacting a student based on the accommodation requests we receive. However, we use documentation as the last means of collecting information, not the first. Your experience as a disabled student and how you access college and the barriers you experience are the most important pieces of information for us to know.

Career Exploration, Development and Planning

The Center for Academic Student Achievement (CASA) provides assistance to students who are undeclared in their majors, who may still be unclear as to their career goals, who may be on academic probation or who have been admitted conditionally.  Information on, and assistance with, career exploration strategies are available to help students clarify their direction.  In addition, some academic majors are restricted and students may need to meet certain requirements before they are accepted in those areas of study.  CASA also provides guidance and information on how to qualify for these restricted majors.  The Center for Academic Student Achievement (CASA) is located on the 1st floor in the TILT Building on the oval, (970) 491-7095

The Career Center provides a range of services for students who are also exploring options or who may already know the direction of their career and are looking for information about career placement strategies.  Students are encouraged to explore their career options as soon as possible to make the most of their academic choices.  Students who desire internships should contact the Career Center by the end of their first year.  The Career Center is located in the lower level of the Lory Student Center, , (970) 491-5701.

Medical & Counseling Support

Undergraduate and graduate students are required to have health insurance and are eligible for enroll in the CSU Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) or provide proof of other health insurance.

The CSU Health Network is an integrative and innovative approach to providing seamless and comprehensive quality mental health and medical services.

Counseling Services, which is part of the CSU Health Network, provides a wide range of services to meet the needs of fee-paying students on the Fort Collins campus. Students can discuss these services with a counselor by calling 970-491-6053. For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, please begin by calling 711 and Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) can help you communicate with our on-call counselors.

*Multicultural Counseling Drop-in Hours Call 970-491-6053 or email

*For urgent mental health concerns, please call (970) 491-7111 to speak with a counselor now (available 24/7).”

Enrollment in the CSU Health Insurance Plan is not required to access care at the CSU Health Network.  For more information, contact the CSU Health Network:  Medical Services – (970) 491-7121, Counseling Services – (970) 491-6053.


Because tutoring is considered a personal need, what is available to all students is also available to students with disabilities.

Although tutoring is not considered an accommodationSDC may also have available information and resources for more specific needs related to tutoring.  If a student’s specific needs cannot be met through the above mentioned support, he/she should see one of the SDC specialists.

Academic Advancement Center

Peer tutoring is available from the Academic Advancement Center (AAC) for those students who meet the criteria for this federally funded program.  In addition to tutoring, AAC provides other academic services in support of student academic success. The service is free to eligible students with disabilities who are working on their first bachelor’s degree but the program is limited as to the number of students it can serve and requires a commit from the student to the entire program of support.  Verification of disability documentation on file with SDC is required as part of this program’s application process to determine eligibility for this service.  The Academic Advancement Center is located in 177 LL Gibbons, (970) 491-6129.

Eagle Feather Tutoring

The Native American Cultural Center (NACC) provides tutoring for students as part of their Eagle Feather Tutoring Program.

TILT Tutoring & Study Groups

The Institute of Learning and Teaching (TILT) offers open tutorial sessions for a variety of math, science and liberal arts courses with peer tutors.  The TILT Building is located on the oval.

Writing Center

The Writing Center helps students who have difficulties with the writing process, including helping to start, draft, revise, research, and proofread on your own.  Assistance is provided through the computer or in person.  For more information, contact the Writing Center, Room 23, Eddy Hall, 491-0222.

Financial Aid

Students with disabilities are eligible to apply for any financial aid available through the university.  Disability is considered a “diverse” characteristic on campus and may help qualify for awaSDC that are designed to promote diversity on campus.  Contact Student Financial Services, 103 Centennial Hall, (970) 491-6321 for more information.  Most financial aid requires full-time status (12 credits or more per semester) and satisfactory progress (passing grades).

Another alternative for potential financial support is the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, located at 2850 S. McClelland, Suite 2000, Fort Collins, (970) 223-9823.

Guests stand talking to each other.

Finding community that reflects and shapes your experience at CSU is one of the most important supports. Some of you will be a bit far from your friends and family, and others may look forward to making new friends and finding people with similar interests and passions. You can make a home for yourself here at Colorado State, as there are many active Rams with disabilities and opportunities to get involved. Check out these awesome opportunities!

Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society

Delta Alpha Pi is an honor society founded to recognize high-achieving students with disabilities who are attending colleges and universities. Delta Alpha Pi celebrates and supports academic achievement, leadership, and advocacy for students with disabilities in postseconedary education.

The three Greek letters have a specific meaning.

Delta – D for Disability, but also the triangle, symbol of strength. Members of Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society demonstrate strength as leaders on campus to help break down the barriers of negativism. Also, they serve as mentors and role models for other students with disabilities.

Alpha – A stands for Achievement. Alpha is the beginning, and academic achievement must come first. But A also stands for advocacy because students must advocate for themselves before they can advocate for others. Members of Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society enhance advocacy skills for themselves and for the rights of all individuals with disabilities to be included fully in society.

Pi – P represents Pride, pride in academic achievement and in other accomplishments, not just as students with disabilities, but as members of the university community. Pi is a mathematical symbol that we learned to use in elementary arithmetic classes. So Pi is an appropriate symbol for education. Members of Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society participate in activities designed to educate the community and society regarding disability issues and the need to apply the principles of universal design in learning.

Membership Requirements

Undergraduate Student

  • Self-identify as having a disability and be registered with the SDC
  • Have completed 24 credit hours
  • Have and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.1 or higher

Graduate Students

  • Self-identify as having a disability and be registered with the SDC
  • Have completed 18 credit hours
  • Have and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher

Commission for Disabled Student Accessibility

Colorado State is committed to physical and digital accessibility, and to live up to this commitment, has instated a student fee to ensure all accessibility projects are adequately funded. The Committee for Disabled Student Accessibility (CDSA) offers the opportunity for students to make a change on campus by determining how these student fees will be used to enhance the accessibility of campus.  For more information, or to get involved, contact the SDC Director.

Associated Students Senators

CSU is committed to providing opportunities for students from marginalized groups to represented in various areas on campus to bring voice to issues and impact of policies, procedures, practices, or current events that effect our student population. The Student Disability Center, along with the rest of the Student Diversity Programs & Services (SDPS) offices, appoints student ASCSU Senators to represent student voices and needs on campus. For more information or interest in serving, contact the SDC Director.

President's Multicultural Student Advisory Committee (PMSAC)

In an effort to keep student voices and needs in the minds of leadership, the President’s Multicultural Student Advisory Committee (PMSAC) convenes with representatives from all Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS) offices and various areas on campus. The Student Disability Center also provides 1-2 representatives on this committee to represent the needs and voices of disabled students at CSU. For more information or involvement, contact the SDC Director.

Opportunities for Postsecondary Success

The Opportunities for Postsecondary Success (OPS) is a program offered by the Center for Community Partnerships within the Occupational Therapy Department.  It is designed for students who may need more focused or individualized support.  Students who have head injuries, neurodevelopmental conditions (autism spectrum), or other disabilities that impact their ability to transition into college life can receive one-on-one support from a trained Peer Mentor as well as other services.  For more information, contact the OPS program at (970) 491-5940 or one of the SDC specialists. 

Differences between High School and College

Printable PDF Version

Adapted from Promoting Postsecondary Education for Students with Learning Disabilities, by L. Brinckerhoff, S. F. Shaw and J. M. McGuire; p. 6, 1993, PRO-ED, Texas, USA.

University Information and Expectations


Students with disabilities must meet the same qualifications for admission as any other student for all academic programs offered at CSU to be considered “otherwise qualified” under federal mandates.  Admissions counselors use specific criteria when evaluating applicants for admission to Colorado State University, as mandated by the state.  All applicants are evaluated through a holistic assessment.  A typical entering freshman profile includes:  3.2 to 3.8 GPA, ACT composite – 22 – 26 or SAT combined – 1010 – 1210.

Specific disabilities may have had an adverse affect on a student’s prior school performance.  Students are encouraged to submit, with their application, an explanation of the possible effects their limitations have had on their academic record (i.e. test scores, grade point average, etc.) and any pertinent evidence that explains the effect of the disability on academic performance.  This disclosure may be done through the personal essay and/or through letters of recommendation.  Although this information will be considered by Admissions counselors, it will not be the sole basis for an admission decision.   For more details contact: Admissions, Ammons Hall, (970) 491-6909.

Academic Requirements and Graduation

Students with disabilities are expected to complete all academic requirements necessary for graduation at Colorado State.  In addition to courses required for a major, all students must meet specific requirements under the university’s Core Curriculum which include composition, mathematics and possibly a foreign language for some majors.  Both composition and mathematics requirements must be completed prior to accumulating 60 credit hours (junior year).  In addition, students are expected to attain depth of knowledge in their major and demonstrate they are able to integrate experience and knowledge in their field.

Students with disabilities may have problems with particular subjects or courses due to their limitations.  Options available may be: taking the courses elsewhere for transfer credit; substituting one course for another; or using tutoring and/or other support to help in completing a course.  Waivers are not approved for core curriculum or major course requirements.

Completing Academic Requirements

Courses from other institutions must meet the university’s requirements for transfer as evaluated by the university Registrar.  To receive credit for a course taken elsewhere, the course must be evaluated as comparable to a CSU course and the grade received cannot be lower than a “C.”  Only the credit is transferrable; the grade will not be factored into a student’s CSU grade point average.

Individual substitutions for courses are initiated through the department of a student’s particular major field of study.  Substitutions are generally not allowed for courses considered essential to a particular major.  Any alteration to a student’s course of study for disability reasons (as an accommodation) must be supported by appropriate documentation and negotiated through SDC and the student’s major department.  Approval must also be granted by the department’s college.   Final approval for graduation purposes for any substitution or alteration is required by the university’s Registrar via the Provost.

Alterations for completion of any Core Curriculum requirement (as an accommodation) must be negotiated with SDC and each student’s major department and approved by the university’s Registrar through Provost.  Documentation of a student’s disability that reflects an inability to complete the requirement is required.  For more information, please contact one of the SDC Accommodations/ Advocacy Specialists.

Tutoring and other support often help a student complete difficult requirements, especially if there are no alternatives available to complete essential courses of a major or for Core Curriculum requirements.  Contact one of the SDC specialists for more information.

Interaction with Instructors

The provision of some accommodations or auxiliary aids often requires the student to have specific contact with individual instructors.  Each student is expected to provide a memo of verification of accommodation eligibility to each instructor when an accommodation is needed that affects the classroom environment.  This memo is provided by SDC to the student for each instructor for each semester.  If any accommodations are to be made for a particular course, it is expected that students will engage in a conversation with their instructor to discuss their needs within the first two weeks of classes, if possible.  Note:  The earlier a student notifies SDC and/or an instructor, the better chance the accommodation will be provided. There is no guarantee a last minute request will be honored.

If an instructor seems unfamiliar with the accommodations needed or hesitant to work with a student, the SDC staff will help facilitate or negotiate a request for specific accommodations.  Instructors are encouraged to consult with SDC concerning accommodations so it is suggested a student contact SDC early to discuss what might be needed.  Instructors are not required to accommodate a student who has not worked through SDC.