January 30, 2018

Policies and Procedures

University Commitment

Colorado State University is committed to the non-discrimination and equal access mandates set forth by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended. Unlike the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) that governs elementary and secondary education, Section 504 and the ADA do not guarantee a student will graduate. Instead, as civil rights legislation, these two mandates prohibit discrimination based on disability or handicap. Accommodations and modifications are made so that otherwise qualified students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from the programs and activities provided and sponsored by Colorado State University. For more information on the university’s commitment to non-discrimination requirements in educational programs, contact the Equal Opportunity Office, 101 Student Services, (970) 491-5836.

Colorado State University Policies

Colorado State University has adopted several policies regarding disability, inclusion, diversity, and equal access on the CSU campus. The following links provide detailed information about the policies most closely related to our office.

Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities

Service Animal and Emotional Support Animal Policy

Accessibility of Electronic Information and Technology Policy

Inclusive Physical and Virtual Campus Policy

More information on these and other university policies can be found on the University Policy Library website.

University Expectations


Students with disabilities must meet the criteria established for admission to Colorado State University 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 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. Students with disabilities must meet the same qualifications as any other student for all academic programs offered at CSU.

While any admission decision can be appealed, and many are, the university is under no obligation to reconsider applications regardless of an applicant’s particular circumstances.

For more details contact The Office of Admissions, (970) 491-6909.

Academic Requirements

Students with disabilities are expected to complete all academic requirements necessary for graduation at Colorado State University. In addition to courses required for a major, all students must complete general education courses, including composition and mathematics, through the All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC). The AUCC includes basic competencies in mathematics, composition and communication, foundations and perspectives in the arts, social and physical sciences, and global and cultural awareness. The basic competency courses in mathematics and composition must be completed prior to accumulating 60 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 of their field.

Please refer to the Colorado State University General Catalog for more details.

Completing Academic Requirements

If students have problems completing particular requirements due to the limitations created by their disabilities, various strategies may need to be implemented. 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. Waiving any requirement for graduation is generally not considered a reasonable accommodation, especially for requirements considered essential to a particular major.

Transfer Courses:  Courses from other institutions must meet the university’s requirements for transfer. 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. For more information on transfer credits, contact the Registrar’s Office, Centennial Hall, (970) 491-7159.


Individual substitutions for courses are initiated, and approved, 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 other alteration to a student’s course of study must be supported by appropriate documentation and negotiated within the student’s major department and approved by the department’s college. Final approval for any substitution or alteration is required by the CSU Registrar for graduation purposes.  Contact your academic advisor for more information on possible substitutions.  For more information concerning the requirements of graduation, please contact the Registrar’s Office.

NOTE: Substantial alterations to graduation requirements are generally not considered reasonable accommodations.

Tutoring:  Tutoring and other support can often help students complete difficult requirements, especially if there are no other alternatives available to complete essential courses of a major. Tutoring support is provided from a variety of sources on campus. One source is through the Academic Advancement Center (AAC); for information on other tutoring sources, contact one of the SDC Accommodations/Advocacy Specialists.

Academic Expectations

CSU is considered a Carnegie Class I Research institution. While some classes may present hands-on learning opportunities, many of the academic programs offered by CSU are research and theory-based.

A student can expect a learning environment that is dependent not only on lectures and textbooks but also on self-initiative. The majority of faculty are more than willing to meet with individual students to enhance the task of mastering course content. However, it is expected that students are primarily responsible for their own learning process as well as their own behavior.

Academic dishonesty (e.g. cheating, plagierism, etc.) are grounds for disciplinary action at the discretion of any faculty member. Any behavior that is considered disruptive to the academic environment may also result in disciplinary action. Disciplinary action results may include, but not limited to, suspension as well as dismissal from the university. For more information, contact the Student Resolution Center (970) 491-7165, for the policies related to student conduct.

Students are expected to conduct themselves in a civil and respectful manner. While “heated” discussions are often encouraged, respect for the diversity of opinions is expected. Behavior that is disrespectful of differences and diversity need not and will not be tolerated. For more information concerning academic expectations, please refer to the Colorado State University University Catalog.

Interacting With Instructors/Faculty

The provision of some accommodations or auxiliary aids often requires the student to have specific contact with individual instructors. Prior to requesting an accommodation from an instructor, students must be evaluated by the SDC specialists to determine if the accommodation is supported by the needs created by a disability. Once evaluated, a student will be given written verification of the need for an accommodation. This written verification will be addressed to each instructor a student has for each semester. The student is responsible for providing a copy of this verification to his/her instructors at the time an accommodation is requested and prior to the time it will be needed.

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 the SDC concerning accommodations; therefore, it is suggested a student contact the SDC early to discuss what might be needed and to obtain verification of the need. If any accommodations are needed that involve the cooperation of an instructor, students with disabilities are encouraged to discuss their needs with their instructors no later than within the first two weeks of classes.

Other University Requirements

All freshmen students are required to live on campus, unless granted exemption by Housing and Dining Services (e.g., if current residents of Fort Collins). Students with disabilities may apply to live in any of the residence halls although not all are accessible for students who use wheelchairs. There are both community style living arrangements, in which students live with a roommate, or by themselves, and share a community bathroom. There are also suite style room in which a student lives with a roommate or by themselves, and shares a bathroom with 2-3 other people. Common eating facilities are available in some residence halls and are open to all residents.

Requests for specific adaptations should be directed to the Housing and Dining Services (970) 491-6511.  Other accommodation may require additional approval from the SDC before implementation. For example, “single occupancy” may be considered an accommodation if the type of disability a student has and verifying documentation support such a request.  These as well as requests for exemption to living in the residence halls due to disability or medical reasons will not be granted until approved by the SDC.

All students born January 1, 1957 or later are required to be up-to-date with specific immunization. A verification certificate must be submitted to the CSU Health Network prior to arrival on campus. For more information, please contact the Hartshorn Health Center, (970) 491-7121.

Campus Accessibility

The history of Colorado State University goes back to the late 19th century when it was constituted as Colorado Agricultural College, the land-grant institution for the state. From that time through the present, campus buildings have been constructed under a variety of guiding principles and design characteristics.  It was not until the late 1970’s, however, that physical access was taken into account. As a result, the physical accessibility of campus may vary from building to building.

Due to the regulations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, CSU continues to improve the physical access of all its buildings as well as the surrounding landscape.   This improvement plan includes exterior as well as interior spaces.

Classroom and administrative buildings in general provide physical access at least to the first floor.  Most will provide access to other levels through elevators. While not all locations may be physically accessible to someone using a wheelchair, all programs and services will be made accessible to a person either through temporary relocation (e.g., changing the assigned classroom) or by providing a service in an alternative location (e.g, meeting an advisor on the first floor).

The interior access may also vary from building to building. The major buildings on campus such as the library and student center may provide a different level of physical access than perhaps a building that is primary used for research. Retrofitting existing buildings usually results in modifications that might only minimally provide usability. This includes accessible restrooms, water fountains, automatic doors and ramps. At least one restroom in each academic classroom building will be accessible to those using wheelchairs and at least one entrance will be level for entry/exit purposes.

Access to the electronic environment is also improving but this a more of a challenge for CSU. Programs used for registration and other web-based applications are purchased from outside vendors. Unfortunately, those who are designing the programs to run in the electronic environment have not yet adopted universal design principles. As a result, some students may find it more difficult to gain access to information.

If a student finds it difficult to access the electronic environment, CSU is committed to solving the problem for that student.  The Assistive Technology Resource Center (ARTC) is available to help in finding a solution for that student as well as in helping the university to minimize the inherent barriers that come with designing an electronic environment for all users.

Other information regarding accessibility for the electronic environment can be found at the website CSU Accessibility Website.