Frequently Asked Questions

Should I disclose that I have a disability during the admission process?

Self-disclosure of a disability is voluntary in higher education.  It is important to note that it is illegal to inquire about disability during the application process.  As part of our application process, your student may be asked to complete a personal statement.  Many applicants with disabilities choose to discuss this aspect of their lives in their personal statement as a way to explain one’s identity and life experiences, or to shed light on skills and aptitudes. Disclosing a disability will not negatively impact a student’s standing in the applicant pool.  If a student should choose to disclose during the application process, it is important to note that he/she will not automatically be registered for services through ODR.  To receive accommodations your student must provide appropriate documentation and complete the Registration Process.

Are there separate admission standards for students with disabilities?

No.  A student with a disability must meet the same admission requirements as his/her peers.

Will disclosing, providing documentation, and registering with ODR become part of my permanent records/transcripts?

All documentation submitted to the Office of Disability Resources (ODR) will remain in the office, separate from a student’s academic record.

Why does your office need documentation?

We need documentation in order to provide individualized accommodations based on a student’s functional impact associated with their disability.  Without this documentation, we will not be able to determine the necessary accommodations to assist students.

I was in special education class (IDEA) or had an IEP/504 Plan in high school.  Will I automatically receive the same services I received in high school?

In K – 12th grade the student is entitled to services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  This law governs procedures only in K-12, not in post-secondary education.  Special education is mandated to provide a free and appropriate education to public school students through the provision of instructional services and modifications.  The school is responsible for ensuring a student’s success.  This does not apply to universities and colleges.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are the primary laws that govern the procedures for post-secondary education.  Universities/Colleges must ensure that a student does not encounter discrimination due to a disability, and must provide reasonable accommodations that allow the student equal access to programs and/or classes.  Special education, IEP’s or504’s are not developed at the university level.  Please see “Documentation Guidelines”  for specific documentation requirements based on disability.  504’s and IEP’s can be used to provide students with provisional accommodations while we wait on updated documentation.

Will I get the same services I received in high school?

Not necessarily. The laws governing post-secondary schools and high schools are different.  Accommodations must be consistent with the University’s academic standards and are determined by the current functional impact and demonstrated need of the individual.

What kinds of accommodations do you offer for students with disabilities?

Accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis and are determined by documentation and demonstrated need.

Do I have to disclose my disability to my instructors?

If a student is in need of a classroom accommodation, they are responsible for providing their professors with their accommodation letter, provided by the ODR office.  The accommodation letter does not disclose the reason an accommodation is needed.  Details specific to disability or impact are only shared if the student provides this information.  ODR staff work with students (at their request) to assist with the self-disclosure process.

Am I eligible for a substitution of the second language requirement?

If you are experiencing difficulty with foreign language learning, you should request an appointment with the Director of ODR to talk about possible accommodations and curricular options. In some cases, a student will be advised to pursue a request for a Second Language Substitution Request.

Can ODR provide me copies of the documentation I provided as part of my registration for services?

No.  Once you supply ODR with your documentation, it becomes part of our permanent record.  We are unable to make copies of the documentation once it has been submitted to our office.  We recommend that students make copies of all documentation prior to submitting it to our office.

What help can I get regarding professional and graduate school testing (ex. PRAXIS (I & II),GRE, LSAT, GMAT)?

Each standardized test requires different documentation for accommodations; it all depends on what the student is requesting.  Students should review the appropriate websites for specific requirements and speak with an ODR staff member after reviewing these requirements.  Please note that documentation submitted and accepted by ODR may be different then what is required by the standardized testing board.

What documentation does the Office of Disability require?  Will a prescription pad with a diagnosis suffice?

In determining eligibility for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the student must demonstrate that a qualified professional has established a formal diagnosis of a disability and that there is evidence of a substantial limitation in one or more major life activities.  Accommodations in Higher Education are given based on the functional impact of a diagnosis.  Please see Documentation Guidelines for more information on appropriate documentation.  Documentation can be uploaded directly by the student into their Accommodate portal. Please see How to Register for more information.

A prescription pad or letter simply stating diagnosis will not suffice as appropriate documentation.

Is tutoring provided specifically for students with disabilities?

No.  All UMW students have access to tutors through Academic Services.  Individual departments also have tutoring programs available.  Students need only inquire with their faculty.

What is the process of obtaining housing accommodations?

Requests for housing accommodations are different then classroom and/or programmatic accommodation requests.  Housing Accommodation Requests are submitted to the Office of Disability Resources.  Complete applications are reviewed by the housing committee.  While there is a deadline, and we encourage students to submit documentation by this date to be guaranteed the accommodations, applications are reviewed on an on-going basis.

Will the Office of Disability Resources Office seek me out to provide services?

No.  At the university/college level, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA).  Under the new laws, students have a right to confidentiality and non-disclosure.  Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to seek out services.

If I am receiving accommodations at another college/university will they automatically transfer?

No.  Your student must self-disclose to the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), provide appropriate documentation, and participate in the in-take appointment with personal from ODR to determine eligibility and reasonable accommodations.

How do I request the ability to have my car on campus as a freshman due to medical need, and/or receive an accessible-parking permit?

Parking Management handles all accessible parking requests.  Please contact them directly at 540-654-1129.

Where can I get testing if I suspect that I have a disability?

Students can be tested anywhere as long as the appropriate licensed professional is conducting the testing.  The ODR office does have a List of Evaluators (link to page).

What steps can I take if I feel that I have been treated unfairly, discriminated against or not provided my requested accommodations based upon my disability?

At the University of Mary Washington the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action are practiced.  The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, parental status (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or other non-merit based factors in recruiting, admitting, enrolling students or hiring and promoting faculty and staff members.

Complaints of discrimination should be directed to the AA/EEO officer of the University; contact information is available.

This grievance procedure is available to students and employees at the University of Mary Washington who feel discriminated against by one or more persons serving in an official capacity for the University, based on one or more of the discriminatory factors listed in the preceding paragraph. This procedure is designed specifically for resolving matters of alleged discrimination as may be applicable to Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Grievance Procedure is available online.  Please feel free to contact the Office of Disability Resources with questions.  Phone: 540-654-1266, Email: ODR@UMW@.EDU.

What if I have a temporary disability such as a broken arm/leg or concussion?

Students with a temporary disability (duration is less than 6 months) should communicate their needs directly with faculty or contact Academic Services for assistance.  Academic Services can be contacted at 540-654-1010.