Students with Disabilities

Alma College is committed to complying with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 by providing access to campus facilities and reasonable accommodations in programs, services and classroom activities. Students with disabilities who require accommodation should contact the Disability Services Coordinator in the Center for Student Opportunity to initiate services.

According to federal law, a person with a disability is a person who: 1) has a physical or mental impairment; 2) has a record of such impairment; or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, self-care, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.


All information regarding a student’s disability, including documentation, is considered by law to be confidential. The Disability Services Coordinator cannot release such information to any college personnel outside of the Center for Student Opportunity unless the student gives his/her consent.


At Alma, it is up to each student to decide whether or not they want to disclose their disability. However, if a student would like to receive accommodations they need to register with the Disability Services Coordinator in the Center for Student Opportunity and provide the appropriate documentation. The documentation is kept confidential by the Disability Services Coordinator and it does not become part of a student’s educational record.

Documentation Requirements

The documentation must come from a licensed or credentialed professional qualified to diagnose the stated disability and it must include:

  • A clear diagnostic statement that describes how the condition was diagnosed, provides information on the functional impact, and details the typical progression or prognosis of the condition.
  • A description of the diagnostic criteria, evaluation methods, procedures, tests and dates of administration, as well as a clinical narrative, observation, and specific results.
  • Information on how the condition currently impacts the individual and a description of any expected changes in the functional impact of the disability.
  • A description of current and past accommodations, services and/or medications.
  • Recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services.

Classroom Accommodations

Accommodations are individually determined based upon discussions between the student and the Disability Services Coordinator, a review of the documentation, and input from relevant faculty/staff members (while maintaining confidentiality).

Classroom accommodations at the college level may differ from modifications that were available in high school. An accommodation may not alter an essential component of a course.

Some common examples of accommodations that may be approved include:

  • Extended time on tests or exams
  • Testing in a separate room
  • Use of adaptive technology
  • Note taking services
  • Alternative format textbooks
  • Advance copies of an instructor’s notes/outlines
Requesting Accommodations
  1. A student who is registered with the Disability Services Office (see Registration/Documentation) will meet with the Disability Services Coordinator at the beginning of each term and complete the Accommodation Letter Request form.
  2. The Disability Services Coordinator will draft a letter to each of the student’s instructors listing the approved accommodations.
  3. The student will be notified that the letters are completed and ready to be picked up in the Disability Services Coordinator’s office.

It is up to the student to distribute the letters to the instructors. This is important in order to protect confidentiality and to promote self-advocacy and independence. Students are encouraged to talk with their instructor about the letter and the reasons for the accommodations, but it is not required. Faculty members are aware of the policies and procedures surrounding accommodations in the classroom. If a student feels comfortable talking about his/her needs, an instructor might be able to offer suggestions specific to his/her course and style of teaching that may be more effective than the accommodations alone. Students who are apprehensive about presenting an Accommodation Letter to an instructor can talk with the Disability Services Coordinator for assistance with this task.

Housing Accommodations

Alma College strives to provide the best possible living environment for students with disabilities. Upon request, Alma College will provide accessible housing to individuals with mobility impairments.  Additionally, when the appropriate documentation is presented and approved, students with disabilities other than mobility impairments will be eligible to receive reasonable accommodations. 

Programming Accommodations

Student Life provides a variety of programs and events in the residence halls throughout the year. The college requires that any program that is held in a residence hall, that is not exclusive to a specific floor or wing, be held in a common area of the building that is accessible. If the specific hall does not have such an area, then the program must be held in a location that would accommodate those persons with disabilities.

Last updated 7/23/2013