Student FAQs


What is a disability?

As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a "person with a disability" is someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing or concentrating.

It is important to know that an impairment in and of itself does not necessary constitute a disability. The degree of the impairment must be significant enough to "substantially limit" one or more major life activities. Documentation must address the substantial limitation posed by the particular disability for which an accommodation is being requested.

How are accommodations determined?

Accommodations are uniquely developed for students on an individual basis. Furthermore, depending on the course content and format, accommodations for students may vary by semester or term.

All requests for accommodations must be supported by the documentation provided by the requesting student. It is important to keep in mind that this is an interactive process. Accommodations are best established and appropriately implemented when there is a partnership between the instructor, the student and DAS.

What is a "reasonable accommodation"?

It is easier to explain what is not reasonable. The following are kinds of accommodations are not considered reasonable.

  • Making the accommodation means making a substantial change in an essential nature of a program or element of the curriculum.
  • The accommodation poses an undue financial or administrative burden to the university.
  • The accommodation creates a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Please refer to the list of common accommodations for more information.

Will the services and accommodations that were provided to me in high school be automatically be provided to me in college?

College-level services for students with disabilities are not a continuation of special education services received in high school.

The university must provide accommodations that address your documented disability, thus affording you an equal opportunity to participate in its programs, courses and activities. However, the university is not required to provide accommodations as they appeared in your high school IEP or Section 504 plan. In fact, DAS staff may determine that some accommodations you received in high school alter aspects of the curriculum, and are therefore not reasonable.

When discussing possible accommodations for college-level work, be prepared to consider alternative accommodations in the event that some may no longer be available to you.

Do I have to pay for a new evaluation, and who can I find to do it?

For a student with a disability leaving high school and entering college, it is recommended that you work with your high school to be sure the documentation of your disability is current and complete. Generally, it is best for high school students to have an evaluation that is no more than three years old. Although high schools are often willing to conduct or update an evaluation in high school, it may be up to you to request it.

Colleges are not required to conduct or pay for evaluations. If your documentation does not support your request for accommodation, you may have to pay an appropriate professional out-of-pocket to provide an evaluation. DAS maintains a list of qualified evaluators who administer evaluations, including those who will do so at reduced or no cost.

When is the best time to request accommodations from DAS?

Contact DAS immediately after registering for classes each semester or term. Requests that are received prior to the start of the semester or term will allow DAS to adequately coordinate services and provide instructors with reasonable notice.

After student accommodations are developed, are accommodation notification letters automatically generated each semester or term?

No. It is the student's responsibility to request accommodation notification letters each semester or term during which accommodations are required. Without this request, the office will not provide an accommodation letter.

Faculty not obligated to accommodate students from whom they have not received formal notice.

What should I do if my accommodation or services are not effective?

Inform DAS as soon as you become aware that the results are not what you expected. It is harder to correct a long-standing problem and it may be too late if you wait too long or until the course or activity is completed. You and an DAS staff member will work together to resolve the problem, and in collaboration with college faculty, staff and administrators, as appropriate.

What if I need additional accommodations throughout the semester or term?

The needs of a student may vary according to course requirements, format and course content. With this in mind, students have the right to request additional accommodations for which they are eligible at any time during the semester. However, it is the student's responsibility to provide DAS with "reasonable notice."

If documentation on file does not support the request, a student may be required to provide additional documentation. The student's file will be re-evaluated by DAS staff to determine if the new request is reasonable.

What accommodations can be made to attend a campus event?

Please notify DAS no later than a week before you are attending a specific event. If there services or equipment need to be arranged, DAS will need time to ensure that the student has what he/she needs to participate in the event.

Can DAS contact faculty members and explain my situation?

DAS will not communicate with any faculty member until a student has completed the registration process and has an approved accommodation letter in place.

After a student has registered with DAS, the student will request an accommodation notification letter. Upon receipt, DAS will submit an accommodation notification letter for the student to hand to his/her faculty member. Students should verify each instructor has received the letter.

What if my professor does not want to provide me with reasonable accommodations?

Faculty members receive formal notification of accommodations for all eligible students receiving accommodations. Oftentimes, these situations arise due to miscommunication. If any issues arise, please contact DAS immediately.

What happens if I transfer from the Oxford campus to the main campus?

Notify DAS if you make any changes to your schedule and/or location. Some of the forms will designate campus location. If these changes are not communicated, services can be delayed. DAS will follow up if any additional information is needed.

Are there different accommodations depending on the academic setting?

During the registration process, accommodations are identified for both on-site and online instruction.

Depending on the accommodation needs, a student would have to notify DAS if he or she were taking participating in study abroad or have internship experiences as a part of their curriculum. For example, a student with a physical disability may not have used many accommodations for online instruction; however, the student will need special equipment and classroom modifications when he or she takes an on-site course.

The student is responsible for notifying DAS regarding any changes to type of instruction or the type of academic environment.

What if my condition changes and I need to request additional accommodations?

Contact DAS immediately. DAS will request to review any new documentation supporting your accommodation request. After additional accommodations are determined, DAS will update the Accommodation Notification Letter.

What should I do if I feel I may have been discriminated against based on my disability at Emory?

If you feel the actions of any person or entity at Emory has been discriminatory based on your disability status, contact Emory's Department of Equity and Inclusion to file a complaint.

I disagree with the accommodation determination. Is there an appeals process?

If you have any concerns regarding the determination of appropriate accommodations, you can request an appeal of the decision by contacting Emory ADA Compliance Officer Allison Butler.

Grievance Procedure

Emory University is committed to a policy of ensuring that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in university programs or activities due to his or her disability. The university is fully committed to complying with all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (section 504) and to providing equal educational opportunities to otherwise qualified students with disabilities.

Any university student who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, or has been denied access or accommodations required by law shall have the right to invoke the Grievance Procedure. This Grievance Procedure is designed to address disagreements or denials regarding requested services, accommodations, or modifications to university academic practices or requirements.

The Grievance Procedure is not intended and shall not supersede other university policies and procedures, which may exist for addressing alleged violations of ADA and/or Section 504, and other issues of concern for which separate university policies and procedures exist, including for example, grade appeals. Students are encouraged to consult with the Director of Accessibility Services or their respective designees regarding the most appropriate university policy or procedure to address a particular concern.

Informal Grievance Procedure

With respect to any grievance covered under this policy and as a prerequisite to initiating one of the formal grievance procedures, a student shall first attempt to resolve his or her complaint informally by meeting with the Director of DAS. If the grievance is not resolved informally, then the student shall have the right to invoke the appropriate formal grievance procedure detailed below.

Formal Grievance Procedure for the Denial of Academic Accommodations and Service

  1. A student with a disability, as defined by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, shall have the right to request that the Department of Equity and Inclusion review the denial of any requested academic accommodation or service.
  2. The Department of Equity and Inclusion shall assess the formal complaint and review all information necessary to render a written determination. If requested, the student shall supply any additional information and/or documentation as requested by the DEI designee. The DEI designee will issue a written Letter of Determination on the student’s Review Request.
  3. If the student disagrees with DEI’s determination, the student may seek a review with the provost. The student shall submit a written letter requesting a review of the complaint.
  4. The provost shall review the student’s letter, all pertinent records, and documentation. After completing the review, the provost will provide a letter of determination to the student.

Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Complaint

Although students are encouraged to attempt to resolve complaints pertaining to disabilities by using this Grievance Procedure, they have the right to file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Individuals with Disabilities Policy

Emory University is committed to providing equal access to employment and educational opportunities for persons with disabilities.  Emory University recognizes that individuals with disabilities may need reasonable accommodations to have equally effective opportunities to participate in or benefit from university educational programs, services, and activities, and to have equal employment opportunities. Emory University shall adhere to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as necessary to afford equal employment opportunity and equal access to programs for qualified persons with disabilities. Applicants for admission and students requesting reasonable accommodations for a disability should contact the Department of Accessibility Services at 404-727-9877 or Employees and applicants for employment should contact the Department of Accessibility Services at 404-727-9877 or  Visitors and participants in nonacademic programs should contact the sponsoring department or DAS at 404-727-9877. Questions regarding reasonable accommodations and/or discrimination on the basis of disability should be directed to the Director and ADA Compliance Officer in the Accessibility Services office.


I have surgery scheduled during the term. Am I eligible for disability accommodation?

This situation can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact DAS to describe your specific situation.

What if I need an extension because of my medical condition?

This situation can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact DAS to describe your specific situation.

What if I missed an assignment deadline due to a medical emergency?

This situation can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact DAS to describe your specific situation.

I have lost contact with my diagnosing physician. What should I do?

Any diagnosing professional can submit a medical verification letter or complete one of Emory's verification forms.

The licensed professional must support the field related to the letter. For example, a psychiatrist would provide a letter based on the student's mental health condition, and a medical doctor would provide a letter based on a medical condition. Please review the documentation guidelines.

What if I do not meet the eligibility requirements to be granted a reasonable accommodation, but I have developed an impairment due to an illness, accident, or surgery?

Complete the temporary disability registration form and submit to DAS. DAS will be happy to discuss available options and resources in cases where an accommodation is not appropriate.

My health has deteriorated, but my doctors have not determined an official diagnosis. What are my options?

Although you may not have an official diagnosis, you may still be eligible for accommodations.

To make that determination, DAS will require a formal letter from your treating physician explaining your situation, limitations and impact on academics.

Is pregnancy considered a disability?

Pregnancy and childbirth are not typically covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, if a student is experiencing complications due to pregnancy or childbirth, she may be eligible for temporary accommodations.

Contact DAS if you have any questions regarding any complications you experience while pregnant.

I am taking care of a sick relative or I am the caretaker for a significant other with a disability. Am I eligible for a disability accommodation?

No. DAS can only accommodate a student for the conditions that limit him or her due to the student's own diagnosis or treatment.