Frequently Asked Questions

Please click the the frequently asked questions below to learn more about the Office of Accessibility Services. If you have a questions not addressed below, please contact us at AccessibilityServices@PhilaU.edu


What is the role of the Office of Accessibility Services on campus?

The Office of Student Accessibility Services coordinates all accommodations for students on campus. Accessibility Services works with students on an individual basis to review documentation to establish whether a student is eligible for accommodations and if so, determine reasonable accommodations and provided assistance.  

The Office of Student Accessibility Services is also a resource for faculty and staff. Accessibility Services may administer exams and provide resources for students with disabilities to faculty. The Office of Student Accessibility Services works directly with Physical Plant to provide accommodations that may require physical adaptations to the campus environment. Faculty and staff who are impacted by accommodations will be notified as needed.

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What is a "reasonable accommodation"?

Reasonable accommodations allow students with disabilities to maximize their potential by overcoming disability-related barriers and functional limitations, without requiring a substantial change in curriculum or alteration of a significant element of the University's academic program. Reasonable accommodations may include direct services, academic adjustments, or physical accessibility. An accommodation is not considered reasonable and does not have to be made if the person with a disability poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or if the requested accommodation would impose an undue burden on the University, or the accommodation alters the course requirements.

The determination of whether a request constitutes a reasonable accommodation may be impacted by the specific nature of the course for which the student requires accommodation. Any concerns regarding the reasonableness of an accommodation should be addressed through discussions between The Office of Student Accessibility Services, the faculty member who is teaching the course in question, and the student who is requesting an accommodation.

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Who is eligible for services?

Full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students with documented disabilities are eligible for services provided by The Office of Student Accessibility Services and reasonable accommodations from the University.

Types of Disabilities:
Physical/Medical Disabilities: This category includes, but is not limited to, students with hearing impairments, visual impairments, mobility limitations, and individuals with chronic illnesses such as Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, HIV/AIDS, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, whose impairments create a substantial limitation on a major life activity.

Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder: This category includes, but is not limited to, students with impairments that impact auditory processing, visual processing, short-term and long-term memory, attention, comprehension, and/or fine and gross motor integration, whose impairments create a substantial limitation on a major life activity.

Psychological Disabilities: Individuals with chronic mental disorders or long-term anxiety disorders may be eligible for services from The Office of Student Accessibility Services, if their impairments create a substantial limitation on a major life activity.

Temporary Disabilities: Although these students are not afforded the same rights as those with permanent disabilities, the University is committed to working with these students to help them succeed without fundamentally altering the requirements of a course or program. Students who may fall into this category are students with recent head trauma, an extended non-chronic illness, or students undergoing treatment, e.g., Chemotherapy.

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Do individuals with disabilities have to pay for services and accommodations?

The University provides reasonable accommodations to students at no cost. 

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Do students need an appointment to receive services from the Office of Accessibility Services?

Yes. The first step to opening a file in The Office of Student Accessibility Services is to make initial contact via email or scheduling an appointment with the Director of Accessibility Services. 

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Will the information provided by the student to the Office of Accessibility Services remain confidential?

Yes. All information is maintained as confidential to the extent required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Students may sign a consent form regarding faculty and parent contact. 

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