What is the purpose of an accommodation?

Reasonable accommodations are there to allow the student with a disability an equal learning opportunity to their peers. Reasonable accommodations do not guarantee student success and do not provide an unfair advantage. Accommodations are intended to reduce or eliminate barriers to equal access and promote equal opportunities in order to ensure students with disabilities have equal access and opportunity to learn and participate fully in all educational programs at Iowa State University.

Academic Accommodations

Academic accommodations provide students with disabilities with equal access to course instruction, materials, and evaluation. They “level the playing field” by reducing/eliminating barriers caused by the interaction between a student’s disability and the learning environment. 

Non-Academic Accommodations

Housing, dining, and assistance animal accommodations in college are crucial in promoting inclusivity, meeting students' diverse needs, and ensuring equal access to education, living environments, safe dining options, and necessary support for individuals with disabilities. Reasonable non-academic accommodations must be medically necessary to be approved.

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What are not accommodations?

Fundamental Alteration 

If an accommodation reduces the academic standards of the University, its schools, departments, or its courses, the University denies the accommodation as unreasonable. Academic standards are essential for all students. It is unreasonable to alter these fundamental standards as an accommodation for a student with a disability. 

Retroactive Request 

Students with disabilities are responsible for requesting accommodations in a timely manner. The University is not required to provide retroactive accommodations.  

Personal Service 

If a request for an accommodation falls under the definition of personal service, the University denies the request as unreasonable. Personal services are those that a person with a disability must use regardless of attendance at the University. In addition, personal services are those for which no correlation between the disability's functional limitation and program access can be established. The University, for instance, does not purchase wheelchairs or other assistive technologies used in every setting to compensate for mobility impairments. Other examples of personal services may include walking a student to and from class, feeding, toileting, bathing, mental health counseling, rehabilitation, remediation, and tutoring. 

Administrative Burden  

An undue administrative burden occurs when the University does not have enough time to respond to the request, or when the administration of it would be impossible or infeasible. In every instance, the University reserves the right to offer another, equally effective accommodation.