Accommodation Basics for Faculty

The Office of Disability Services partners with faculty and/or the schools to ensure that student's approved academic accommodations are met. If you have questions or concerns about any accommodations listed on a Letter of Accommodation, please start by contacting the specific coordinator listed on the letter.


Accommodations are approved for a student after the student has met with a coordinator within the Office of Disability Services and provided documentation of their disability. Accommodations are intended as a means of leveling the playing field, not providing an advantage over other students or ensuring success. The goal is to ensure equal access.



A frequent term you may hear when working with disability services is reasonable accommodation. This is a generic term to mean to include academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, services and modifications to facilities. 


reasonable accommodation is any adjustment that will enable a qualified student with a disability to participate in a course, program, facility, activity or service and includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges equal to students without disabilities.  Reasonable accommodations may include academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, services, or modifications for facilities. Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case and course-by-course basis.


reasonable academic adjustment is a change that minimizes or eliminates the impact of a disability, allowing the individual to gain equal access and have an equal opportunity to participate in the University's academic courses or programs. A reasonable academic adjustment is one that does not require a substantial change in the curriculum or alteration of any essential elements or functions of the course, program, service, or activity. Academic adjustments are determined on a case-by-case and course-by-course basis.

Examples of reasonable academic adjustments: extension of time for tests, course substitution of non-essential requirements, priority registration, etc. (this is not an exhaustive list).


reasonable auxiliary aid might include adaptive equipment, assistive technology, FM systems, electronic textbooks or books in alternative formats, computers for testing, etc. (this is not an exhaustive list).


reasonable service may include a reader for tests, note-taker for a course, test proctors, sign language interpreters, real-time captioning etc. (this is not an exhaustive list).


modification may include the removal of architectural barriers. 

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities, Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 dictates that an institution must make reasonable academic adjustments, provide auxiliary aids and/or services for those individuals with a qualified disability who self identify. A reasonable academic adjustment is one that does not require a substantial change in the curriculum or alteration of any essential elements or functions of the course, program, service, or activity. Academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services are determined on a case-by-case and course-by-course basis.


A Letter of Accommodations (LOA) is a document provided by the Office of Disability Services that explains to faculty and/or the school which reasonable accommodations to be provided to a student. The letter contains course accommodations recommended by the Office of Disability Services based on the student's disability. 

It is the student’s responsibility to submit their LOA to their professor(s) or appropriate school personnel (e.g.,  New Jersey Medical School, the discussion will be with Student Affairs; the Dental school, this will be with the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and at the Law Schools in Camden or Newark, this will be with the Deans of Students). The student can provide their LOA to their professor or school personnel in person or via email as an attachment. We encourage each student to request confirmation when submitting LOA via email.

It is important that the student and professor/school personnel have a clear understanding of what is agreed upon regarding the use and implementation of these accommodations. Any conversations about accommodations should occur in as confidential of a manner as possible, so we encourage students to utilize office hours when possible.

Students are encouraged to submit their LOA to their professor/school personnel as early in the semester as possible. However, it should be understood that under some circumstances (e.g. student was approved for accommodations later in the semester, student was recently diagnosed) the student may submit their letter later in the semester. 


All disability-related information including documentation, accommodation letters, correspondence, and consultations are considered confidential and will be managed in accordance with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations. This includes electronic, paper, verbal, and any other types of communication.

In addition to fulfilling legal obligations, maintaining a high standard of confidentiality also serves to maintain an environment in which students with disabilities feel respected, safe, supported, and protected.

Breaches of confidentiality are taken very seriously by Rutgers. Unauthorized disclosures of student information must be documented and can result in the University being in non-compliance with federal regulations.  Please contact the Office of Disability Services if there are any questions, issues, or concerns regarding maintaining confidentiality of information.



An exam accommodation refers to any approved accommodations which relates to the way a student takes their exam. This includes but is not limited to: extended time on exams, a reduced distraction testing location, use of scribe/readers, and use of assistive technology during an exam. ODS defines an exam as any quiz, test, or final for a course.

All students wishing to utilize exam accommodations need to be registered with the ODS, have requested their Letter of Accommodations (LOA) and shared their LOA with their professor/school personnel.


Note-taking accommodations are provided through a combination of electronic recording, self-directed, and in-person (peer) methods. Students may use different methods depending on their approved accommodation and the teaching format of the course. 

Next Faculty Training Topic:  Accessible Online Courses                                                                                                                                                          


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