Disability Services Student FAQs

Disability Services Center staff with a student client

General Information for Students

The term "disability" means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Major Life Activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. 

A Major Life Activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
(Americans with Disabilities Act)

No. Disclosure is not required.  However, reasonable accommodations cannot be provided until disclosure and registration with the Disability Services Center.

No.  While Rhode Island College takes all of your information into consideration, legally, we can only make admission decisions with the set of guidelines established for all students. For specific admission requirements, please visit the Admissions Office website.

Visit our Request Accommodations page to learn more.

  • Students needing accessible Housing should register with the Disability Services Center upon acceptance to the College.
  • Students needing Physical Accessibility accommodations and/or use of Sign Language Interpreters should request accommodations as soon as possible but no less than two weeks before the beginning of the semester.
  • Students seeking Testing, and/or Classroom accommodations should request accommodations as soon as possible after enrolling in classes for the upcoming semester or at least within the first two weeks of the semester.
  • Students seeking Reduced Course Load status must request this accommodation prior to the end of the add/drop period of the semester for which it is needed. This accommodation must be requested EACH semester it is needed; this status will NOT be automatically renewed each semester.

Students needing accessible Housing should register with the Disability Services Center upon acceptance to the College.

Students who need Physical Accessibility accommodations and/or use of Sign Language Interpreters should register with the Disability Services Center as soon as possible but no less than two weeks before the beginning of the semester.

Students seeking Program, Testing, or Classroom accommodations should register with the Disability Services Center as soon as possible after enrolling in classes for the upcoming semester or at least within the first two weeks of the semester.

No. There are no fees for registering as a student with a disability.

Students should request accommodation letters for each class needed.  Accommodation letters are the formal notification that go out to faculty to inform them that you are a student with a disability who is eligible to receive accommodations in their course.  You can request your accommodation letters each semester directly through your online portal for managing accommodations, AIM.  If you have any issues, contact the DSC to troubleshoot.

Please see our Documentation Guidelines for more information.

Yes.  All documentation is generally treated as confidential medical information and is therefore governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Disability Services Center maintains the confidentiality of registered students' disability-related information and will NOT release any part of that information without the student's written consent.

Registration and Accommodation Information: In order to begin the accommodation process, students with disabilities must sign a Release of Information form.

  • By signing the Release, students authorize the Disability Services Center to confirm to Rhode Island College Faculty and Staff whether the student is registered with the office and which relevant accommodations may be required.
  • The Disability Services Center will only provide Off-Campus persons (i.e. family members, doctors, case workers, etc.) with information regarding a student if written authorization to communicate with the person is given on the Release of Information form.

Extraordinary Circumstances: In some circumstances, in order to assist a student with a disability, it is necessary to share certain otherwise confidential information with on or off campus persons whom the Disability Services Center deems have a "need to know." This will not be done, absent extraordinary circumstances, without the student's permission.

Transcripts: The use of reasonable accommodations is not recorded on a student's official college transcript.

Disposal of Confidential Information: The Disability Services Center will shred all information on file after seven (7) years of no contact with a registered student.​

Yes. The Admissions Office of Rhode Island College does NOT forward to the Disability Services Center and disability-related documentation that a student submits with his or her application to the College. Therefore, even if you sent your documentation to another office or department at Rhode Island College (including Admissions), you must still submit this information to the Disability Services Center.

No.  Rhode Island College does not provide testing for disability verification. The Disability Services Center at Rhode Island College does not endorse or recommend evaluators, but provides a listing of evaluators for the convenience of the students. The list is not comprehensive or exhaustive, and the student is, of course, responsible for payment of all charges incurred.

Each student’s accommodations will be different, based on the student’s individual experience of disability and the kinds of things they will encounter in their environment at Springfield College. Accommodations are always determined on an individualized, case-by-case basis depending first on the nature, severity, and impact of a student’s disability or medical condition. However, some common types of accommodations include:

  • Academic Accommodations
  • Accessible Furniture
  • Alternative Format Texts
  • Assistive Technology
  • Communication Access Services
  • Housing Accommodations
  • Fieldwork Accommodations
  • Note-taking Services
  • Parking/Transportation Accommodations
  • Testing Accommodations



Yes.  This accommodation must be requested EACH semester it is needed.  Reduced Course Load status is NOT automatically applied each semester.  All requests for Reduced Course Load status must be submitted to the Disability Services Center PRIOR TO THE END OF THE ADD/DROP PERIOD OF THE SEMESTER.

Yes. If a particular program of study requires that courses be taken concurrently and a less than full-time enrollment results in a fundamental alteration of the curriculum, a reduced course load may not be permitted.

Students who are approved for a reduced course load with full-time status are entitled to many of the rights, privileges, benefits, and responsibilities of a full-time student for various programs and services including:

  • verification of full-time registration status for health insurance purposes,
  • on-campus housing, and
  • academic honors (i.e. Dean's list).

Yes.  For financial aid and billing purposes, the reduced course load will result in an ADJUSTMENT to tuition, fees, and financial aid based on the actual number of credit hours for which the student is registered.  Specific information regarding a student’s financial aid should be obtained from the RIC Financial Aid Office, (401) 456 - 8033.

Maybe.  Under NCAA rules, student-athletes are required to be full-time and matriculating.  Any deviation from this policy must be appealed to the RIC Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Intramurals, and Recreation.

Students needing physical accessibility accommodations should request accommodations as soon as possible, but no less than two weeks before the beginning of the semester.

Students are required to notify the Disability Services Center at least two weeks before the beginning of the semester whenever a Sign-Language Interpreter or CART is needed.  If an interpreter cannot be found, the student may need to drop the course, or the Disability Services Center may offer the use of CART (Computer Aided Real-time Transcription) as an accommodation.  Please see RIC’s Sign Language Interpreter Policy for more information.  Copies of this Policy are available from the Disability Services Center by request.

Yes. Students needing accessible housing should register in the Disability Services Center upon acceptance to the college. Upon registration, the Disability Services Center will verify to the Office of Residential Life and Housing the student's need for accessible housing. However, it is the student’s responsibility to submit his or her housing deposit and complete all paperwork required in accordance with the Office of Residential Life and Housing’s deadlines.

No.  Rhode Island College does not provide special parking permits to disabled students. In order to utilize the numerous handicapped accessible parking spaces on campus, the student must display a State-issued Motor Vehicle Handicapped Parking Placard appropriately in, or on, their vehicle.  
(For more information, please visit www.dmv.ri.gov/.)


Yes. Although individuals with temporary impairments do not qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Disability Services Center nevertheless attempts to assist students who need short-term accommodations.

Yes. Any student registered with the Disability Services Center that requires assistance in requesting accommodations on nationally certified exams, should make an appointment with the Disability Services Staff. The student should bring to this appointment all completed application materials needed to register for and request accommodations during the exam. The Disability Services Center will review the student’s Disability Verification Documentation to confirm that it is complete and up-to-date. Once this has been verified, the Disability Services Center will complete the Rhode Island College portion of the exam application package and notify the student that their materials are ready for pick-up. It is then the student’s responsibility to submit the proper materials to the examiner.

Yes.  Students with documented disabilities may use the Assistive Technology (AT) Lab in Adams Library.  Prior to gaining access to the lab, students must be trained on the proper use of the lab equipment.  Eligible students should contact the Disability Services Center to schedule the necessary training.  (Please see the Software and Equipment) Section of this website for more information.)

Students with documented print disabilities, such as blindness, visual impairment, learning disability, and certain mobility impairments, may request their course materials in audio, electronic or other alternative format. Please see "How do I request E-text and/or Audio Books?" below or contact the Disability Services Center for more information.

The Disability Services Center offers Digital Voice Recorders, MP3 Players, and FM Assistive Listening Devices for loan to eligible students.  Quantities are limited, therefore equipment is loaned on a first come, first served basis.  Equipment must be returned to the Disability Services Center at the conclusion of the borrowing period (which shall be no longer than one semester).  While the student is borrowing the equipment, he/she assumes all risk for damage to or loss of the equipment and its components. 

The first step in requesting e-text and/or audio books from the Disability Services Center is to download and sign an Agreement on Use of Alternatively Formatted Course Materials. This agreement asks students to NOT share, copy or reproduce the e-text and/or audio book materials.

Next, an E-text and Audio Book Request Form must be completed for each book requested by the student. This form, which may be completed electronically and emailed to the Disability Services Center (dsc@ric.edu), must be submitted with the proof of purchase (receipt) for each book requested. The requested electronic text will not be provided to the student without proof of purchase of a print version of the book.

The Disability Services Center will attempt to obtain an electronic or audio version of the text from the book's publisher, Bookshare.org, Learning Ally, and/or other relevant sources. Because this process can take more than 2 weeks, it is recommended that students make these requests to the Disability Service Center as early as possible.

If the book is not available from the sources mentioned above, the student may request that RIC convert (via digital scanning) the text to an electronic format for him/her. This requires that the student allow RIC to remove and replace the book's binding with the understanding that RIC assumes no responsibility for damage to the book that may occur during this process.

For more information, review our Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Additional support and assistance may also be obtained from the following on-campus resources:

  • The Office of Academic Support and Information Services (OASIS) provides all students with academic support and advising services.
  • Health Services provides confidential and holistic primary health care to enhance the academic potential of all Rhode Island College students.
  • The Counseling Center offers individual counseling and short-term psychotherapy to all students for personal, career, and educational problems. A variety of group workshops and programs, vocational interest and personality testing, substance abuse evaluation, crisis intervention, self-help literature and audiotapes, and a stress management laboratory are also offered.

Yes.  The Office of Academic Support and Information Services (OASIS) provides all students with academic support.  One-on-one tutorial help in reading comprehension, note taking, time management, test taking, study skills, and organization is available.  Tutorial services are also offered to students who need to concentrate on specific areas of their studies, such as accounting, biology, chemistry, mathematics, psychology, and other selected areas. 

Services are provided by full and part-time staff, graduate assistants, and peer tutors.  Please call OASIS at 456-8083 for more information or to request assistance.

Yes.  Introductory courses in Writing and Rhetoric (WRTG 100), Basic Mathematics Competency (MATH 010), The College Experience (COLL 101), and College Learning Strategies (COLL 125) are offered each semester.  Please refer to the College Catalog for more information about these courses.

Assistance with study skills, in the form of workshops and/or one-on-one tutoring, is offered by OASIS, as described above. 


Students with disabilities who have experienced a problem receiving reasonable accommodations at the College should first attempt to resolve the problem with the faculty or staff member providing the accommodation.  If problems persist, the Disability Services Center should be contacted for assistance with negotiating and implementing reasonable accommodations.

Students who have disputes with either an academic unit or the classroom or grading conduct of faculty members should first discuss the problem with the faculty member involved.  If this does not lead to a resolution, the student may file a grievance in accordance with the College’s Academic Grievance Procedures.  (Please see Section 3.11 of the Rhode Island College Handbook of Polices, Practices, and Regulations for more information.)

Students who feel that they have experienced discrimination based on their disability may institute a complaint in accordance with the Rhode Island College Complaint Resolution Policy.  Students are encouraged to seek an informal resolution to their complaints by reporting the issue to the Dean of Students and/or the Director of Affirmative Action.  If the informal complaint resolution process does not result in a solution that is satisfactory to the student, the student may utilize the formal complaint procedure.  (Please refer to the Affirmative Action website for more information.)​​​​​​