Disability Services Center staff with a student client

Ensuring Your Questions Get Answered

The Disability Services Center (DSC) has compiled a list of common questions and answers. If your concern isn't addressed here, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

General Information on Disabilities, Accommodations, Registering with DSC, and More

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.

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.

Learn more at Request Accommodations.

Students can make requests at any point in their College career, but are encouraged to do so as soon as they can reasonably foresee a need for assistance. Keep in mind that the eligibility determination process may take time, and accommodations cannot be provided retroactively. So it's important to connect with the DSC as early as possible to build a plan in anticipation of need. In addition, some accommodations may require that students follow a specific timeline to ensure that the accommodation can be provided.

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 the AIM online portal. If you have any issues, contact the DSC to troubleshoot.

Please see our Documentation Guidelines for more information.

Records maintained by the Disability Services Center (DSC) are considered educational records regulated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As such, DSC adheres to the College’s institutional FERPA policy. DSC also recognizes that student disability records, including documentation of a student’s medical condition, may contain private or sensitive information and should be treated as such. DSC generally will not disclose personally identifiable information, including medical information, without the student’s written consent unless required by federal law. 

DSC staff may confirm registration status and approved accommodations with other College personnel on a need-to-know basis. Students are only required to share their registration status and approved accommodations with instructors if they are making an accommodation request in that instructor’s course. 

DSC will not disclose registration status or approved accommodations to external organizations or employers without the student’s written consent. Students may authorize the release of their records to external individuals, institutions, or agencies by completing an Information Release Consent form with the DSC through the student’s online portal, AIM. Release authorizations may be revoked at any time by the student in a written, signed, and dated request (which may be done via the student’s Rhode Island College email account).

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 Rhode Island 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. Although the College is obligated to provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to qualified students with disabilities, there are limited circumstances under which an accommodation request may be denied. If a requested accommodation does not effectively address a disability-related barrier or create equal access, then it may not be considered an appropriate accommodation. An accommodation may not be considered reasonable if it poses an undue financial or administrative burden, poses a direct threat to health and safety, or fundamentally alters the nature of a course, program, activity or service by modifying or invalidating an essential requirement.

Yes. Every qualified student with a disability has the responsibility to meet essential requirements for admission, eligibility, and participation in College services, programs, or activities, including relevant technical and behavioral standards, with or without reasonable accommodations.

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
  • some exceptions to the full-time eligibility requirement for institutional scholarships, like the Hope Scholarship
  • eligibility for 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.  Some financial aid may be affected.  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 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. Please see Housing Accommodations for more information.

Yes. If a student does not have a state-issued motor vehicle accessible parking placard, we can provide limited parking accommodations to facilitate easier access to parking on campus. However, we cannot provide parking permits for designated accessible parking spots that require a state-issued permit. For more information, please visit the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles.

No, not specifically for students with disabilities.  However the College does offer an accessible RIC Campus Shuttle service for all students.

Yes. If a student has a temporary impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, then they may qualify for disability-related accommodations on a temporary basis.

Yes. Any student registered with the Disability Services Center that requires assistance in requesting accommodations on nationally certified exams, can make an appointment with the DSC to help them navigate the process. In many instances, the DSC can provide disability verification information on the student's behalf. The student should bring to this appointment all completed application materials needed to register for and request accommodations during the exam.

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. 

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 Office of Counseling Services 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. Academic Support Services 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.

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 Academic Support Services.

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 the Manual of Academic Policies and Procedures for more information.)

Students who have experienced harassment, discriminatory treatment, or been denied access relative to a disability have a right to file a grievance with the College’s Office of Institutional Equity or the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, as outlined in the Council on Postsecondary Education Nondiscrimination Policy and Complaint Procedures.

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Disability Services Center

Facilitate access and inclusion for students with disabilities at Rhode Island College