Academic Policies on Accommodations

Converse University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended through 1998), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the non-discrimination requirements of Section 35.107 of the Department of Justice regulations. Converse does not discriminate with regard to race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs and activities. As a recipient of federal funds such as Work/Study, Pell and SEOG Grants, and Perkins and Stafford Loans, Converse recognizes its responsibility to provide equivalent access to academically qualified students with documented disabilities while maintaining standards that are essential to the academic program. A student with a disability is someone with either a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Temporary impairments of short duration without permanent impact usually do not qualify as disabilities under the ADA.

Students are responsible for notifying the university of their need for accommodations, obtaining and submitting a Request for Accommodations Form to the Case Manager for Student Accessibility Services, providing supporting documentation in a timely manner and actively participating in developing and implementing an accommodation plan for each term. As legal adults, students must self-advocate, and parents can be included in the process only with the student’s permission. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to students with disabilities upon written request. No otherwise qualified individual will be denied accommodations for a disability unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the university.

Any faculty member who receives a request for academic accommodations on the basis of disability must refer the student to the Case Manager for Student Accessibility Services immediately. No modification of the present program or promises of modification should be made until the Case Manager has made a recommendation.

Questions or concerns regarding ADA compliance should be addressed to the Vice President for Finance & Administration at (864) 596-9028. Information on EEOC or Section 504 compliance issues can be obtained from the Director of Human Resources at (864) 596-9029.


Students are admitted to Converse on the basis of academic credentials and additional information submitted to the Admission Office. Students that receive accommodations either in high school or on standardized tests are not necessarily eligible for accommodations in higher education under the ADA or Section 504.

Applicants are not required to disclose any disability on their applications for admission to Converse. Once admitted, however, a student seeking reasonable academic or housing accommodations for a disability should complete the Request for Accommodations form in my.converse to begin the request process. All requests should be made as early as possible to provide adequate time to process the request.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Converse will make reasonable accommodations within its academic programs for “otherwise qualified” students with documented disabilities. However, students and parents should understand that accommodations provided in elementary and secondary schools under P.L. 94.142 (IDEA) are not necessarily required by law under the ADA or Section 504 or provided by Converse. Many of the practices and procedures of special education (goal-setting, progress reports, team meetings, program and exam modifications, related services, and annual reviews) have no parallels in higher education. Behavior standards are the same for all students. Converse does not provide transportation for students. Personal care attendants, orientation/mobility training and tutors are considered personal services in higher education and are the student’s responsibility. Although Converse offers no specialized services for students with disabilities, we will provide them equal access to services offered to all students. All students are eligible to use group-tutoring sessions in selected disciplines, offered several hours per week during the academic year by peer tutors, as well as services through the Division for Student Development and Success and the Writing Center. Requests for course substitutions are evaluated individually, on the basis of documentation provided, but the university is not required to fundamentally alter essential course/program requirements.

Testing to determine the need for accommodations is the student’s responsibility and is not provided by Converse. IEP’s or 504 plans do not automatically meet the documentation requirements for receiving accommodations in higher education. Documentation from an appropriate, licensed professional or agency is required in order to determine reasonable accommodations necessary to serve a student with a disability. Diagnostic evaluations or reports should be current, in most cases within three years, and should be sent directly from the qualified professional to the Case Manager for Student Accessibility Services. The documentation should indicate diagnosis, describe the manifestations of and the extent of the disability, and make recommendations for reasonable accommodations the professional deems necessary to assist the student with a disability in the college setting. A current comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation is required for learning disabilities and is strongly recommended for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Procedure for requesting Academic or Housing Accommodations

Students should submit a completed Request for Accommodations Form on my.converse with supporting documentation to the Case Manager for Student Accessibility Services at least thirty working days prior to the first day of class in order to allow time for review and consultation, as needed, with the student, professors, counselors, psychological consultants, and the Director of Counseling and Wellness to prepare an appropriate accommodation plan, and to secure available support services and/or equipment. This deadline is for administrative purposes only and does not preclude admission to programs or services. All information and records regarding students with disabilities, including accommodations for them, are strictly confidential, and the Division for Student Development and Success complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Records are stored in a secure location and reviewed only by authorized personnel.

It is the student’s responsibility to discuss accommodations with each professor at the beginning of each term. If a student has concerns about or encounters problems with accommodations during the term, the student should contact the Case Manager for Student Accessibility Services, so accommodations may be appropriately adjusted. A student who is not satisfied with accommodations may contact either the ADA or Section 504 Compliance Officer indicated above and initiate the student grievance procedure as outlined in the Undergraduate Student Handbook.

Documentation Guidelines

Documentation from External Sources:
Relevant information from external sources can help to substantiate the presence of a disability and the need for accommodations. This information should provide evidence of the functional limitations of the disability and their impact on the student's life. Criteria for the source, scope, and content of documentation differ by disability type. Documentation may include assessments, reports, and/or letters from qualified health care providers, psychologists, or diagnosticians, and information from a previous school (e.g., 504 plan, IEP, or ARD documents). In order to ensure an objective assessment, the professional completing the evaluation must be an impartial individual who is not related to the student.

Suggested Documentation Guidelines:

  1. Typed on letterhead, dated, and signed by a qualified licensed professional.
  2. Diagnostic statement with any related diagnostic methodology (e.g., diagnostic criteria, procedures, assessment instruments, and/or test scores).
  3. Functional limitations or symptoms. (Limitations identify which accommodations are appropriate.)
  4. Severity and/or expected progression.
  5. Current medication(s) and any related side-effects.
  6. Any other relevant information and/or additional information regarding the condition.
  7. Current and/or past accommodations.

Specific documentation guidelines are provided to assist students in obtaining appropriate documentation from qualified licensed professionals. The provision of this documentation assists the disability services coordinator in understanding the impact of the disability, the student’s needs, and potential accommodations. Documentation is required for the following reasons:

  1. to verify the existence of a disability;
  2. to support the request for each specific accommodation;
  3. to review the nature of the disability and its impact in the postsecondary environment; and
  4. to assist in the collaborative determination of eligibility for auxiliary aids and services.

The Converse University Wellness Center does not administer evaluations/assessments required for documentation of disabilities. The Wellness Center can 'screen' for symptoms relating to ADHD but will refer students elsewhere for formal evaluation for ADHD and LD or other documented disabilities.

The Case Manager for Student Accessibility Services will review submitted materials and set up a meeting to discuss appropriate accommodations with the student.