Clarke University supports students with disabilities in accessing educational programs, activities, and services. We also work with Clarke faculty and staff on understanding and meeting the needs of students with disabilities.
Anyone with a condition that significantly impacts living, learning, and working may qualify as someone with a disability. You can find more information from the federal government here.
How or how severely a condition impacts someone depends a lot on the environment: online classes may present different challenges than in-person classes, living in a residence hall may have different impacts than living at home.
Typically, students with a history of ADD, LD, mobility challenges, and/or mental and physical health concerns have used or have had a provider suggest accommodations. These students likely have all the information we need to start working on accommodations right away.
If your condition is new or you haven’t gotten a diagnosis yet, you may still be eligible for accommodations. In addition, students with temporary disabilities such as concussions, broken bones, surgeries, etc. may need accommodations for a short time.
It is worth talking to the disability services coordinator (DSC) to discuss your situation because Clarke offers a variety of supports for all students. The DSC can help you explore all of your options.
What accommodations might be available if I am a student with a disability?
That depending on your unique characteristics and what needs to be accommodated. The process for determining accommodations is an interactive one that combines your challenges and documentation information with the DSC’s expertise and familiarity with Clarke and the course/housing components. We’ll look at all of that to determine what might best suit your situation.
Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- Note takers
- Digital copies of textbooks for use with text-to-speech programs
- Extended-time tests
- Separate rooms for tests
- Attendance accommodations
- Housing accommodations (single room, dietary restrictions, etc.)
NOTE: All Clarke students have access to Read and Write Gold, a text-to-speech program which can read digital text aloud.
How do I get started with accommodations?
Students requesting accommodations based on disabilities can complete this information sheet. The DSC will review the information as well as any documentation provided by the student, then set up a meeting to discuss appropriate accommodations.
Those planning to enroll in Clarke University should contact the Disability Services Coordinator (DSC) as soon as possible. For some students this could be while in the process of deciding which school to attend. For others, it will be upon acceptance or just after registering for classes. Please note that accommodations may take time to set up, and late requests may mean that accommodations cannot start on the first day of classes.
If you don’t have documentation to present when meeting with the DSC, don’t worry. The DSC will work with you to gather the necessary documentation from a school, agency, or diagnostician. The DSC may offer a temporary accommodation if it isn’t possible to get documentation quickly.
- NOTE: Documentations for accommodations should only be requested by the DSC and sent directly to the DSC, who will keep it apart from the student’s permanent file and store it in a locked area.
Is documentation always needed? If so, what?
Documentation is not required to receive accommodations, but providing the information listed below can help speed up the accommodation process.
IEPs can be useful but more information may be needed. If that is all you have, we can determine necessary accommodations, then make a plan to get more documentation if necessary.
If documentation is not currently available but you believe accommodations are necessary, meet with the DSC to discuss options.
General Documentation Guidelines – Documentation should:
- Establish a disability and functional impact (how the condition impacts your ability to live/learn/work)
- Come from a qualified, reliable source (not off the internet or from an online provider or family member)
- Be relatively current
Does my documentation remain confidential?
Yes. Information regarding a student’s disability is not released to anyone without the student’s permission. The only exception to this would be when such disclosure is necessary to protect the student or someone else from imminent danger. Disability records do not become part of academic or administrative records.
Can I request a course substitution based on disability?
You can always request, but it may only be approved under certain conditions. Course substitutions will not be permitted if making a substitution would substantially change an essential element of the program or curriculum. An essential element may be a course that is a prerequisite for other courses in the student’s major (such as a Statistics course for a Psychology major). An essential element may also include a course that is necessary to obtain employment in the major’s field of work.
- Meet with the DSC, who will assist you in gathering and compiling the necessary data to support the course substitution request. This should include information from documentation that fits the guidelines above (complete documentation will not be submitted, or it would become part of the student’s academic record). Additional data may include faculty input, former academic transcripts, and a description of previously utilized accommodations and the results of using those accommodations.
- After the data is gathered and compiled, the student meets with the DSC to complete and sign the Clarke University Petition to Waive/Substitute Academic Requirement form. The form then goes to the appropriate, who is responsible for granting or refusing the course substitution request.
- If the request is granted, the dean will notify the student, the DSC, the student’s advisor, and the registrar, who removes the requirement. The student and advisor should then find an appropriate substitution.
NOTE: Any student can make a request. Involving the DSC is only necessary if the reason for the request in based on a disability.
Are there scholarships or financial aid available?
We have an updated page for financial information for students with disabilities on the MARC site.
General information can be found on the financial aid pages here.
What if I have a complaint about how things were handled?
If you have concerns about how accommodations have been implemented or because they were denied, talk with the DSC as soon as possible.
If you are uncomfortable with that, you can follow the Clarke University Complaint Process, which lists university contacts as well as pertinent outside agencies.