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Policy V-1.30Student Reasonable Accommodation

Policy CategoryPolicy OwnerVersion Effective DateReview CyclePolicy Contact
V. Student Affairs   SVP & Chief Student Affairs OfficerNovember 10, 2023Every 2
  1. Purpose

    The University of Maryland Global Campus (“UMGC”) is committed to providing equitable access to educational opportunities and an inclusive educational environment for students of all abilities. UMGC is committed to ensuring that no individual with a documented disability is excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of the University based on their disability. Additionally, no individual should be subjected to discrimination or bias. UMGC provides reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and students with disabilities.

    The purpose of this policy is to provide all members of the University community with expectations on the reasonable accommodation process for applicants and students. There are important steps that must be taken to ensure that reasonable accommodations are documented, communicated, and provided in a timely fashion.

  2. Scope and Applicability

    This policy and its supporting guidance apply to all prospective and current students and employees of UMGC.

  3. Definitions
    1. “Disability” is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the person’s major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.
    2. “Disability Supporting Documentation” is medical, psychological, educational, or other relevant documentation that establishes that a person has a disability as defined above and helps to demonstrate how the disability affects the person’s ability to participate in services or activities of the University.
    3. “Discrimination” is unequal treatment based on a disability that interferes with an individual’s ability to participate in UMGC’s programs, services, or activities.
    4. “Fundamental Alteration” is any change to an essential requirement of a course or program and is determined on an individual basis. Deliverables, methods of instruction, or methods of assessment can be analyzed to determine if an alternative method, strategy, or assignment format would alter the essential objectives and components of a course or program.
    5. “Interactive Process” is ongoing communication between the prospective or current student and UMGC personnel for the express purpose of providing reasonable accommodation.
    6. “Reasonable accommodations for students” are any changes to a course, program, the classroom environment, or the way things are usually done that allow an individual with a disability to participate in educational activities or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the school environment. Modifications must address prospective or current student’s particular disability(ies) and should not fundamentally alter course, program, or degree requirements.
    7. “Retaliation” is action taken against an individual solely because of seeking an accommodation related to disability, filing a complaint of discrimination based on disability, or participating in an investigation or proceeding concerning allegations of discrimination based on disability.
  4. Policy Provisions
    1. Reasonable Accommodation Requests

      The process of obtaining an accommodation request begins with an interactive dialogue (e.g., meeting) between Accessibility Services and the student to determine and implement reasonable accommodations.

      Prospective and current students must identify themselves as having a disability so that UMGC can understand how their ability to participate in and benefit from UMGC educational programs, services, and activities is affected. The supporting documentation that students must submit will help UMGC, in collaboration with the student, determine appropriate accommodations. All Supporting Disability Documentation, as defined above, will be kept confidential.

      During the interactive process, Accessibility Services will document approved accommodations in an Accommodation Plan (“Plan”). A record of the student’s Plan will be retained by Accessibility Services. The student will not need to go through the interactive process again unless additional accommodations are requested or a need arises to amend or change the existing Plan. All Disability Supporting Documentation will be kept confidential and maintained by Accessibility Services separate from other records maintained by UMGC that might be accessible by faculty or staff outside of the Accessibility Services office. All supporting documentation and student files will be destroyed 10 years after a student graduates or becomes discontinued.

      For accommodations to be implemented by the first day of class, students should have all required documentation sent to Accessibility Services at least two weeks before the class starts to allow for the accommodation process to be completed. Students who are unable to submit documentation two weeks before classes begin are encouraged to submit as soon as they are able. In those circumstances, while accommodations may not be in place for the beginning of the course, they will be implemented as quickly as possible.

    2. Eligibility Determination

      Accessibility Services will review the completed Student Intake Form, Disability Supporting Documentation, and meet with the student to determine if they are eligible for accommodations. Once all required documentation has been submitted, Accessibility Services will make a reasonable effort to determine eligibility within five (5) business days.

    3. Continuation of Accommodations

      Accommodations provided in the Plan are only valid for a single course session, and the student must submit a request for letters to be distributed to each individual course. Students with continuing disabilities must request that Accessibility Services continue their accommodations for subsequent courses. If an individual course is taken multiple times, a request must be submitted each time that course is taken. Accommodation requests received after the start of classes will not be applied retroactively (in other words, they will not apply to any part of the class that occurred before the letter was requested).

    4. Additional Accommodations and Modifications to the Accommodation Plan

      Requests for additional accommodations or modification of current accommodations must be submitted, in writing, by the student. The request must explain the reason for all additions and modifications. Accessibility Services may request additional documentation to evaluate the student’s request. Accessibility Services will make reasonable efforts to review the request within five (5) business days of receipt of the request and additional documentation, if any.

      1. Evaluation

        In consultation with students, their instructor(s), and the program director(s) (“Parties”), Accessibility Services will evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodation when a party notifies the office of a concern. This evaluation will occur outside of the University academic evaluation process. Any determination of grades for coursework is not part of this evaluation process. Instead, the focus is on the effectiveness of the accommodations. If an accommodation is no longer effective, then the Parties will re-engage in the interactive process.

      2. Accommodation Request or Modification Denial

        If UMGC denies a request for an accommodation, or a request for a modification of an accommodation, Accessibility Services will provide written notice to the requesting prospective or current student explaining the reason for the denial.

        The decision to deny or modify an accommodation is made by Accessibility Services. Students may appeal by contacting the ADA Compliance Officer at Appeals will receive a written decision within 30 days.

  5. Related Procedures
    1. UMGC P-V-1.30: Procedures for Student Reasonable Accommodation Policy