Students Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Access Center?
The Access Center provides accommodations and services to WSU students with disabilities, psychological or medical conditions, or temporary injuries that limit their access to the educational environment.
How can the Access Center help me?
Some examples of the accommodations and services we provide are testing accommodations (reduced distraction testing environment, extended time, etc.), note-taking, alternative print media, and time management or organizational skill development.
How do I become an Access Center Student?
In order to receive accommodations through the Access Center you will need to submit documentation verifying the presence of a limiting condition and meet with an Access Advisor to determine what accommodations will be most helpful for you. Documentation establishes the individual as a person with specific functional limitations and provides a rationale for reasonable accommodations. The most useful documentation is thorough enough to demonstrate whether and how a major life activity is substantially limited by providing a clear sense of the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the condition(s).
What kind of documentation do I need?
Documentation establishes the individual as a person with specific functional limitations and provides a rationale for reasonable accommodations.
Your documentation must include:
- Information on how your condition is likely to impact you at WSU, including a description of your functional limitations or symptoms. It is essential to provide information on the functional impact and detail the typical progression or prognosis of the condition. It should also indicate side effects that you experience from medication &/or treatment.
It is helpful if your documentation includes:
- A diagnostic statement identifying the disability. While diagnostic codes from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM) or the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) of the World Health Organization are helpful in providing this information, a full clinical description will also convey the necessary information.
- A description of the expected progression or stability of the disability. Is the condition stable, cyclical or episodic in nature? It is also important to note if symptoms are triggered by environmental conditions.
- Recommendations for accommodations, adaptive devices, assistive services, compensatory strategies, and/or collateral support services. Please note: The Access Center may or may not approve the same accommodations you have received in other places, but knowing what you have used is very useful.
How do I request services?
You may send your documentation to the Access Center via fax at 509-335-8511, or via mail to WSU Access Center, 217 Washington Building, PO Box 642322, Pullman, WA 99164-2322. It can also be sent as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org, or delivered to our office in-person. The student’s name, student ID number, and contact info should also be included with the documentation.
Upon receiving a student’s documentation, the Access Center will contact the student to schedule an intake appointment with an Access Advisor. The intake appointment can be completed in-person or over the phone. Together, the student and the Access Advisor will determine the accommodations that are reasonable and appropriate for the current semester.
May a postsecondary school deny my admission because I have a disability?
No. If a student meets the essential requirements for admission, a postsecondary school may not deny admission simply because the student has a disability. WSU does not discriminate in admission decisions based on a person's disability. However, it may be advantageous for a student applicant to explain how the presence of a disability has impacted his or her education thus far and how the student has been able to be successful.
As a student with a disability leaving high school and entering college, will I see differences in my rights and how they are addressed?
You may have been provided with accommodations while in primary or secondary school ubder the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law is intended to guarantee persons with disabilities a free and appropriate primary and secondary education that allows for achievement. Within this educational framework, funding is mandated to provide appropriate services that facilitate successful learning. The broad mandated responsibilities that elementary and secondary schools incur under the IDEA don't apply to post-secondary institutions.
The federal mandates of Section 504 and the ADA require Washington State University to provide equal access without discrimination based on a person's disability. It does not ensure any student will graduate, or for that matter receive an education, but only that a student will have the opportunity to benefit from and participate in any program or activity for which a student is qualified. Simply stated, the goal of section 504 and the ADA is to remove barriers and to guarantee reasonable accommodations so that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to participate on a level playing field. Each student is held responsible for the learning process.
Do I have to disclose that I have a disability?
No. However, if a student wants a school to provide academic accommodations, the student must identify as having a disability. Likewise, a student should let the school know about a disability to ensure that accessible facilities will be available and assigned. However, the disclosure of a disability is always voluntary.
When should I request an academic accommodation?
Although a student may request an academic accommodation at any time, the student should request it as early as possible. In general, accommodations are not provided retroactively, so it is important that a student requests accommodations prior to the time they may be needed. The determination of eligibility for accommodations requires a student to first meet with an Access Center Advisor.
How do I schedule an exam?
For Summer Sessions: You may come by our office anytime during business hours (8-5 Monday to Friday) to pick up testing reservation forms. You will meet with your instructor to discuss your accommodations and agree upon a testing time. They will sign the form to indicate their approval. You must return the forms a week prior to your first exam to ensure that your request will be approved.
When should I present to take my exam?
Generally, you must come at the same time that your class is taking the exam. You may test at alternate time if you get prior approval from your instructor. You must send them an email request three days prior to the date of your exam, and cc email@example.com.
What if I just need transportation around campus?
The CAT (Cougar Accessible Transportation) Van provides free rides on campus to students with temporary or permanent mobility impairment. The Van program is generously supported by S&A fees, and managed by the Disability Awareness Association and the Access Center.
Please give us a call at (509) 432-4875, or e-mail the Van Scheduler at firstname.lastname@example.org to give us your contact information. We require a valid WSU e-mail address to use for official correspondence. Please note: We need documentation or a doctor’s note stating that you will require van services. You may provide this to us via fax, mail, or you can give it directly to the van driver. We will discontinue rides if we do not receive documentation within one week.
What if I don’t have documentation?
WSU Counseling and Testing Services is one source for current WSU Pullman students for assessment of Attention Deficit (ADD/ADHD) and Learning Disabilities. WSU Testing Services provides assessment, testing, and test information resources. Students requesting assessment prior to June 30, 2015, will be charged $75 for testing. On July 1, 2015, the assessment fee will increase to $100. For more information, visit their webpage.
The WSU Psychology Clinicprovides the following assessment services:
- Neuropsychological assessment (learning disorders and ADHD)
- Personality assessment
- Psychological assessment
- Developmental evaluations
You may also submit documentation from medical professionals outside of the WSU campus.
What if I have incomplete or old documentation?
Please provide us with whatever documentation you have available. You may be provided with accommodations on a grace period while you seek more complete and current documentation.
Are accommodations retroactive?
In general, accommodations are not provided retroactively, so it is important that a student requests accommodations prior to the time they may be needed. Although a student may request an academic accommodation at any time, the student should request it as early as possible. The determination of eligibility for accommodations requires a student to first meet with an Access Center Advisor.
What if a professor does not want to provide an accommodation?
Please contact your Access Advisor as soon as possible so that they may assist you.
What can I do if I disagree with decisions made regarding my accommodations?
Registered students with the Access Center who believe they have been adversely impacted by Access Center staff, policies or procedures may:
Present their concerns in writing to the Director of the Access Center. The Director of the Access Center will investigate and respond to the student within two weeks.
After the Director’s response, the student may appeal to the Dean of Students within 20 business days of the Director’s response.
Director, Access Center Dean of Students
Washington Building, 217 French Administration Bldg, Room 134
What should I do if I feel I may have been discriminated against at WSU based on my disability?
WSU students who believe they have been discriminated against due to a disability may pursue a formal grievance/compliant through WSU’s Office of Civil Rights Compliance and Investigation:
French Administration Building, Room 225
PO Box 641022
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164
Students may also pursue a complaint/grievance with the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education. Information can be found at the following link: www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html