Below are some frequently asked questions and the answers.

What are a student’s responsibilities when working with Disability Services (DS)?
  1. Self-identify as a student with a disability.
  2. Present appropriate documentation of disability and request accommodations.
  3. Present accommodation letters to his/her instructor(s) and ask to set up a time to discuss his/her specific situation with each instructor.
  4. Follow Disability Services’ procedures for accessing accommodations.
What are a faculty member’s responsibilities when working with a student with a disability?
  1. Maintain the same standards, including behavioral expectations, for students with disabilities as are applied to all students.
  2. Inform all students of procedures for accessing accommodations at the beginning of each semester, preferably through a statement in the syllabus. 
  3. Provide and arrange for accommodations addressed in the accommodation letter in a timely manner.
  4. Meet with the students, as necessary, to ensure there is a clear understanding of requested accomodations.
  5. Keep all disability-related information regarding a student confidential (e.g. do not discuss a student’s disability with other faculty without the student’s permission, do not inadvertently identify a student as a student with a disability during class discussion).
  6. Ensure instructional materials (e.g. textbooks, syllabi, handouts, videos) are available in accessible formats, as needed.


  • A faculty member cannot choose to deny a student’s accommodations as presented in his/her accommodation letter. If a faculty member has questions or concerns about the stated accommodations, he/she should contact Disability Services at 503-5199.
  • It is not a faculty member’s responsibility to provide accommodations for students who have not provided an accommodation letter from DS.
  • It is not a faculty member’s responsibility to provide accommodations that are not presented in a student’s accommodation letter.
I want to include a statement in my syllabus to ensure students with disabilities are aware of their right to accommodations. What might be an example of such a statement?

“USC Upstate supports the ongoing development of an accessible university that embraces diversity through educational programming, services, resources and facilities that are usable by all members of the campus community. In keeping with University policy, any student with a disability who requests academic accommodations should contact Disability Services at 503-5199 to arrange an appointment with a Disability Services staff member. Students are encouraged to seek an appointment as early in the semester as possible, as accommodations are not provided retroactively.”

A student has approached me and is concerned that he/she feels a particular student in class is receiving special treatment.

Explain to the student that:

  1. The University is legally obligated to assist students who qualify for accomodations.
  2. All students are held to the same standards of academic performance.
  3. The issue cannot be discussed further because you need to respect the confidentiality of the student.
What do I need to do when I get a request for a note-taker in my class?

The accommodation letter you receive from the student requesting the note-taker will include a letter to you about recruiting a volunteer note-taker and a letter for you to give to the student who volunteers as a note-taker. Make an announcement at the beginning of each class period until a student volunteers as a note-taker. Typically, it is not difficult to recruit a volunteer, as students generally come forward fairly quickly.

If you do not get a fairly immediate response, you may want to consider asking individual students if you are familiar with any of the students in the class or are aware of a student(s) who appears to be taking good notes. If you teach multiple sections of the same course, you may want to ask for volunteers in those sections as well. If you are not successful in locating a volunteer note-taker within two weeks, please contact Disability Services at 503-5199.

What should I do if a student who has a note-taker is not attending class on a regular basis?

If a student is not attending class on a regular basis, contact Disability Services at 503-5199 as soon as possible. Students receiving note-taking services sign a Procedures for Receiving Note-Taking Services Agreement that specifies that they must attend class on a regular basis in order to receive this service, unless they have an excusable absence. Once notified, DS will contact the student and remind him/her of the agreement he/she signed and verify a continued need for the service. The student will be informed that note-taking services could be suspended or notes withheld from class periods they do not attend.

What happens when a student chooses to take a test in the DS Testing Center?

Even though you may offer a student the opportunity for extended time after class in your classroom or in another location or the opportunity for low distraction testing in another location, a student may choose to take a test in the DS Testing Center. The student is responsible for initiating the request on the Request for Alternative Test Administration form and securing his/her instructor’s signature. Once the student turns in the completed request form to DS, our office will pick up the test as indicated on the request form and will have it ready for the student at the time of the test. A DS professional will proctor the test. The Testing Center has one-way viewing windows for monitoring purposes. We will also periodically walk through the Testing Center. Our office will return the completed test to you as indicated on the request form.

I am concerned that the allowance for additional absences will create a situation where the student will expect unlimited absences without any consequences.

The allowance for additional absences is not an allowance for unlimited absences. The purpose of this accommodation is to afford the student with a disability the opportunity to negotiate with you, if appropriate, an acceptable amount of additional disability-related absences in the context of your attendance policy. If you feel the student is abusing this accommodation, please contact Disability Services. If the student exceeds the number of negotiated additional absences, please refer the student to Disability Services to discuss withdrawal options.

I am providing the accommodations that were specified in the accommodation letter. The student is failing my course. What should I do?
  1. Accommodations are a means of providing access to students with disabilities. Accommodations are not a means of guaranteeing success. If the student is experiencing difficulties in your course, you may want to suggest a meeting with the student to:
  2. Review the accommodations outlined in the accommodation letter.
  3. Ask the student for feedback on the effectiveness of the accommodations that have been put in place. Consult with Disability Services if you feel the accommodations may need to be modified or if you feel additional accommodations may be necessary.
  4. Encourage the student to fully utilize his/her accommodations, if the student is not utilizing or fully utilizing his/her accommodations.
  5. Discuss the availability of various on-campus support services (e.g. Center for Student Success, Opportunity Network, Counseling Services, Writing Center) as appropriate to the student’s situation and encourage the student to access these resources.
I am concerned about a student’s behavior. I am aware that the student has a disability because he/she presented me an accommodation letter at the beginning of the semester. How do I handle his/her disruptive behavior?

The student, even if the behavior is a “manifestation” of his/her disability, should be held to the same standards of conduct as all other students.

I am concerned that allowing course substitutions lessens the academic integrity of the University.

Current policy allows for consideration of requests for course substitutions in foreign language and mathematics courses that are general education requirements. A Course Substitution Review Committee has been established to review a student’s petition, his/her documentation and academic record and to make a formal recommendation to the student’s division chair or dean.

What happens when I make a referral to Disability Services for a student I feel may have a learning disability?

Students who are interested in a possible assessment for a learning disability or attention disorder can meet with a counselor in Counseling Services for a screening. If the screening results indicate an assessment, the student may opt to have this completed in Counseling Services for a nominal fee. Disability Services can provide a list of area psychologists who conduct psychoeducational assessments in case the student wishes to have an assessment completed off-campus.  The results of an assessment will assist our office in the determination of reasonable accommodations.