One of the functions of the Office of Retention and Student Advocacy is to assist students who have a documented disability and meet the definition of a person with a disability, as defined in The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.  Students enrolled at the university who seek accommodations must identify with the Office of Retention and Student Advocacy by contacting the ADA Compliance Officer, request accommodations by completing the request for services and accommodations forms, and provide appropriate, current documentation of their disability.  

A student with a disability is entitled by law to equal access to University programs. Two federal laws protect persons with disabilities in postsecondary education: the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. No. 93-112, as amended), the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (Pub. L. No. 101-336) and the ADA Amendments Act (Pub. L. No.110-325). 

How to Apply:

Request for ADA Accommodations Questionnaire (click here). 

  • On campus students should contact Will Atkinson, ADA Compliance Officer (on campus), at or 205-652-3581 to schedule an appointment. 
  • Online students should contact Dr. Erica Sheffield, ADA Coordinator (online) at

Notification Process:

A review of the documentation will determine the types of academic accommodations that are reasonable and appropriate for the student. The Office of Retention and Student Advocacy will provide notification letters for students on campus to retrieve and deliver to their professors. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Retention and Student Advocacy prior to the start of the semester to ensure that notification letters will be prepared and ready for the student on the first day of class. Students should present the letter to the instructor and request a private meeting to discuss how accommodations will be provided. Students are to inform the ADA Complaince Officer if accommodations are not provided or if they encounter other disability-related problems in the class.

Special Accommodations Requests

Students with disabilities that may need special housing accommodations must contact Will Atkinson, Director of Retention and Students Advocacy, via email at While students can request accommodations at any time, it is recommended that requests be completed as outlined below. Limited space may limit the University’s ability to fulfill a request after these dates.

Housing TermRequest Special Accommodations By
FallMarch 1st
SpringNovember 1st
SummerApril 1st

Federal Laws Related to the Americans with Disabilities Act

Parent Information

The following resources are designed to help you understand accommodations and the difference between high school and college, types of accommodations, including classroom and testing, emotional support animals and housing accommodation, documentation criteria and the guidelines for students identifying themselves as having a disability for which services are needed. 

Reasonable Accommodations Explained 

Reasonable accommodations are reasonable modifications of the learning environment that eliminate, as much as possible, physical or instructional barriers to learning encountered by the student with a disability. Accommodations are individualized and dependent on the nature of the specific disability or disabilities. A student’s physical accessibility to the classroom as well as the student’s ability to fully participate in all course activities are both considered in providing reasonable accommodations. 

Unreasonable accommodations alter requirements that are essential to the program of instruction or to meet licensing prerequisites, cause fundamental alteration in the nature of the program, impose undue financial or administrative burden, or pose an appreciable threat to personal or public safety. 

Student Responsibility 

 Students have the RIGHT to: 

  • Confidentiality 
  • Receive reasonable and appropriate accommodations in a timely and respectful manner from faculty and the Office of Student Advocacy and Parent Support. Students should have the opportunity to meet privately with faculty to discuss their needs. 

Students have the RESPONSIBILITY to: 

  • Provide the appropriate medical documentation to help determine reasonable accommodation. Office of Student Advocacy and Parent Support is not responsible for contacting your physician to make the request. 
  • Communicate with faculty about their accommodations. 
  • Initiate request for specific accommodations in a timely manner, preferably at the beginning of the semester or as soon after registering with the Office of Student Advocacy and Parent Support as possible. 
  • Follow procedures with the Office of Student Advocacy and Parent Support and faculty in order to receive appropriate accommodations. 
  • Notify the Office of Student Advocacy and Parent Support immediately when an accommodation is not being provided completely or correctly. 
  • Provide for his/her own personal living needs or other personal disability-related needs. For example, coordinating services of personal care attendants or requiring homework assistance is a student’s responsibility and not the responsibility of the Office of Student Advocacy and Parent Support. 
  • Act as his/her own advocate. Work with counselors on developing skills necessary to advocate their specific needs and accommodations to faculty. The Office of Student Advocacy and Parent Support will intervene only when attempts to communicate have failed.