Our staff is committed to assisting students with documented disabilities by providing reasonable accommodations, coordinating services and creating accessibility through assistive technology and other means. The website will acquaint you with the registration process. Additionally, you will be informed of the services the office provides and the assistive technology that is available through our office.
Transition From High School To College
The movement from secondary to post-secondary education for students with disabilities involves significant changes in applicable laws and legal rights and responsibilities. In high school, most students with disabilities have been provided services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which is a funding statute requiring schools to identify students with special needs and to provide services (special education) for students with disabilities. IDEA does not apply to post secondary education.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to both secondary education and post-secondary education settings. These statutes are civil rights (non-discrimination) statutes and require the provision of reasonable accommodations for equal access to services and programs for qualified students.
The following pages provide a summary of the major legal differences between high school and college that students with disabilities need to understand.
For further information about services for students with disabilities at UMass Lowell, contact Disability Services. You may also wish to consult the extensive legal information about disability and higher education available from the Council on Law in Higher Education.
- Time Management
- Coordination of tutoring services
- Referrals and assistance in navigating the UMass Lowell campus community
- Collaborate with faculty and staff
- Additional support services
- Advocate for disability rights on campus
- Coordinate support group for students with special needs
- college life
- Offer presentations to faculty on needs of students with disabilities
- Advisor to Disable the Label Club
- Broaden awareness on campus to the rights, challenges, and abilities of students with disabilities
- Educational support as the University moves towards universal design
The staff of Disability Services acts as liaisons between students with disability and their faculty members. If a faculty member has a concern regarding classroom or teaching accommodations, he or she is urged to discuss the concern with Disability Services staff immediately. Disability Services staff will review the concern against the mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act to determine whether and how the concern might be resolved.
Please read the: Reasonable Accommodations (pdf) document.
Follow Up for Related Concerns
If you do not believe that your needs are being adequately or appropriately met, you are encouraged to meet with Disability Services. DS will work with you on a case-by-case basis to attempt to resolve your concerns when feasible within the limits established by law for the provision of reasonable accommodations. If you have a concern or complaint that your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have not been met, please contact: Clara I. Orlando, Director, Equal Opportunity and Outreach, 978-934-3566.
DS Student Agreement
- DS Student Agreement (pdf)
- Students are responsible for self-identification, unlike high school where the school district identified, evaluated and intervened.
- Students are required to provide adequate documentation to demonstrate the existence of a disability as defined under ADAAA guidelines.
- At the beginning of each semester students are required to complete a Faculty Notification Form (pdf) to request accommodations.
- Students are responsible for alerting DS if they experience difficulties accessing their accommodations.
- Students are responsible for making arrangements to receive their extra-time accommodation, at least 7 days prior to the exam and must contact DS of any scheduling conflict.
- If students do not request accommodations at the start of the semester, faculty needs a minimum of one week's notification to implement accommodations.
- The University will provide students with documented disabilities access to all services, programs, or activities sponsored by the University.
- DS will provide reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to all academic programs.
- DS will provide students with documented disabilities supportive services during their college tenure.
- As per FERPA (Right to Privacy Laws), DS staff will only communicate with the student, for privacy protection, unless the student signs a Consent to Release form (pdf).
- With the student's consent, DS staff will work with any third parties (e.g. Commission for the Blind) to ensure a smooth transition to campus life.