Eligibility for Services and Documentation Guidelines
By law, a student does not have to self-disclose or register with the Ross Center for Disability Services, although we encourage them to do so. However, if the student seeks academic accommodations or adjustments, they must contact and register with our office to request them. The Ross Center for Disability Services is the entity that approves and coordinates academic accommodations.
If a student is enrolled in one or more courses at UMass Boston and has a disability that affects academic achievement, the student may be eligible for academic accommodations.
Step one: The student must initially complete a Registration Request on myRCDS and meet with a Ross Center staff member. Eligibility is based on information gathered during this initial meeting, past educational experiences and accommodations, and disability documentation. The documentation must be current, provide a clear diagnosis by the appropriate medical professional, and specify the functional limitations in an academic setting related to the disability. Documentation from online assessment services may not be acceptable.
Step two: The student can identify the specific accommodations requested for each course from available accommodations, and can schedule a meeting with a Ross Center staff person to review syllabi for classes.
The student must request accommodations for each semester in attendance at UMass Boston.
Students who request academic accommodations from the Ross Center must provide diagnostic information regarding their disability. The information is useful in determining accommodations. We ask students to provide the most current documentation of their disability, which should include some or all of the below listed items:
- A letter from a treatment provider that identifies the diagnosis and current treatment plan
- A psychological or neuropsychological evaluation conducted by a licensed professional
- Completion of a Medical Provider form (link found under “Forms” section on website)
Other treatment reports and evaluations related to the disability may help to assess the accommodation requirements. Documentation from online assessment sources may not be acceptable. The Ross Center reserves the right to request reassessment or additional updated documentation when questions arise regarding previous assessment or previous service provision.
Please understand that IEPs and 504 plans alone are not adequate documentation for college because both are required under laws that do not apply to attending college. Although college students are covered under Section 504, they are covered under a different section of the law. However, IEP or 504 plans can be a supportive part of your documentation, and can be included.
IDEA stands for Individual with Disabilities Education Act, and is in effect for the K-12 system. ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The ADA is a federal civil rights law designed to provide equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities, ensure equal access and opportunity, and protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination. The key purpose of the IDEA is to ensure that students are successful in the K-12 system, whereas the ADA ensures access at the college level, because success in college is up to the student. The ADAA stands for The American with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008, which retains the ADA's basic definition of "disability" as an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment or being regarded as having such an impairment for a period of 6 months or longer.
An electronic record in our database is created when a student completes the Registration Request on our website, submits documentation, and completes a registration meeting with a Ross Center staff member. Any documentation that is submitted to the Ross Center for Disability Services which is not paired with a corresponding record in our database within a year will be destroyed. Should the student wish to seek accommodations in the future, updated documentation will be needed.