University of Vermont

Student Accessibility Services (SAS)

Documentation Guidelines for ACCESS at The University of Vermont

Documentation Guidelines

ACCESS works with students with disabilities to obtain documentation which assists in determining eligibility for accommodations and protecting against discrimination. Eligibility for reasonable and appropriate accommodations is based on current, comprehensive documentation of disability. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain and provide this information.

To begin the process, students should understand the type of documentation that is needed. ACCESS has created Documentation Guidelines by type of diagnosis to assist in this process. Please use the menu on the left of this page to decide which categories pertain to you.

Please use the menu on the left of this page [under Documentation Guidelines] to decide which categories pertain to you.

NOTE TO TRANSFER STUDENTS: In addition to the documentation you provide, you are also encouraged to send a letter from the Institution you previously attended that includes the timeframe in which you were provided services and the accommodations used.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind regarding documentation:
  • Sending your documentation via email or fax is preferred since it is faster than postal mail
  • Sending documentation well before the need for accommodation is important and necessary
  • All records are kept confidential
By sending the most comprehensive information possible, you will help us to avoid delays in the processing of your documentation. Documentation should provide a basic understanding of the individual’s disability and enough information to anticipate how the current impact of the disability is expected to interact with the University’s structure of courses, testing methods, program requirements, etc. 

Simply providing documentation does not ensure students will be eligible. Documentation will be used to determine what is reasonable and appropriate in the settings of Higher Education for the individual. Determinations will be made around continued eligibility for accommodations students have used historically and/or services they have not yet used that may be reasonable and appropriate in the setting of Higher Education. Because students may seek additional accommodations and their requests may fluctuate over time, disability documentation may need to be updated. Additionally, accommodation recommendations may vary from individual to individual with the "same" disability diagnosis and from environment to environment for the same individual depending on a variety of factors relied on to determine reasonable accommodations for individual students.

After ACCESS receives documentation, it will be reviewed in order of receipt by a Specialist on an individual case-by-case basis. The outcome of the review may take up to or, at our busiest times such as the beginning of a semester, longer than a week. Students will receive an email stating the following:

  • Status of their documentation
  • Any necessary updates [if needed]
  • Types of services and accommodations they are eligible for
    • Note bene: once an eligibility determination is made for an academic accommodation, accommodations must be reviewed with your faculty member to determine the reasonableness of that accommodation for the particular course.
  • Additional resources on campus they may want to utilize 
  • Contact for further information and/or instructions to set up an appointment
Documentation begins the accommodation process. The documentation process does not mean that accommodations will be arranged instantaneously.

Students will need to meet with a Specialist at least once a semester or year [depending on the nature of their requests for accommodation]. Students will be encouraged to participate in the Accommodation Letter or other necessary processes. By meeting with a Specialist, students can give a narrative about their preferences, learning style, equipment or techniques they use and other information that will assist ACCESS in providing the most appropriate accessibility services. A meeting also offers students an opportunity to have a support person via ACCESS who can answer questions and engage in exploration of and discussion around strategies, advocacy, resources, barrier removal, identity, seeking accommodations/disclosing in other settings, etc.

When in doubt, students are encouraged to contact ACCESS for guidance at 802-656-7753 or

ACCESS created these Guidelines in compliance with and in consideration of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, its amendments, updated regulations, and guidance from the Association for Higher Education and Disability, AHEAD.

Last modified May 15 2015 03:09 PM