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Introduction to SAS for Incoming Students and Families (PDF)

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) recognizes disability as a part of diversity, integral to society and to our campus community. SAS staff work with admitted University of Vermont (UVM) students to ensure equal access to UVM academic programs and services. Whether transitioning from high school, community college or another university, it’s important to be aware of the process to ask for accommodations and/or auxiliary aids due to a disability or temporary health condition.

All disability accommodations are determined through an interactive process that requires the engagement of both the student and SAS staff.

Students need to be aware that it could take between 1-3 weeks, sometimes longer, to receive and implement accommodations with SAS. This is based on several potential factors, including but not limited to: the nature of a student’s academic accommodation requests, the availability of appropriate supporting documentation, and scheduling appointments during peak periods of a semester.

  • Newly admitted UVM students are advised to start this process once they have confirmed admission to the university.
  • UVM students already enrolled should engage SAS as soon as possible once they have identified a barrier and/or need.

Once accommodations are established, they are applied from that point forward and are not retroactive, so planning ahead is important. The steps below provide general information about transitioning to college and outline the process for requesting and receiving disability accommodations at the UVM.


STEP 1: Student completes the Getting Started Form.

STEP 2: Student submits any/all available documentation.

STEP 3: Student meets with SAS staff member to discuss how their disability and/or health condition presents in educational settings.

STEP 4: SAS determines reasonable accommodations through information presented by the student, evaluation of access barriers in environments, and SAS staff member’s professional knowledge and consultation with course instructors.

STEP 5: SAS staff notify the student of approved accommodations via email. Student activates accommodations each semester via the myACCESS student portal. Course instructors are notified via the myACCESS system.

STEP 6: Students are responsible to engage in ongoing communication with assigned SAS staff for activated accommodations. SAS staff provide assistance when engaged by the student or faculty to ensure effective implementation of accommodations.

Step 1: Get Started with SAS

Complete the myACCESS Getting Started Form.

This online questionnaire is for students to describe the impacts and history of a disability and/or health condition, and ask for accommodations. myACCESS is the online system used by students and faculty to submit, track, and streamline the facilitation of accommodations and services approved for students.

Step 2: Submit Documentation to SAS

Documentation that establishes the nature of a disability and/or health condition as well as its impact for the student in the educational environment is needed to support requested accommodations. Students are encouraged to have their healthcare providers submit documentation to support their accommodation requests. SAS provides specific Documentation Guidelines for students to share with healthcare providers.

Once SAS receives the Getting Started Form and any related documentation, an SAS Accessibility Specialist will:

  • review all information submitted
  • request additional documentation, if needed
  • provide instructions to schedule a meeting

Step 3: Meet with an SAS Staff Member

After completing the Getting Started Form or submitting documentation, students will receive an email, identifying an SAS staff member as their specialist with instructions to schedule a meeting with them. Meetings can be conducted over the phone, on Microsoft Teams, or in person. During this meeting, the Specialist and the student will discuss how their individual access needs impact their academic experiences, along with any relevant educational history of using accommodations.

Step 4: SAS Determines Reasonable Accommodations

The student meeting is an interactive process with an SAS Specialist to discuss the submitted information and a student’s experience living with a disability. The goal is to identify accommodations and/or auxiliary aids that can be implemented to create equal access in the areas where there are barriers caused by a disability. Once accommodations are established, the SAS Specialist will share how each accommodation is activated and used on a semester basis. SAS may provide specific provisional accommodations pending receipt of documentation.

Academic accommodations are approved case by case and are individually designed to create equal access for a student. They can be approved on a provisional, temporary, and/or permanent basis by SAS. More accommodations can be requested/reviewed as a student progresses through their academic pursuits at the university.

Accommodations cannot change academic standards or change the program/course curriculum. SAS staff seek feedback from academic partners with subject matter knowledge when determining if an accommodation will change a course or program. If alternate accommodations are possible, those will be presented to the student.

If an accommodation request is not approved and the student disagrees with the decision, they may seek reevaluation through the Accommodations Appeals and Grievances Process for Students.

Step 5: Communication of Approved and Activated Accommodations with Student, Appropriate Faculty, and/or Staff as needed.

Students must:

  1. Review their SAS Student Eligibility Letter.
  2. Log into the myACCESS portal and activate accommodations. Each semester, students are responsible for making accommodations requests through myACCESS student portal promptly. Accommodations approved and activated in the semester will have a timeline based on the date activated.
    • Faculty notification letters become available to send on the first day of classes each semester.
    • Some accommodations require faculty and/or departmental consultation before they can be implemented. The SAS Specialist will partner with the student and the course faculty on these specific accommodations.
  3. Communicate with each course instructor. Once faculty notification letters are sent each semester, students need to connect with each of their course instructors to discuss how their accommodations will be facilitated in each course. Faculty, academic staff, and students can engage SAS Staff if needed.

Step 6: Ongoing communication with SAS regarding questions.

SAS staff are tasked with ensuring the provision of approved accommodations and auxiliary aids. If a student experiences any difficulties with accommodations, or if additional accommodations are needed, the student must follow up with their SAS Specialist right away for help.

Ongoing discussions between the student and SAS staff could include:

  • Requesting help in the implementation of an activated accommodation
  • Reviewing the renewal process for provisional or temporary accommodations
  • Reviewing the process for asking for more accommodations
  • Discussing needs for accommodations beyond the classroom, such as:
    • Clinicals, clerkships and internships
    • Field courses and field trips
    • Study Abroad experiences and excursions

More information on getting started with SAS

Privacy Information: All information and documentation submitted to SAS is kept separate from academic records and is considered private under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). HIPAA privacy and confidentiality guides do not apply to documents submitted to SAS, as they are not being used for medical treatment. Under FERPA guidelines, SAS cannot guarantee complete confidentiality as sometimes, sharing information with other UVM staff/faculty is necessary in the facilitation of the accommodation process.

Release of Information: Students will need to submit an “Information Release Consent” in myACCESS if they would like their SAS Specialist to discuss disability accommodations with a family member, healthcare provider, or other non-UVM staff.