Academic Accommodations Guidelines

Academic Accommodation Guidelines

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities at institutions of higher education that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.  Section 504 applies to qualified students determined to: 1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or 2) have a record of such an impairment; or 3) be regarded as having such an impairment.  

In accordance with ADA law, a student with a disability is entitled to appropriate academic adjustments necessary to afford the student with an equal opportunity to participate in a school’s program.  The College is not required to make modifications, adjustments, or provide aids or services that would fundamentally alter its program or impose an undue burden.  Reasonable accommodations are determined on an individual basis.  

How to Apply for an Academic Accommodation

Step 1:  A student requests an accommodation by submitting an online request. The request should be supported by documentation from a licensed and appropriate medical or healthcare professional identifying the disability and stating why an accommodation is needed. This documentation must be current.  Students and their medical/healthcare professionals are also encouraged to submit suggestions regarding specific academic accommodations desired.

Step 2:  Disability Services staff will review the application and medical documentation and advise the student if the documentation is not sufficient.  The College may request updated medical documentation.

Step 3:  If the documentation is sufficient, Disability Services will meet with the student to discuss available, reasonable accommodations.  The student will have the opportunity to make suggestions about appropriate accommodations and to comment on a proposed plan of accommodation. 

Step 4:  Based on the documentation provided and the interactive process between Disability Services and the student, Disability Services staff will advise the student by letter of the accommodation(s) that will be provided (the “Accommodation Letter”).  The Accommodation Letter will be used to notify faculty and other College personnel of the approved accommodations, as may be required.

Step 5:  The accommodation process requires time to complete and some accommodations require significant time to implement.  Therefore, students are advised to submit their request and supporting documentation as early as possible.  Guidelines for accommodation requests are as follows:

  • MARCH 1 for current students for the fall semester
  • DECEMBER 1 for current students for the spring semester
  • JULY 15 for incoming new and first year students for fall semester

Step 6:  A student must complete a new request form to renew accommodations for an upcoming term. Once an accommodation is approved, it is the student’s responsibility to notify Disability Services of courses in which the student requests accommodation.  Students who need to have their course materials in an alternative format should advise the Office of Disability Services at least 30 days before the course begins.


A student may appeal the determination of Disability Services regarding accommodations to the Director of Disability Services.  The appeal must be made in writing within 30 days of the student’s receipt of the Accommodation Letter.

Failure to Receive an Approved Accommodation

If a student does not receive an accommodation approved in the Accommodation Letter, the student should immediately notify Disability Services.  

Retaliation Prohibited

Luther College prohibits any form of retaliation against a student for requesting or receiving an academic accommodation.  A student who suffers retaliation in violation of this policy should promptly report the violation as provided in the College Statement of Nondiscrimination.