Guiding Principles

Educational programs are responsible for providing reasonable accommodations to students who qualify, as required by federal and state laws, including the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, known as Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, known as the ADA. The goal of reasonable accommodations is to remove physical and instructional barriers so that students with disabilities can experience a safe learning environment and compete fairly on the basis on their academic abilities. Accommodations are designed to provide equal opportunity, not to alter essential elements of courses or programs or to change academic standards. In courses, they should create an alternative way for a student to accomplish the course requirements by eliminating or reducing disability-related barriers.

According to law, only students who disclose a disability and provide appropriate documentation are entitled to accommodations. At Alliant, students who wish to request reasonable accommodation must work with the Office of Accessibility (OOA) to initiate the disability determination process. This office determines whether a student is eligible for accommodations, and, if so, the appropriate accommodation, based on the documentation provided. The office is staffed by Student Affairs personnel at the San Diego campus, who work with the Campus Director at each Alliant location.

After OOA staff determine a student’s eligibility, they will issue an Authorized Accommodations Letter, which outlines the precise reasonable accommodations the University must provide. In order to receive accommodations, a student must submit a copy of the letter to course instructors with sufficient lead time to allow instructors to make the necessary arrangements.

Best practice is for the instructor to meet privately with the student to arrange the specifics of implementing the accommodations outlined in the letter. The student is legally entitled to all (and only) the accommodations listed in the letter, and the goal of the meeting should be to work out their application to the course requirements. The instructor and student should review the syllabus to determine which activities or assignments might present obstacles and how they can be modified with the accommodations.

Only students with a current Authorized Accommodation Letter from the Disability Coordinator are entitled to accommodations; students requesting accommodations without a letter or accommodations not included in their letter should be referred to the OOA. Additionally, instructors should document the request and notify the OOA at, so a staff member can reach out to the student to follow-up. Accommodations are not retroactive; that is, they cannot be applied to assignments and assessments undertaken before the school’s determination of any necessary accommodations.

Discussions with students regarding accommodations should be private, and information about both the disability and accommodation should be kept confidential. (They are FERPA protected.) This means that a student’s accommodations should not be revealed to the rest of the students in the class. If there is any confusion or uncertainty about any aspect of this process, the instructor should consult with OOA staff.


The specific accommodations granted depend on the course objective and the abilities of the student. Arranging these specifics is an interactive process involving the student, instructor, and staff of OOA. It is crucial that the instructor work with the OOA staff to make sure the agreed upon accommodations can, in fact, be provided. If there is a problem with implementing the proposed accommodation or if an instructor believes that the accommodation will fundamentally alter the nature of the course, the instructor should contact the OOA staff immediately to discuss the matter.

Sources on providing accommodations

Alliant’s Office of Accessibility:

In addition to describing the process, the site provides a model syllabus statement that instructors are encouraged to include in their syllabi. The site also provides a link to the National Center on Disability and Access to Education “Cheatsheets” that have been developed to assist in creating accessible content:
​​​​​​​NCDAE – Cheatsheets

Specific Accommodations

This link provides a description of the accommodations available through the Alliant Office of Accessibility. They include testing accommodations, classroom accommodations, and assignment accommodations.

A helpful resource about accommodations is the Do-It (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology)  Center of University of Washington

The University of Washington also has a section for faculty with resources on universal design, understanding disability impacts and accommodations, and understanding the legal framework for disability accommodations:

Sources on possible accommodations

Assistive Technologies

According to the OOA, Alliant also provides access to the following assistive technologies:

Screen reader ( Kurzweil  and  JAWS  )  and dictation software for students with print or vision disabilities.​​​​​​​

Text to Speech Software (Dragon Naturally Speaking)

  • The University provides Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS) software on a campus-based computer to students registered with the Office of Accessibility who have a specific need for the software.  To utilize DNS at the campus, please request use of the computer that is loaded with the software from the Campus Director.
  • The University does not provide the DNS software to students for their own personal computers. The Academic Superstore (Not affiliated with Alliant University) provides an educational discount for students if students wish to pursue purchasing it on your own.
  • In addition, Dragon Software can be downloaded for a free 30 day trial from the maker of the software – Nuance​​​​​​​

Free Dictation/Speech-to-Text

There are also many free and low cost options available to all students that students are  encouraged to explore –Many students have started to use the Google voice typing or Dictate in MS office and are finding it meets their needs.

Alliant also has provided FM receiver sets for students with hearing impairments that act as a personal microphone for the faculty to the student. The list can go on and on, but the three items I shared with you here represent the majority  of the assistive technology items provided.

Accommodations for remote teaching

Information is available about providing accommodations for remote teaching.