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Academic Accommodations

Academic and classroom accommodations are designed to reduce or eliminate barriers in the learning environment in order to ensure students with disabilities have equal access and opportunity to learn and participate fully in courses and programs at the University of Utah.
Accommodations are intended to provide students with disabilities access to course instruction, materials, and evaluation and to reduce barriers which may be caused by a student’s disability in the learning environment.
Accommodations do not guarantee student success, must be reasonable, and cannot alter the essential requirements of a course or program.
Some common academic accommodations are listed below.

Attendance in class is expected for students participating in the university experience.  However, if a student’s condition directly impacts their ability to attend class on a periodic basis, some flexibility might be necessary and appropriate depending upon the essential elements of the class and program.

When an adjustment to the class attendance policy accommodation is approved, this accommodation is implemented to adjust for occasional absences and should not be used frequently.

Regular class attendance is expected, and instructors should establish and communicate course attendance requirements to students.

Modifications to a class attendance policy may be appropriate when student has a chronic condition characterized by unpredictable or cyclical episodes that may occasionally impact the ability to attend class.  When implemented, instructors should contact the student’s CDA advisor to assist in determining when and how often an adjustment is reasonable. The number of additional allowable absences will depend upon the impact of the student’s condition, essential elements of the course, and the interactive or participatory nature of classes.

If attendance and participation are considered essential elements of a course, CDA is limited in what adjustments to policy may be made.

Student may be approved for the use of a assistant, reader, or scribe in the classroom to aid with tasks that are significantly impacted by a student’s condition.  This accommodation is dependent upon the student’s limitations and the course requirements.

Exam accommodations refer to any approved accommodations which relate to the way a student takes their exam and apply to all tests, quizzes, or finals.

Exam accommodations include but are not limited to extended time, a reduced distraction location, a private room, an accessible testing station and location, the use of a reader and/or scribe, the use of a computer or assistive technology, additional breaks, braille or large print exams, etc. 

Students approved for exam accommodations should request accommodations at the start of each semester for each class.  Accommodations are not retroactive, so if a student requests accommodations after an exam has occurred, accommodations will only apply to future exams.

Students, instructors, and CDA must work together to implement exam accommodations. 

If an instructor would like CDA to administer exams for CDA students, they must login to the CDA Online Portal and complete the Test Information section so that CDA has the necessary information to proctor the exams (

Students must work with CDA to ensure that their exams are scheduled (

Please review our Exam Accommodation Information and Policies webpage for additional details.

Exam accommodation information and policies

Depending upon the impact of a student's condition, an accommodation may be to allow for extended time to complete and turn in assignments, papers, or projects.

When an accommodation for additional time to complete assignments is approved, the accommodation is implemented for occasional use and not intended for all class assignments.

The instructor for the course sets assignment deadlines and should clearly communicate deadlines to students via the syllabus. However, additional flexibility may be needed due to the chronic nature of a student’s disability when characterized by unpredictable or cyclical episodes that may impact the ability to complete assignments by a deadline.

In most cases, an additional 24 to 48 hour extension is reasonable, but additional time may be appropriate depending upon the impact of the disability. Students must contact the instructor before the assignment is due to implement the accommodation. Students must contact both the instructor and their CDA advisor when the student is prevented from contacting the instructor before the deadline or when more than a 48 hour extension is requested.

If assignment deadlines are tied to group projects or the timing of when answers are released or posted, CDA is limited in what adjustments to policy may be made.

Flexibility of deadlines does not extended past the end of the semester and students will need to work with their instructors and CDA to discuss the potential of an incomplete being granted in the course.

Students may be approved for a paid or volunteer note taker in classes.  Students who are approved for note taking services should login to the CDA Online Portal to request and confirm the need of a note taker in classes.  Instructors assist CDA in recruiting note takers from peers in the class.  Unless approved by CDA, attendance in class is required to be eligible to receive notes.  Students are responsible for reporting in a timely manner any problems with the note taking process.

Students may be authorized to audio record lectures through the use of digital recording devices or smart pen technology.  If approved for this accommodation, student may be trained in the use of a Smart Pen and allowed to check-out one from the CDA office to use in courses for the semester.  Students at the U who are eligible for the accommodation to audio record lectures must remember that recordings should not be shared, posted online, or used outside of their role as a student in the course.

The Center for Disability & Access may approve students with disabilities to enroll in a course load of less than full-time status (12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours for graduate students).

In these cases, students will be afforded full-time status and may be eligible for benefits available to other full-time students at the University of Utah that are within the University’s purview. (There may be exceptions to this accommodation which are a result of laws and policies outside of the University's control, such as federal financial aid requirements.)

On occasion, when a student’s specific disability would prevent them from successfully learning and completing the mathematics or foreign language general education requirements, the Center for Disability & Access may consider approving substitute courses for these requirements.

Accommodations may be available in practical or clinical settings.  However, the specific accommodations available are often different than those available in the classroom setting.  Students should contact their CDA Advisor to discuss these settings as part of their program or major.  CDA will work with the student and the field practicum coordinator to discuss and implement possible accommodations.


Last Updated: 5/30/24