Students with documented disabilities may request reasonable accommodations, which will afford them equal access to all educational programs and activities of the University. Requests for reasonable accommodations must be made to the Student Success Center. The University complies with all state and federal regulations regarding the provision of reasonable accommodations to educational programs and services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 Rehab Act and the ADAA.
ADA Compliance Statement for Student Accommodations
The Student Success Center (SSC) has been designated to coordinate the University’s overall compliance with the ADA, ADAA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as they apply to students. The Student Success Center maintains the student’s Plan of Action, which also contains the Self-Identification statement. SSC helps develop strategies for compliance, coordinates the University’s accommodation processes for students and monitors implementation efforts. The SSC also handles inquiries about compliance and investigates complaints relating to student accommodations and service requests. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Director of Disability Services, Dr. Genelle Haney, at the Student Success Center at 770-426-2725 or Genelle.Haney@ LIFE.edu.
ADA Compliance Officer: Dr. Lisa Rubin, Director of Student Success Center, 770-426-2725 or LRubin@LIFE.edu.
Documentation Requirements for Accommodations
A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The disability should be clearly documented with information confirming that the student is substantially limited by the impairment and that a need exists for the accommodation.
A student will not automatically be provided with accommodations based on a diagnosis alone. Evidence must be presented that the disability is significantly interfering with the student’s academic performance. Each accommodation is individualized to the particular student, as supported by the student’s documentation.
All students must meet and follow all Life University rules, Student Handbook, Course Catalogs and Technical Standards, with or without approved accommodations. The University will make such modifications to its academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate, on the basis of disability, against a qualified student with a disability.
Academic requirements that the University can demonstrate are essential to the instruction being pursued by such student or to any directly related licensing or accreditation requirement will not be regarded as discriminatory. Please check with the Student Success Center if you are declaring, adding or changing a major or program to determine (a) whether the Student Success Center requires additional documentation or (b) whether other Technical Standards apply to the major or program. **Please review the Technical Standards or refer to the Life University Catalog.** Please check with the SSC for the following: (a) If you are declaring a new major or adding or changing a program of study or (b) to determine if documentation is necessary for any updated accommodation requests. Please be aware that Technical Standards may apply to a new program or major.
All students are responsible for providing adequate documentation. Life University is not required to conduct or pay for any evaluation to document a disability or need for an academic adjustment. Life University does not provide any evaluations or documentation for disabilities. These documentation requirements should be taken to the student’s evaluator, and the evaluator is required to make recommendations for academic accommodations in each of the following categories (when applicable): written examinations, technique classes, lab classes/examinations and clinical experience.
Documentation from an outside independent (non-Life University) licensed professional must be provided to the Student Success Center. Students are responsible for all funding to pay for appropriate professional documentation. Your state vocational rehabilitation agency through the Department of Education website may be able to assist:
Documentation must include the following:
- Be provided by a qualified licensed professional with the ability to diagnose the specific disability and who abides by the Conflict of Interest Policy for Disability Services as stated: Students who request accommodations and provide documentation to the Student Success Center must use a qualified licensed professional that is independent of Life University; therefore, the following cannot be utilized: faculty or staff member whether full-time, part-time, adjunct, extension faculty or preceptor. This is to avoid a conflict of interest to the dual role of providing services at the University.
This policy for documentation provided by the licensed professional is for the following, but not limited to: 1) the student’s use in helping support whether the request for accommodation under the ADA, Section 504 Rehab Act of 1973, or the ADAA should be granted; 2) the purpose of updating documentation or adding accommodation recommendations; and 3) documentation for extenuating circumstances related to Disability Services. There is a formal grievance process available through the Grievance Committee (John McGee, Chair, at John.McGee@LIFE.edu).
- If the student is 18 years or older, documentation should be current adult based (18 years or older, post high school). Individualized Education Program (IEP), Section 504 plan and/or a prior history of accommodations are not necessarily sufficient documentation for postsecondary education, since different demands are required and the nature of a disability may have changed due to maturation. (***Note: If you are a Chiropractic student or plan to go into the Chiropractic program, please review National Board of Chiropractic Examiners documentation requirements at www.NBCE.org. ***)
- Be on professional letterhead with address and telephone number.
- Original signature of professional with listed degree and specialty.
- Assessment data must be included. Comprehensively and clearly define the impact of the disability on the student’s functioning in daily life. Clearly define the limitations imposed and the support data verifying the impact of the condition. Single sub-tests or checklists are not acceptable as a sole source of documented data. Standard or scaled scores from all tests and sub-tests must be included in your diagnostic report.
- Recommendations for accommodations should be listed with support diagnostic information. Documentation must be specific in listing practical and written exam based accommodations, if appropriate. ***For chiropractic students, please see National Board of Chiropractic Examiners website for further details (“Test Accommodation Guidelines”).***
Process for Requests for Accommodations
The Director of Disability Services or her designee will review the documentation and will meet with the student and others, as needed, to determine the appropriate academic adjustment and/or auxiliary aids and services for the student. Students will be notified, in a timely manner, of all specific adjustments or services that have been agreed to and of any denial of requests adjustments or services and the reason(s) for any denial.
If a student requests an accommodation that would modify or eliminate a requirement of the student’s academic course/program, before a decision is made on whether the accommodation can be provided to the student, the Director of Disability Services or her designee will consult with one or more faculty members and/or administrators who teach and/or administer the academic course/program in question and ask how important the requirement in question is to the academic course/program. She will also ask whether, why and how, in their professional academic judgment, (a) the requirement in question is essential to the particular academic course/program; (b) changing or waiving the requirement would either lower academic standards or require substantial course/program alteration; (c) the individual student requesting the accommodation has demonstrated a need for the accommodation; and (d) if there are reasonable alternatives to the requirement that are applicable to the individual student. After conferring with the appropriate faculty members/ administrators, the Director of Disability Services or her designee will consider the information provided to them and determine, consistent with the recommendations of the faculty members/administrators, whether the requested accommodation should be provided to the student making the request, and if not, whether an appropriate alternative exists that can be offered to the student. The Director of Disability Services or her designee will notify the student in writing of her determination, including the supporting bases, and that, if the student is dissatisfied with the determination, he/she may file a grievance for consideration by the Grievance Committee by following the procedures set forth in the Disability Grievance policy.
Disability Grievance Process
Informal Resolution of a Concern Related to a Disability
A student who is registered with Disability Services and has a concern of disability-based discrimination or a concern over the denial of an accommodation will discuss that concern with the Director of Disability Services at 770-426-2725. The Director of Disability Services will address that concern with relevant faculty and/or administration and/or the Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) and notify the student of the resolution of his/her concern.
Formal Grievance Process
After exhausting the informal resolution process, any enrolled Life University student that is registered with Disability Services in the Student Success Center may file a formal grievance of disability-based discrimination or denial of accommodations with the Grievance Committee Chair, who can be contacted by email at John.McGee@LIFE.edu or phone at 770-426-2805. A written grievance statement must be made in writing within ten (10) school days of the action giving rise to the grievance and must be filed with the Grievance Committee Chair on the correct form (which is available from the Grievance Committee Chair, or the SSC). The grievance must describe in detail the action or decision the student alleges is in conflict with his or her rights under the ADA, ADAA or Section 504 of the Rehab Act. A student should also submit other documentation to support his or her grievance. The student must sign a release form stating that he or she understands that his or her disability grievance will be discussed by the members of the Grievance Committee, the staff of the Student Success Center and/or members of the Disability Advisory Committee in order to allow the Grievance Committee to determine how best to address the grievance. All members of the Grievance Committee will sign confidentiality agreements prior to reviewing any information.
Process for Forwarding Grievance to Grievance Committee
The Grievance Committee Chair will forward the completed written formal grievance forms to the Grievance Committee. The Grievance Committee will review the completed forms as soon as possible, but no later than 10 school days after it is forwarded from the Grievance Committee Chair to the Grievance Committee. Upon receiving the appropriate information, the Grievance Committee will review all written material and seek additional information pertinent to the grievance.
Other involved parties may also be asked to document any action or decision in writing and present it to the Grievance Committee. After reviewing the written material and any other additional information the Grievance Committee deemed pertinent to the grievance, the Grievance Committee will prepare its findings and recommendations concerning the grievance. The Grievance Committee Chair will inform the student in writing of the Grievance Committee’s decision as soon as possible, but no later than 10 school days after the Grievance Committee prepares its findings and recommendations. The Grievance Committee may also inform the SSC and/or the DAC of the Grievance Committee’s decision. An appeal of the Grievance Committee’s decision can be made to the Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) for either of the following reasons:
- Published process was not followed.
- New information, not previously available to the Grievance Committee, which may have affected the outcome of the Grievance Committee’s decision, has become available.
Any appeal of the Grievance Committee’s decision must be put in writing and presented to the VPAA’s office within 10 school days of the student having been notified of the decision of the Grievance Committee. The VPAA will inform the student in writing of his decision as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after he receives the appeal. The VPAA may also inform the Grievance Committee, the SSC and/or the DAC of the VPAA’s decision. The VPAA’s decision on the appeal will be final.
All forms can be obtained by contacting the Grievance Committee Chair or the SSC.
Complaint to Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
A student may file a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) if the student believes he or she has been denied a reasonable accommodation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the ADA Amendments Acts of 2008. That office will determine whether a further investigation is warranted.
Information about how to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights can be obtained from:
OCR Main Line: 202.307.0690