Request Accommodations & Services

  • As required by law, students requiring accommodations for a disability must initially self-identify as a student with a disability by registering with ACCESS and Accommodation. Only students who are registered will be eligible for accommodations and recognized by the institution as a student with a disability. Accommodations are approved by the ACCESS Director on a case-by-case basis and may require additional or updated medical documentation to be submitted.
  • Registering with ACCESS consists of: 1) submitting appropriate documentation verifying the presence of a disability and its current impact (The Disability Verification Form or equivalent documentation is required), 2) meeting with the Director/Coordinator to review procedures and request accommodations (Students at Regional Campuses or with online classes may be able to complete their registration via fax, phone and email), and 3) the approval of specific accommodations by the Director/Coordinator.
  • Registering with ACCESS is required of all students wishing to be recognized by the institution as a student with a disability regardless of whether accommodations are being requested.
  • Documentation for most disabilities consists of a recent formal letter of diagnosis from an appropriate licensed medical professional or licensed psychologist who is not a relative and should include a diagnosis, current impairments in functioning, and recommendations for specific accommodations to reduce the impact of the impairment. Use of the Disability Verification Form is encouraged. Some types of disabilities may require that diagnostic testing results in addition to the form or letter. Examples of additional documentation to support an accommodation request may include a psychological evaluation report, assessment of visual acuity, field of vision and functional vision, results of specific allergy testing or an audiogram that includes aided and unaided hearing. Specific documentation requirements may be found on the Disability Verification From and more information is available upon request or elsewhere on this website.
  • Requesting accommodations is an interactive process and should be completed in a timely manner to allow adequate time for accommodation arrangements to be made. Accommodations may be requested at anytime during the semester regardless of when diagnosed. Last minute requests may be denied.
  • Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and must be supported by appropriate documentation. Additional or updated documentation may be required in order to receive specific or ongoing accommodations. An accommodation may denied even if it has been recommended by an appropriate medical professional or has been granted by another agency or institution in the past.
  • Provisional accommodations may be provided for up to one semester in cases where the documentation submitted is determined to be out-of-date, incomplete or otherwise insufficient.
  • In order to receive accommodations during a semester, the student will be required to obtain a Faculty Accommodation Form from DS, discuss the approved accommodations listed on the Faculty Accommodation Form with each professor during office hours, and return the signed form to the DS office in a timely manner. Students are responsible for clarifying and planning their accommodations with each of their individual professors and with ACCESS.
  • Testing Reservations for testing at ACCESS may be made if the faculty member is unable to provide the approved testing accommodations. ACCESS will provide the accommodations if given sufficient advance notice which is typically a minimum of 4 days notice. The provider of the accommodated testing should be indicated by the faculty member on the Faculty Accommodation Form, and the form returned to Disability Services in a timely manner.  A Testing Reservation Form is required if taking a test at ACCESS.
  • It is highly recommended that a Faculty Accommodation Form be completed within the first week or two of each semester by all students registered with ACCESS, regardless of whether or not the student intends to utilize any or all of the services/accommodations. Even if accommodations are not expected to be needed for a particular class, the Faculty Accommodations Form should be used to inform professors of your status as a student with a disability.
  • Testing accommodation reservations/requests submitted later than 7 days in advance of the date of the exam or quiz (14 days for final exams) may be denied if the test was listed on the syllabus and not submitted by these deadlines.  Test reservations for announced tests should be submitted no later than 4 days in advance of the test. Please notify us by email if your test date changes after you submit a Test Reservation Form.
  • All accommodated testing arrangements including time, date and auxiliary aids (computer, interpreter, etc.) should be confirmed by the student with the instructor (and ACCESS if the test is to be taken at ACCESS)  4 - 7 days before each test date.
  • Students should notify ACCESS if a test date changes or testing accommodations are no longer needed for a class (you withdraw from or drop the class). 
  • Please indicate your name, phone number or email, the course, the professor and the day and time of the test in all communications.

Alternative Text and Hearing Impaired Support Services

  • It is the student's responsibility to complete all forms, submit all documentation and work interactively with ACCESS and Accommodation and other offices when requesting an accommodations for a disability.
  • Although we cannot charge for accommodations used by students, please notify ACCESS as soon as possible if your class schedule changes for any reason.  You  may be charged for custom ordered alternative text, interpreting services or transcription services if an expense is incurred because of a failure to cancel the request in a timely manner.  Repeated failure to cancel services when they are not needed or follow procedures may result in a suspension of services.
  • Alternate formatted textbook materials should be requested as soon as you register for your classes in the Spring and Fall and not later than 6 weeks prior to the start of each semester or term. If books are not available from an archive or library, they may need to be scanned or edited and converted and this may take up to 6 weeks for etext and even longer for Braille. If you have ordered alternative texts, please notify ACCESS as soon as possible if your class schedule changes to cancel the text conversion
  • Alternative format textbooks should be ordered directly by the student through an Individual membership with Bookshare.org or other sources if they are available
  • Electronic or e-books that provide large print and sometimes even audio via PDFs are available through the retail textbook market
    • Failure to submit requests in a timely manner may result in delays in receiving your alternative textbook.
    • Students are responsible for providing documentation when they request a textbook such as their class schedule, syllabus, purchase receipt and book information including ISBN, title, author, edition and copyright date before textbooks can be ordered or scanned.
    • Proof of  purchase in the form of a dated receipt with the book information including ISBN, price and sellers information will be required before books requested from the publisher, archive or scanned will be released to the student  
    • You may need to contact your professors to get your book information if the bookstore does not have it.  Failure to provide the needed information to ACCESS early enough may negatively impact your ability to keep complete course assignments. Student preferences and recommendations for formats will be considered, but the ultimate decision on format of alternative texts will be made by ACCESS.
  • Interpreter or transcription requests should be made as soon as you know your class schedule for the upcoming term and no later than 6 weeks prior to the start of each term. This may require you to request early registration from your academic advisor. Captioning or transcripts of videos that are required for classes should be requested as soon as the need is known.

Medical Disability Housing/Meal Plan Accommodation Requests

  • Newly admitted students' requests for medical or disability housing accommodations must be submitted to ACCESS for review at least 60 days before the semester begins unless first diagnoses after that deadline, and must include:  1) a completed Housing/Meal Accommodations Request Form, and  2)the Disability Verification Form or an equivalent signed doctor's letter from an appropriate licensed medical professional that includes diagnosis and specific impairments, any supporting test results if applicable, recommended accommodations and the rationale for the accommodations
  • The student should complete their annual Housing Contract with Residence Life and Housing by the deadline and submit that to Housing. 
  • The Disability Verification Form and any additional testing reports should be completed by an appropriate licensed medical provider who is not related to the student.  For meal plan/food related requests, documentation must usually be completed by an Allergist,  Gastroenterologist, Endocrinologist or Rheumatologist. Both of these forms should be submitted to Disability Services. 
  • Forms can be found at www.mercer.edu/disabilityservices
  • It is the student's responsibility to complete all forms, submit all documentation and work interactively with Disability Services and other offices when requesting an accommodations for a disability.
  • Your Housing Contract should be completed through the Office of Housing and Residence Life. All request to Cancel a Housing Contract should be submitted to Housing and Residence
  • Returning Students or Renewals for Disability Housing/Meal Plan Accommodations should be resubmitted to Disability Services annually each Spring by the Housing Contract deadlines set by Housing and Residence Life.  New medical documentation may be required for annual renewal depending upon the stability of the condition, the documentation previously submitted and the accommodations requested. If you are a returning student who was first  diagnosed after the Housing Contract deadline set by Housing, you have until June 20th (Fall) or November 20th (Spring) to submit your Documentation and Request for Housing/Meal Plan Accommodations to Disability Services for review by the Committee.
  • If you have a temporary disability, are admitted to Mercer after the deadlines or have a disability that is diagnosed after the deadline or during a semester, contact DS as soon as possible. 
  • Students requesting housing or meal plan accommodations are required to submit a completed Disability Housing Request Form and medical documentation before their request will be reviewed. All requests will be reviewed by the Housing Petition Committee which includes medical professionals as well as representatives from Disability Services and Residence Life and Housing.
  • The required Housing/Meal Plan Accommodation Request Form can be obtained from Disability  Services or downloaded. 
  • All accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and will only be considered for students with physical, medical, psychological or sensory disabilities that are appropriately documented and determined to impact a major life activity. 
  • Single rooms are not granted as an accommodation for disabilities that primarily impact studying (ADD/ADHD) since there are alternative quiet study locations on campus.
  • Students with special dietary needs that are NOT considered disabilities include: meat-free diets, low sodium or low cholesterol diets, low sugar diets, reduced calorie diets, lactose free diets, and non-life-threatening food allergies. Students with these preferences or restrictions should contact the Director of Food Services to discuss their specific needs.
  • Students will documented severe food allergies, celiac disease, anorexia or other severe or possibly life-threatening GI, immune or eating disorders should contact Disability Services to discuss medically necessary dietary accommodations that may require either Housing Accommodations or Classroom Accommodations. Students with restrictive medical diets should meet with the Director of Food Services, who can be reached at 478-301-2925. Medical Documentation should be provided to Disability services as outlined above. A list of both allowed and not allowed foods provided by your medical professional should be brought to the meetings with Disability Services and the Director of Food Services.  
  • Mercer's Food Services are managed by Aramark, a national company that provides dining services to students across the nation. Each day a variety of fruits, vegetables, grain products, grain alternatives such as potatoes and rice, gluten and lactose free products, vegetarian options and meats are available to students.  Aramark can usually meet the need for a special diet or special food preparation that is documented as being medically necessary through Disability Services.  This may include buying foods free of certain ingredients such as lactose free  or gluten free foods. This may include specially prepared foods to avoid contamination. 
  • Students may be required to give 24 hours notice for specially prepared meals. 
  • Exemptions from the required meal plans are rarely granted since Mercer is required by the ADA to provide equal access to students food services for all students whenever possible. 
  • As a rule, disability related requests to void an existing Housing Contract or to be exempt from on-campus Housing requirements will not be granted.  Requests to break a Housing Contract must be submitted to Housing and penalty fees may apply. If a medical condition is the reason for the request the be released from the contract, Housing will require the medical information to be submitted to Disability Services as outlined above.
  • It is the student's responsibility to complete all forms, submit all documentation and work interactively with Housing, Food Services and Disability Services.
  • If you have further questions, please contact Carole Burrowbridge in Disability Services at (478) 301-2778 or at burrowbrid_c@mercer.edu