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Disability Services

Howard Community College is committed to providing an accessible education and supportive learning environment for all students.

A noncredit student with disabilities who requires special accommodations must notify the division of continuing education and workforce development, in writing, two weeks before the first class begins so that suitable assistance may be provided in a timely fashion.

A student with disabilities who is enrolled in credit classes should schedule an appointment with a counselor in the disability support services (DSS) office.  The student must provide appropriate documentation of the disability to this office.  The counselor will create an accommodations contract and the student and the counselor will agree upon appropriate academic accommodations and both will sign this form.  As a result of this, accommodation memos will be produced for each of the student’s instructors.  The student will pick up these memos on the first day of class and will deliver these to the instructors.  No accommodations will be granted unless the student delivers these memos to the instructors. 

All information provided will be kept confidential and will be used to determine appropriate and reasonable academic accommodations.

Scheduling Services

To schedule a sign language interpreter, a credit student must notify the DSS office of the semester schedule at least two weeks prior to the start of classes.  Because of a region-wide shortage of sign language interpreters, it is highly recommended that students needing interpreters work closely with the interpreter coordinator and complete early registration to give the college greater time to find an appropriate sign language interpreter.  Interpreters are available for college activities, and requests must also be submitted, if possible, two weeks in advance.

A student who requires the use of a reader, writer, or proctor must first get this accommodation approved by the DSS counselor.  The student will sign an agreement on the use of this service that outlines the procedures to request a reader, writer, or proctor for tests.  The DSS office will forward a copy of this contract and the student’s memo to the reader, writer, or proctor coordinator authorizing the use of the service.  Once use of the service has been approved, the student will then need to work with the reader/writer/proctor coordinator to schedule each exam.    It is the student’s responsibility to schedule each test throughout the semester, according to the steps outlined in the signed agreement.  All attempts will be made to schedule the exam at or around the same time the exam is being given to the rest of the class, but this may not always be possible due to the availability of space or proctors.

Assistive Technology

A student who needs to use assistive technology, such as text readers or software applications, must first receive training.  Training is available through the DSS and student support services offices.  A student who needs assistive technology in classrooms and labs, modified course materials, or special seating/workspace, needs to notify the counselor at least two weeks before the beginning of classes.  A student needing alternate formats of print materials should work with the disability and assistive technology specialist.  A student in need of books in alternative format must give the DSS office four to six weeks’ notice to ensure availability by the start of classes.

A student who uses a wheelchair or who has limited mobility needs to notify the instructors in advance if enrolled in a field trip course where the college is providing transportation, as the college must also provide accessible transportation to a student with mobility impairment.  It is the responsibility of the staff or faculty person responsible for planning the trip to make sure this accommodation is met and that the field trip site has made arrangements for any necessary accommodations or modifications.

Course Waivers and Substitution

A student requesting a course waiver/substitution based on a disability must meet with a DSS counselor to review the college’s policy and procedures.  Based on the individualized assessment of a student’s disability documentation by the DSS office, it may be determined that the student:

  • should attempt the required course and document a sincere attempt, or
  • may be eligible for a substitution of the required course.  If the DSS counselor thinks the student may be eligible for a substitution, the student will follow the guidelines outlined below. 

Guidelines for Requesting a Substitution of Courses in Degree and Certificate Programs for Learning Disabled Students

Student may request a substitution in the following circumstances:

  • The student has clear documentation of the disability that will affect the student’s ability to complete the coursework.
  • The student may have been required to demonstrate inability to complete the course by making at least one sincere attempt at passing the course.
  • If the student was required to attempt the course, the student has demonstrated a sincere effort to complete the coursework by taking advantage of all academic support services (i.e., tutoring, extra hours in the academic labs and use of faculty office hours) available on campus, as well as using the academic accommodations approved by the DSS office. 

The appeals process includes the following steps:

  • A student who may be eligible must submit a written request for a course substitution to the vice president of academic affairs.
  • The vice president of academic affairs will convene a panel consisting of one faculty member from the student’s major area, one faculty member from the content area, and one staff member from disability support services or student support services.
  • The panel will make a recommendation to the vice president of academic affairs for the approval or denial of the particular course replacement.  The panel should exercise fair and reasonable deliberation in deciding the course substitution.
  • If it is determined that the student should be granted a course substitution and the student has received a failing grade in the attempted course, the F grade will be removed from the student’s transcript. 
  • The decision of the vice president of academic affairs is final.

Personal Care Attendants

A student who requires personal care attendant (PCA) services must make arrangements for the PCA services.  The college does not assume coordination or financial responsibilities for PCA services.

The student and the PCA must register with the DSS office and sign an agreement that details the roles and responsibilities of both parties while on campus.

Service Animals

A service animal, as defined by the ADA, has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.  (ADA Title III, 28 CFR SEC 36.104).

HCC recognizes and supports the assistance a trained service animal can provide a student with a disability.  A student who uses a service animal should contact the DSS office to register as a student with a disability.  The DSS counselor will evaluate the documentation of disability and discuss appropriate accommodations, including the assistance of a service animal.

Grievance Process

A student who has questions or concerns regarding an accommodations contract must contact a DSS counselor to discuss.  If the student’s accommodation concern is not addressed, the student should speak with the DSS director.  Unresolved matters must be detailed in writing and then will be referred to the 504/ADA coordinator for resolution.  A student who is having difficulty receiving prescribed accommodations from instructors must notify a DSS counselor.  The student is encouraged to speak with the instructor first, but if the complaint is not resolved, the student should immediately notify the DSS counselor, who will contact the faculty on behalf of the student.  If the complaint is still not resolved, the student should speak with the DSS director.  For any issue still unresolved, the DSS director will contact the 504/ADA coordinator.  The 504/ADA coordinator will review the complaints on a case-by-case basis and determine a resolution.  Concerns not resolved by the 504/ADA coordinator will be brought to the attention of the vice president of student services and the vice president of academic affairs for remedy.  The vice president of academic affairs will make the final determination.

Policy Manual Review/Revision:  03/14/14