Student Responsibilities

The student must present a request for a reduced course load to ODR with supportive documentation. The documentation must a) provide a description of the nature and extent of the pertinent disability, b) clearly describes the manner in which the manifestations of the disability impact the ability to perform identified functions, tasks and/or activities and c) explains how the ability to perform in the program of study in question is specifically impacted by the disability. The submitted documentation should include educational assessment(s) that identify and describe the limitations that would explain and support the need for the requested reduced course load. It should include evidence that the manifestations of the student’s disability preclude them from meeting the academic progression and/or completion requirements of the program, in question. Pertinent evidence includes a) any existing information in which healthcare providers or evaluators diagnosed profound limitations that restrict or limited the amount or level of academic work that the student can perform during a fixed period of time (e.g., a quarter or semester); and b) evidence of past difficulty in completing all required course work and/or past success when provided a reduced course load or part-time schedule. The request should also include a description of the proposed course load that the student wishes to have approved.

Office of Disability Resources Assessment

ODR is responsible for reviewing the student’s request and determining whether the documentation supports the need for a reduced course load as an academic adjustment. The student’s assigned Access Counselor will schedule a meeting with the student to discuss the request, the impact of the disability, their disability related needs and the significance of the described limitations in relationship to their academic performance. The student will also be asked a) to describe with adequate detail what the proposed reduced course load would look like over time, b) to address the manner in which they would satisfy essential academic progression requirements; and c) to discuss any unique issues regarding the program’s completion requirements (e.g., a requirement to complete didactic coursework within a prescribed period of time to remain in “good standing” and participate in clinical work).

In addition to determining whether a reduced course load would be necessary and appropriate, the ODR will also explore the availability of alternative academic adjustments and/or modifications that might effectively meet the student’s needs. If the ODR determines that the documentation does not support the need for a reduced course load as an accommodation, the student will be provided the decision in writing. The determination letter provided the student will include a detailed explanation of the basis for the decision and a listing of the alternative accommodation(s), if any, that will be offered. The document will also include information regarding the student’s right to file a complaint.

Committee Review

The Access Counselor will bring the request to the office committee for review, and if it is determined that a reduced course load should be considered as an appropriate accommodation, they will advise the Chair/Dean of the Department or School for program in question and a committee will be convened to consider the student’s request (if needed). The committee should be comprised of the program Chair/Dean, selected program instructors, the Access Counselor and Director of ODR and selected academic administrators (e.g., representative of the Provost’s office). The committee will consider a) the information and evidence that supports the need for the accommodation, b) pertinent essential academic requirements, c) the student’s course load options and d) the availability of alternative accommodations that might satisfy the student’s need. All relevant information concerning the impact on the student’s academic progress, as well as, the impact on the program will be reviewed. Legitimate considerations include:

  • Relevant accreditation or licensure standards;
  • The ability of the student to obtain proficiency and/or meet essential completion requirements necessary for demonstrating qualified status as they progress through the program; and
  • Feasibility, cost, and effect on the academic program.

In addition to the above deliberations regarding the potential impact on the program and the student’s academic progress, the committee will also fully consider the student’s suggested plan, as well as, the possibility of designing an alternative reduced course load or part-time program of study for the student. There will be a full exploration of alternative ways for the student to acquire the necessary academic proficiency and to satisfy essential requirements.

If the student’s request for a reduce course load is approved, the Access Counselor will meet with the student and advise them of the manner in which the accommodation will be provided and the accommodation information will be added to the student’s file. If the student’s request is denied, the student will be provided a determination letter which will include a detailed explanation of the basis for the decision and a listing of the alternative accommodation(s), if any, that will be offered. The document should also include information regarding the student’s right to file a complaint. The determination process for a reduce course load request must be completed within 20 business days following receipt of the student’s request.