Original Date: 9/1/1995 * Last Revision Effective:4/6/2015
Policy Contact: Vice President, Student Affairs
The following procedures are established to meet the requirements for implementing policy #2500 – Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.
Reasonable accommodations under this policy may include, but are not limited to: (a) requests for academic adjustments, such as modification of academic requirements and flexibility in test-taking arrangements; (b) adjustments in nonacademic services and other rules; and (c) auxiliary aids and services.
Bellevue College will make those modifications to its academic requirements that (1) are necessary to ensure that those requirements do not discriminate, or have the effect of discriminating, against a qualified student with a disability based on that disability and (2) do not impose undue financial and administrative burdens on the college or require fundamental alteration of a service, program, or activity.
Appropriate academic adjustments and/or reasonable accommodations will be provided to qualified students with disabilities during recruitment, admissions, enrollment, registration, financial aid, course work, academic counseling, and nonacademic programs and services.
This procedure provides no additional rights or obligations beyond those required by applicable laws.
Obligations of the College
The college shall:
- Comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, and the Washington Law Against Discrimination.
- Notify students of the college’s policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of disability and of steps the student may take if he/she believes discrimination has taken place. This notice shall be included in all formal correspondence that communicates decisions or policies adversely affecting the student’s status or rights within the college. This notice shall include the telephone numbers of the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the Washington State Human Rights Commission.
- Make available to all students, information on the services available to students who have disabilities, including the name and location of the disability resource center director, and the process for accessing those services.
- Work with the student, faculty, and staff on a case-by-case basis, to select and provide those accommodations and/or core services appropriate for each qualified student with a disability.
- Develop procedures to protect the confidentiality of information regarding the nature and extent of the documented disability.
- Maintain the academic integrity of its programs.
- Make no pre-admission inquiry as to whether the applicant has a disability, except as provided by law.
- Work collaboratively with eligible students to determine what accommodations are reasonable and appropriate. In determining what type of auxiliary aid and service is necessary, the college will give primary consideration to the eligible student’s request; however, the final determination of the appropriate accommodations rests with the college.
- Assist and advise each qualified student with a disability who requests accommodations under this procedure in identifying those reasonable accommodations appropriate for the student, and monitoring that the identified accommodations are provided.
To identify the accommodations that are reasonable based on the nature and extent of a student’s disability, the college requires specific documentation from the appropriate medical clinician that supports the students’ request for academic adjustments and auxiliary aids.
Obligations and Rights of Students
A student who seeks reasonable accommodation based upon a disability is responsible for documenting the nature and extent of the disability. The student may request specific accommodations; however, the final determination of the appropriate accommodations rests with the college. To ensure that needed accommodations are provided in a timely manner, the student shall:
- Provide timely notice and documentation of the nature and extent of the disability, and the accommodations requested, to the office of the disability resource center. Requests for accommodations should be received by the college six (6) weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter for which the request is made, when possible. Lack of advance notice may delay the availability of an accommodation.
- Provide such additional documentation on the nature and extent of their disability as the college may require to determine appropriate accommodations, including current information from a physician specific to the functional limitations and their severity within an academic setting.
- Promptly notify the office of the disability resource center of any problems in receiving the identified accommodations.
Office of Disability Resource Center
The office shall:
- Coordinate services to qualified students with disabilities requiring academic adjustments and auxiliary aids;
- Keep information confidential regarding the nature of a student’s disability unless the student signs a release of information form.
Accommodation – Examples by Categories
The process of selecting reasonable accommodations for each qualified student with a disability shall be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature and severity of the student’s documented disability.
- Academic adjustments. Academic adjustments may include, but are not limited to:
- flexibility in timelines for completion of courses, certification, and degree requirements;
- substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degrees;
- adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted;
- flexibility in teaching methods and test-taking arrangements; and
- flexibility in credits required to satisfy eligibility for institutional financial aid (the college does not have the authority to modify federal and state eligibility requirements).
- Auxiliary aids and services. Auxiliary aids and services may include, but are not limited to:
- flexible procedures in the admissions process (e.g. early registration or priority registration);
- qualified sign language, oral and tactile interpreters, or other technological alternatives, including but not limited to CART (Computer Aided Real-Time Transcription), TTY’s, FM Systems, closed captioned videos or access, amplified telephone receivers;
- access to adaptive equipment including, but not limited to, low-vision reading aids, speech recognition software, adjustable supportive chairs, ergonomic computer equipment, and note taking keyboards;
- textbooks and other educational materials in alternative formats, including, but not limited to, large print, Braille, electronic format, and audio;
- provision of readers, and/or note takers; and
- release of syllabi, study guides, and other appropriate instructor-produced materials in advance of general distribution and access beyond the regular classroom session to slides, films, overheads, and other media and taping of lectures.
- Access assistance. Access assistance may include, but is not limited to:
- ongoing review and coordination of efforts to ensure campus accessibility, including barrier-free design, signage, identification of hazards of mobility barriers, maintenance of access during construction, snow and ice clearance, and adequate disability parking for all facilities;
- facilitating physical access to programs and services including relocating classes, activities, and services to accessible facilities;
- referral to appropriate on-campus and off-campus resources, services and agencies;
- accessibility to tutoring, mentoring, peer counseling, and academic advising, if available on campus, for students with disabilities; and
- allowing students with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal in a college facility.
The college will not provide attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices of a personal nature.
Every student enrolled in a degree program at the college must meet the essential requirements of that program to receive the degree. Course substitutions will be approved only when such substitution is consistent with the essential degree requirements.
Requests for substitution for a required course shall be considered on a course-by-course basis.
- All requests for course substitution shall be submitted to the director of the disability resource center in a timely manner.
- The director of the disability resource center shall submit the request for course substitution to the organizational unit administrator (OUA) in which the course is offered.
- The OUA will review the course substitution request to determine if the proposed substitution meets the learning objective of the degree requirement. In the absence of a proposed substitute course, the OUA will determine if a substitute course is available.
- The OUA will inform the student in writing of her or his decision regarding the request for course substitution within two weeks after receiving the request. The OUA’s response shall include a brief summary of the basis for the decision.
Degree Requirement Waiver
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the college is not required to waive essential requirements of a student’s program of instruction. Therefore, waivers of program degree requirements will be rarely given, and then only after the student has attempted, with appropriate reasonable accommodations, to meet those requirements. Requests for waiver of a program requirement will only be considered when course substitution is not successful.
Requests for waiver of degree requirements shall be considered only when a qualified student with a disability has demonstrated that, even with academic adjustments and auxiliary aids/services provided by the college, he or she is unable to successfully complete the requirements solely because of his or her disability.
- All requests for waiver for degree requirements shall be submitted to the director of the disability resource center at least two quarters before the student’s anticipated graduation date and shall include the following information:
- a description of the accommodations previously provided to the student for the requirement;
- an explanation of the relationship of the student’s disability to the lack of success in completing the requirement; and
- a statement by the student that he or she has made a good faith effort to complete the requirement with appropriate accommodations.
- The director of the disability resource center shall submit the request for degree requirement waiver to the vice president of instruction.
- The vice president or her or his designee shall inform the student of the decision regarding the waiver request within two weeks after receiving the waiver request. The vice president’s response shall include a brief summary of the basis for the decision.
- Course substitution. If a student is not satisfied by the decision of the OUA regarding a request for course substitution, the student may appeal the OUA’s decision to the vice president of instruction. The vice president of instruction will review the appeal and respond within ten working days. The decision of the vice president regarding a course substitution is final.
- Degree requirement waiver. If a student is not satisfied by the decision of the vice president of instruction regarding a request for degree requirement waiver, the student may appeal the vice president’s decision to the college president. The president will review the appeal and respond within ten working days. The decision of the president regarding a degree requirement waiver is final.
- Other reasonable accommodations. If a student believes that the director of the disability resource center has not identified or provided reasonable academic adjustments or auxiliary aids, the student has the right to appeal.
- The student will submit a written appeal to the director of the disability resource center. The director of the disability resource center will review the student’s appeal and respond within five (5) working days.
- If resolution is not reached by the student and the director of the disability resource center, the director of the disability resource center will refer the appeal to the vice president of student affairs, or her/his designee for student services accommodations, or the executive dean of instruction, or her or his designee for academic adjustments.
- The vice president of student affairs or the executive dean of instruction, or their designee, will review the appeal and will determine the appropriate resolution of the appeal. The executive dean of instruction or the vice president of student affairs or their designee will notify the student in writing of her or his decision within two weeks of receiving the appeal. The decision of the executive dean of instruction or vice president of student affairs or their designee will be final.
Complaints concerning college decisions. Students have the right to file complaints concerning college decisions through the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education.
Accommodations in college programs and services
- are adjustments of those programs, policies, practices, and procedures that enable qualified students with a disability to have an equal opportunity to have access to and benefit from college programs and services. Accommodations mean academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services.
A qualified student with a disability
- is one who, with or without reasonable accommodations, meets the academic and technical standards required for admission to, participation in, and/or completion of the essential requirements of college programs or activities.
- are those services listed in RCW 28B.10.912 that are necessary to ensure students with disabilities are reasonably accommodated at the college.
- is the replacement of a specific course required for a degree program with another course that measures the same learning objectives/skills as the required course.
- is any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to a student with a disability. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself.
- is a person enrolled at the college.
Undue financial and administrative burdens
- are any excessively costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive modification.
Relevant Laws and Other Resources
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973, § 504, as amended
- 28 C.F.R. § 35.130
- 28 C.F.R. § 35.160
- 28 C.F.R. § 35.164
- 34 C.F.R. § 104.44 [PDF]
- The Washington Law Against Discrimination, RCW 49.60.215 and WAC 162-28-030; RCW 28B.10.910, .912, .914
Revisions 10/28/2003; 3/22/2005; 5/21/2009; 9/11/2012; 4/6/2015
Last Updated October 30, 2023