New Student FAQ

Accommodations are determined through an interactive process between the coordinator and the student that is designed to learn the following information:

  • Does the student have a disability?
  • What barrier(s) is present as a result of the disability?
  • What reasonable accommodations can be implemented to remove/circumvent these barriers?

The coordinator doesn’t ask these questions directly but uses them to guide the conversation with the student to gather the information needed to create an equitable accommodation plan.

Let’s break that down.

  • Does the student have a disability?

A disability in this context is defined as “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual”.  What we are looking for here is to identify a specific condition or impairment that clearly creates a disability-related barrier. To get this information, we will ask you questions that will ultimately tell us more about your story, your concerns, the impact of your situation, and why you are seeking accommodations.

  • What barrier(s) is present as a result of the disability?

In the previous question of identifying a disability or underlying condition, we already start to talk about barriers/challenges that the disability/underlying condition creates. What we are looking for here is a clear connection between the barrier described and the student’s disability/condition.

It is also important to note that barriers that are not disability related do occur. Non-disability-related barriers cannot be given accommodations as that barrier is present for everyone else in that environment. Accommodating non-disability-related barriers would be focusing on success rather than access. In higher education, we can only focus on equitable access. This means that if there isn’t a clear connection between the disability/condition and the barrier described, then any accommodation would not be reasonable.

  • What reasonable accommodations can be implemented to remove/circumvent these barriers?

A reasonable accommodation will effectively either remove or circumvent a disability-related barrier. A reasonable accommodation will never change essential functions of the course or undermine academic integrity. It is the responsibility of Accessibility Services to identify if the requested accommodations will be reasonable and effective.

Welcome Meetings are when students looking for disability accommodations work with the Accessibility Services Coordinator to create an Accommodation Plan. This meeting is required to start receiving accommodations.

We encourage students to speak up in their Welcome Meeting to share how their disability impacts them and what accommodations they think would support them the best. Having a strong knowledge of your disability and how it impacts you is the best information to bring to a Welcome Meeting. Take some time before the Welcome Meeting to write down some key barriers that you face due to your disability that you would like to discuss during with the coordinator.

Here are some questions that we may ask in the Welcome Meeting that will help us understand your disability/underlying condition and create your accommodation plan:

  • What brought you to Accessibility Services?
  • Have you used accommodations in the past?
  • What barriers/challenges are you currently experiencing in the classroom?
  • How does your disability or underlying condition create that barrier?
  • Tell me why you think that barrier/challenge may be a problem for you but not for other students?
  • How does that experience impact your academics?
  • What do you think would be a good way to remove or avoid this barrier?
  • What accommodations are you looking to receive?
  • Do you think X accommodation would help remove the barrier you described?

If you have already completed the Application for Services, you can schedule your Welcome Meeting here!

Accessibility Services is the only office that is required to know the nature of your disability. After accommodations are set up, it is your responsibility to send out your accommodation plan to your faculty via email. This will let them know you have a disability and are approved for accommodations, but it will not tell them what your disability is or any of your private information.

Accessibility Services encourages students to stay connected with their parents/guardians/support system regarding their accommodations. However, in higher education, the responsibility of maintaining and managing academics is on the student. Due to FERPA, we must have a Release of Information on file to be able to discuss any of your information with another person.

Yes. Accommodations can be made for temporary conditions, like a concussion, a broken arm, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, the application and review process for accommodations is the same for either temporary or permanent conditions.  

It is recommended that you apply for services as soon as possible. Once students apply and put together an accommodation plan with Accessibility Services, they must email their plan to their instructors. Once that email is sent, accommodations are in place.

It is up to the student when they choose to implement their plan. It is more than ok to set up an accommodation plan as a backup plan, however, it is important to note that accommodations are not retroactively applied.

If you have a disability that impacts your access to education or on campus participation, you qualify for Accessibility Services. A disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as “person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity."

Disabilities can come in many different forms (physical, mental, cognitive, systemic, etc.). If you are not sure if your diagnosis would be approved for accommodations, please schedule an informational appointment with Accessibility Services at the scheduling link here.

We recommend registering with Accessibility Services versus working directly with your instructors because accommodations through Accessibility Services are legally binding through federal disability legislature. While working one on one with your instructors is an option, not all instructors will accommodate you without an Accommodation Plan from Accessibility Services. 

If you would like more information about Accessibility Services before you apply, please schedule an Informational Meeting with our Accessibility Services Coordinator. Click here to schedule. 

Accessibility Services Web Portal

Contact Us

Avery Cook
Accessibility Services Coordinator

320-308-5064 or 1-800-222-1009 - TTY users dial MN Relay at 711
Fax:  320-308-5981 Attn: Accessibility Services
Email |


Dean Wulfekuhle
Accommodations Specialist,
Accessibility Services 
Office: 1-452
320-308-5757 |


Anne Rhodes, N.I.C., Interpreter Coordinator
Office: 1-454
320-308-5046 |