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SAR - Student Information

WVSU is committed to ensuring qualified students accomplish their educational goals as well as assuring equal opportunity to derive all of the benefits of campus life.

Too often students with disabilities who are new to higher education struggle to make a successful transition to college.  It is easy to understand why the transition can be so difficult when we consider how different the environments are.  It also is important to understand how the laws regarding services for students with disabilities and the accommodation process are different.  Students who are accustomed to the IEP (Individual Education Plan) process may expect a similar experience but the law governing such a process does not apply to colleges and universities. 

In higher education, in contrast to the K-12 educational experience where many of the responsibilities are assumed by the school, student responsibilities change.  An IEP - a document and process managed by school system staff -  is not provided for college students with disabilities. 
Rather the student is required to self-identify as a person with a disability to the responsible office, request specific accommodations, and then participate in an interactive process with the institution. The process is utilized to determine whether and to what extent accommodations will be available to the student.

To begin the interactive process to be considered for reasonable accommodations or other accessibility options, the student will -

Once the access consultation is completed and the student submits all required documentation, the Accessibility Specialist will review the information received to determine if you are a qualified student with a disability and what academic adjustments, accommodations, or other accessibility options for which you are eligible. If additional information is required, the student and/or diagnostic professional will be contacted.

If the documentation substantiates the need for accommodations, the student will be provided with reasonable accommodations. During this process, the specialist will meet with the student to complete the following:

  • Review submitted documentation
  • Discuss any questions or concerns
  • Prepare appropriate forms to provide reasonable accommodations
  • Provide guidance for utilizing services

NOTE: The determination for resources available through Student Accessibility Resources can take up to two weeks to complete. Specialized services may take longer to process. Please contact our office at least a month in advance of the semester, so we can accommodate you in a timely manner.

Legally the accommodation process is initiated once student identifies as a student with a disability to a representative of the university and asks for assistance.  This representative may be a faculty member but also can include staff in various offices such as financial aid or public safety.  To initiate a request for an accommodation, an individual may use "plain English" and need not mention Section 504 or the ADA, nor are they required to use the phrase "reasonable accommodation.”  While the courts and OCR have been fairly consistent in placing the responsibility on the student to initiate the process, faculty and staff need to be able to recognize a request and know to refer the student to SAR.  The student should be directed to present their concerns to the accessibility specialist (in person, by phone/email/text) who will advise the student of the procedure to initiate and participate in the interactive process.

WVSU provides appropriate accommodations for students with a documented disability. Students with a disability who request accommodations are required to provide appropriate and current documentation. The accessibility specialist’s determination of reasonable accommodations is based on receipt of all proper documentation satisfying the documentation guidelines and providing a clear demonstration of functional limitations regarding the students’ performance in an academic setting.  Such documentation must clearly describe the disability and its effects and impact on the student.  The accessibility/ accommodations are based on a determination of current needs of students with disabilities.


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The provision of reasonable accommodations is a collaborative process in which the student, the accessibility specialist, and faculty all play a role.  All three have equally important roles in the process. 

The student is the expert on their condition and how it impacts them when it interacts with the environment.  It is the student’s responsibility to request and provide supporting documentation for specific accommodations, and to engage in dialogue with his/her instructors regarding the implementation of approved accommodations.  

Faculty are the subject matter expert in their discipline.  They also are responsible for setting requirements and polices for their course as well as determining appropriate pedagogical processes for the subject matter.  Faculty have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations and to ensure that the student has equal access to the course/program while upholding the academic integrity of the courses.   

The accessibility specialist, is the expert on disabilities and disability laws/regulations.  The specialist determines if a student is eligible and which accommodations will assist the student.  

Understanding the Differences between The Responsibilities of HIgh Schools and Colleges

The following information regarding the responsibilities educational system have with regards to students with disabilities is provided for you reference to help ease the transition and provide a successful beginning to university life.


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are very different. In high schools for example, under IDEA, special education program procedures may apply primarily to Learning Disabilities. High school students who are in wheelchairs, may fall under a subpart of Section 504.  IEP's (Individual Education Plans) are developed for these students simply because that is the procedure required under the IDEA mandated program. The misunderstanding comes from the practice of assuming that the "504 Plan" or the IEP developed at a high school will be binding on a college or university.  The Laws which are applicable to the institutions are as follows:

High School:

  • IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act Civil


  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act


The following are the responsibilities of the respective entities with regards to students with disabilities:

High School:

  • Identify students with disabilities
  • Provide assessment of learning disabilities
  • Classify disabilities according to specified diagnostic categories
  • Involve parents or guardians in placement decisions
  • Provide certain non-academic services
  • Place student in programs where they can benefit (in any way) by placement committee with parent participation and approval
  • Structure a large part of the student's weekly schedule
  • Modify educational programs
  • Prepare IEP's
  • Provide a free and appropriate education
  • Provide appropriate services by the school nurse or health services


  • Protect a student's right to privacy and confidentiality
  • Provide access to programs and services which are offered to persons without disabilities
  • Inform students of office location and procedures for requesting accommodations
  • Accept and evaluate verifying documentation
  • Determine that a mental or physical impairment causes a substantial limitation of a major life activity based on student-provided verifying documents.
  • Determine whether a student is otherwise qualified for participation in the program or service, with or without accommodations, and if so, whether a reasonable accommodation is possible.
  • Make reasonable accommodations for students who meet the above qualifying criteria
  • Provide reasonable access to program and service choices equal to those available to the general public.
  • Inform students of their rights and responsibilities.

Universities are NOT required to:

  • Reduce or adjust the essential requirements of a course or program
  • Conduct testing and assessment of learning disabilities
  • Provide personal attendants
  • Provide personal or private tutors
  • Prepare IEP's


In contrast to the K-12 educational experience where many of the responsibilities are assumed by the School, Student Responsibilities at a University also change. 

It is the Student's Responsibility to:

  • Act as an independent adult

  • Self-identify or disclose their disability
  • Provide verifying documentation
  • Obtain assessment and test results and make them available to the university
  • Arrange their own weekly schedules
  • Contact the Office overseeing accommodations requests
  • Arrange for and obtain their own personal tutoring


  • Identify sources of information - teachers, counselors, peers, websites
  • Research services / resources offered by different universities
  • Develop a short-list of universities
  • Inquire about documentation requirements and 'registration' processes
  • Discuss Special Testing Arrangements for the SAT/ACT
  • Undertake College/University Visits
  • Refine your short-list of universities
  • Apply Early
  • If accepted, contact the Accessibility / Disability Service Office and Housing Services (if applicable) at the University

Michael Casey, MS, CRC, LCAS, CDF

Accessibility Specialist - Student Accessibility Resources
Testing Coordinator - SAR Testing Center
Program Facilitator - Steps-2-Success

Email:                        sar@wvstateu.edu 
Phone/Text:             (681) 533-0850
Campus Ext:             3083

Office:                        117 Sullivan Hall East
Virtual Wait Room:   https://doxy.me/saratwvsu

Monday - Friday
8:30am - 5:00pm

Request for Accommodations Form Schedule Appointment with SpecialistOnline Drop-in with SpecialistTesting Center Appointment Request
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